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Accidental BBQ Sauce

September 27, 2010

I would like to say I had a stroke of genius, where I realized I could take a country western ketchup recipe from the USDA, and cut the tomatoes in half to make a more consentrated BBQ sauce.  It would be totally safe, as I would have double the acid-providing vinegar, and have a concentrated heat and flavor.  The real story is that I meant to halve the whole recipe, but forgot, and only halved the tomatoes.  While tasting it before canning, I thought to myself, hmm, this is more like BBQ sauce than ketchup…oh well.  The next day while recording the recipe, the mistake dawned on me.  So there you have it, the story of how my BBQ sauce was born.  While its inception was accidental, its tangy bold flavors are not.

Tomatoes, bubbling away

Recipe (adapted from USDA):

  • 13.5  lbs ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, and chopped
  • 2 chile peppers, sliced and seeded
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp Penzey’s Northwoods Fire
  • 4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2-2/3 cups white wine vinegar (5 percent)
  • 4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp bay leaves

1. In a large pot, bring tomatoes and peppers to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Add salt through allspice to the pot, continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

3. While simmering continues, in a seperate pot combine the remaining ingredients (vinegar through bay leaves).  Either tie up all of the spices in cheesecloth, or, if you have a metal strainer, add them loose to the vinegar.  Bring the vinegar to a boil, cover and allow to sit for 20 minutes.  Add strained vinegar to the tomato mixture.

4. If desired, blend mixture with an emmersion blender until smooth.  Continue to cook until reduced by half of original volume.

5. Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/8″ headspace.  Process for 15 minutes in a hot water bath.

Yield: 3 x pint and 5 x 8 oz.

The final product, awaiting a trip to the water bath

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