NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.
We make ribs at the house pretty often, so much so that we seem to always be buying BBQ sauce. Although I like the taste of the all-natural (and unfortunately-named) Bone Suckin’ Sauce, I’ve been wanting to make my own sauce for a while.
(makes six cups – three pint-sized jars)
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 medium onions, minced
2 28oz cans whole tomatoes in juice
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup honey
4 tbsp date molasses
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp chili powder
4 tsp hickory liquid smoke
4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp worcestershire sauce (contains tamari)
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/2 tsp all spice
1 bay leaf
It’s amazing how much time (and how many ingredients) it takes to make a good barbecue sauce. If you’re planning on making your own, be sure to set aside several hours to get the flavors right. The act of making barbecue sauce is pretty easy – cook some onions, add the rest of the ingredients, simmer, and blend. The trick is balancing the hefty ingredients list to get the taste you want. It took quite a bit of experimenting to come up with the ingredients above, but the sauce tastes great – it’s pretty sweet, tangy, and has just a tiny hint of spice.
Mince the onions in a food processor and set aside. In a dutch oven, heat up the coconut oil on medium for a few minutes. Add the onion and saute until the onion becomes translucent, about five minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients, and just as it starts to boil, set the heat to low. Simmer for two hours, using a potato masher to break up the tomatoes as they cook. After two hours, remove the bay leaf and blend the sauce in batches until it’s smooth. Return the now-smooth sauce to the dutch oven and simmer for another 30 minutes. Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can just blend it in the pot. If the sauce isn’t thick enough, you can add more honey or molasses and cook it for another 30 minutes or so.
This sauce can absolutely be canned. To do so, submerge it in a hot water bath for 45 minutes, using the method from my earlier canning post. It should be good for a year after that point. After opening, I suggest finishing the sauce within a month.
Feel free to make large batches of the sauce at once, but keep in mind that it will take significantly more simmering to get the ingredients to blend together. I made a few gallons of the sauce at once, and it took me a good eight hours!