When we did our latest harvest from the garden, I thought a BBQ sauce was in order. We’ve already done pasta sauce, straight tomato sauce, and salsa. Time for something new.

I’ve made BBQ sauce in the past with varying degrees of success and thought it was time to tackle it. again.

Armed with a boatload of tomatoes, I started off.

I didn’t peel the tomatoes – although I did core them. I used an immersion blender and didn’t use a food mill, either. The end result isn’t the thick, silky sauce from the national brands – there are no emulsifiers or thickening agents – but it’s still thick and rich with lots of sweet smoky flavor!

Smoky Sweet BBQ Sauce

  • 8 pounds Tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 hot peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup brown sugr
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper

Saute the onions in olive oil until they begin to become translucent. Add garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and bourbon. Cover, and cook until tomatoes break down – 20 to 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree tomato mixture. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth at this point – you’ll keep blending as you go along.

Add remaining ingredients, using the immersion blender to mix everything really well and to make the sauce as smooth as possible.

Bring to a slow boil and cook, mixing often with the immersion blender to prevent scorching, for another 45 minutes to thicken.

Taste and check for seasonings, tweaking the smoky/spicy/sweet balance to your liking.

Bottle the sauce according to the type of jar, bottle, or container you choose.

I used 12 ounce sauce bottles and got exactly 12 bottles – pretty much a miracle. I never get exact amounts like that when I can!

You can play with this one a lot. Switch out the type of chili powder, the type of hot pepper, use a different vinegar… Have fun with it!

And speaking of canning…

You can get mason jars at pretty much any major grocery store, but if you’re looking for special bottles or jars for something more fun or special, take a look at Fillmore Container. Their jars and lids are reasonably priced and they ship immediately! I’ve had great luck with them!