homemade barbecue sauce for canning
Barbecue sauce drives me nuts. It’s expensive—$6 or $7 for a jar, which you can easily use up in one meal’s worth of chicken-grilling. A given jar is too sweet, or not spicy enough, or too Memphis-y when you need it to be Texas-ish, or vice versa. The solution is to keep like a dozen slightly different open bottles in your fridge.
Or you can make your own!
In a pinch, you can always stir up a perfectly respectable barbecue sauce with good ketchup, brown sugar, and seasonings. But this is a recipe for processing fresh tomatoes into a beautiful shelf-stable sauce that you can make very plain and then dress up when you use it, or make into the sauce of your dreams from the get-go.
I will tell you a secret: I never buy tomatoes specifically for barbecue sauce-making. Instead, I use the good, sound leavings (peels, pulp, cores, and under- or overripe specimens) from canning tomatoes—they all break down with long cooking and add lovely body and deep tomato flavor to the sauce. Can your tomatoes and then make sauce the next day, or freeze the trimmings and make sauce at your leisure. Zero-waste preserves, huzzah!