Despite our warm temperature this summer, for some reason it seems to me like the tomatoes took their sweet time becoming ripe. But now they are doing so gang-busters. This is a recipe that I’ve modified from the canning cookbook “You Can Can” put out by Better Homes & Garden. I’ve adjusted it to fit what my family loves, mostly more spice and a richer taste. When I posted on Instagram my completed BBQ sauce canned jars, I got several requests for the recipe. Be informed that part of making this is the sauce sitting and cooling and soaking in all the flavors before you complete it and can it. Hence, the two-day. I can’t guarantee it will be as yummy if you try to rush this. This is always a recipe I do over a weekend, therefore. But obviously, if you have a Tuesday and Wednesday free to work on this, by all means.
A couple of other notes on this recipe:
I grow all these things on my land. I suggest you purchase organic at your local market or head off to the farmer’s markets. The farmers are at the end of their season now and are willing to wheel and deal! The important thing is that the tomatoes are fresh. I literally pick the bucket of tomatoes and then get to work on this recipe.
This recipe is great when you have to pick the tomatoes before their sandwich-ripe because cold weather is coming or rains might split them…
In regards to the chilies, don’t worry about coring and seeding. This recipe is about the chile bite at the end. The tang of the tomatoes and onions balances out the fire. So, just chop up the chilies, seeds and all; also, feel free to add more if you like it extra spicy. I have to serve seniors and kids when I cook often, and my hubby and I’s preference for extra spicy doesn’t go over. I normally make a small batch for my husband and I, as well as for gift giving, that is extra spicy.
We put these on ribs the same day I canned it, so you don’t have to wait to use the sauce; but, a month’s time of curing does wonders for it’s complexity.
12 to 14 pounds of firm tomatoes
3 red onions chopped (should have about 3 cups)
2.5 cups of chopped celery (about one bunch or 7 to 8 stalks)
2.5 cups of chopped green, yellow, and red peppers
6 hot chile peppers
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 cup of apple cider vinegar
1.5 cups of packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons Hungarian Paprika
4 teaspoons of sea salt
4 teaspoons dry mustard
3 tablespoons of fresh herbs chopped fine from your garden (I put in parsley, chive, and thyme)
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Dash of cayenne powder
1. Wash tomatoes. Remove stem ends and cores. Cut tomatoes into quarters.
2. Place tomato quarters in 12-quart stew pot. Cook coverd, over low to medium heat about 30 minutes or until tomatoes are soft. (Note the original recipe said 15 minutes on this part. My tomatoes were never soft by that point, but by 30 minutes they are…so just watch in case your tomatoes cook faster).
3. Add onions, celery, sweet peppers, chile peppers, and garlic. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for about an hour. (Again, the original recipe calls for 30 minutes on this part. I found that wasn’t enough for the vegetables to cook through and be ready for the food processor/blender. Besides, you want the flavors to blend and meld. Just don’t let it cook at too high a temperature and have your pot burn.)
4. At this point I let the pot cool for a bit (normally while I’m cleaning up the rest of my kitchen from the mess I just made and taking the veggie scraps to my chickens), then stick it in the fridge overnight.
5. The next day let the mixture warm up a bit before working with it. I pull it out of the fridge and set it in the kitchen while I make breakfast and do my morning chores. Then get a really large bowl and dump the tomato/veggie mixture into it. Do not wash your pot. Put the veggie mixture either through a food processor or blender to puree. I have a really small food processor, so I have to do this in batches. Return each batch of the tomato/vegetable puree to your big 12-quart pot. (The original recipe says to discard the seeds and skins. I have found that is not necessary as the processor and blender just rock those babies up and later help to thicken the sauce. So just throw it all in there and puree away.) Now take a kitchen ruler and measure and note the depth of your mixture.
6. Heat the pot of pureed tomatoes/veggies to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the mixture is reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Depth of mixture should be half of the original measure.
7. Stir in vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, mustard, fresh herbs, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over low to medium heat about an hour or until desired thickness, stirring frequently.
8. While it cooks and thickens, prep your pint jars and lids.
9. Ladle hot sauce into hot, sterilized pint canning jars, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process filled jars in boiling water canner for 25 minutes (start timing when water returns to boil). Remove jars from canner; cool.
This sauce is great on ribs, chicken, heck, anything you can BBQ. Enjoy! If you use the recipe, be sure to come back and let me know how you enjoyed it.