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jar of homemade bbq sauce

Traditional BBQ Sauce Canning Recipe

  • Author: Adam
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 pints 1x


This traditional BBQ sauce canning recipe stands out for its perfect balance of smoky, tangy, and sweet flavors that complement grilled meats flawlessly. The combination of carefully selected ingredients and precise proportions results in a sauce that captures the essence of traditional BBQ, making it simply irresistible and a surefire hit with family and friends.


  • 24 ripe red tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 hot red peppers, cored and chopped
  • 3 medium red or green peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon canning salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • to teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1¼ cups of (5%) apple cider or white vinegar
  • A dash of Liquid Smoke to taste (optional)


  1. Start by washing and rinsing your canning jars. Keep them hot until ready to use, either by placing them in a warm oven or keeping them in simmering water.
  2. Prepare the lids according to the manufacturer’s directions and rinse or briefly soak them in hot water to soften the seal.
  3. Combine the prepared tomatoes, celery, onions, and peppers in a large pot. Simmer gently on medium heat until the vegetables are soft, typically around 30 minutes. Once softened, use a fine sieve, food mill, food processor, or blender to puree the mixture.
  4. Put the purée back into the pot and continue cooking over low heat. Continue cooking the mixture until it has been reduced to approximately half its original volume, which should take approximately 45 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, tie the peppercorns in a cheesecloth bag and place the bag in the pot along with the remaining ingredients. Cook the sauce slowly, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until it reaches the desired consistency of ketchup. This should take around 1½ to 2 hours. Once done, remove the bag of peppercorns.
  6. Fill the hot sauce into clean, hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace at the top. To remove any air bubbles, run a clean utensil or bubble remover tool along the sides of the jars. Adjust the headspace if needed by adding more sauce as needed.
  7. Before sealing the jars, wipe the rims with a dampened paper towel to ensure a clean and secure seal. Apply the two-piece metal canning lids, following the manufacturer’s instructions for proper placement.
  8. Prepare a boiling water canner, adding just enough water to submerge the jars by a minimum of 1 to 2 inches. Carefully put the jars into the canner, ensuring they are upright and not touching each other or the sides of the canner.
  9. Process pint jars or half-pints in the canner according to the recommended processing time and temperature for your specific altitude and jar size:

Processing Time per Elevation

  • 0 – 1,000ft: 20 minutes
  • 1,001 – 3,000ft: 25 minutes
  • 3,001 – 6,000ft: 30 minutes
  • 6,000ft and up: 35 minutes

Post Processing

  1. After processing, carefully remove the jars from the canner using jar tongs and place them on a towel-lined countertop or cooling rack. Leave the jars to stand and cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.
  2. After the jars have cooled, test the seals by pressing on the middle of each lid. The jar is properly sealed if the lid doesn’t flex or make a popping sound. Any jars that fail the test should be placed in the refrigerator and used within a few weeks.
  3. Store correctly sealed and labeled jars in a cool, dark pantry for up to a year.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Canning Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1 tbsp
  • Calories: 29kcal
  • Sugar: 5.5g
  • Sodium: 174.5mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Protein: 0.1g