I decided to do something different with my barbecue sauce this year. I didn't have a huge quantity of tomatoes to work with this time since most of my plants contracted viral problems during all the heavy rain, but I diligently saved the extra tomatoes we have gotten in for the past few weeks. We cut them up and put them in containers in the freezer until we had enough to actually try and make something. Then I decided to try and cook it down in the oven, the same way I had made tomato sauce earlier this year. I think it worked out really well, so I'm ready to share what I did.
Oven Roasted Barbecue Sauce
9 - 10 quarts cut up tomatoes
1 large, sweet onion
2 medium yellow onions
4-6 stalks celery
1 green bell pepper
4 yellow gypsy peppers*
6 cayenne peppers
6 cloves of garlic
1c. white vinegar
1c. packed, light brown sugar
3Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
3tsp. smoked paprika
3tsp. ground mustard
2tsp. Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
1/2tsp ground black pepper
4Tbls. Instant Clear jel (optional)
This is one of the gypsy peppers.
*You can use any sweet pepper you want, I just happen to have these, along with the bells, still going strong in the garden, so that's what I used. As you can tell, it's smaller than a regular bell pepper, so if you wanted to use yellow, orange or red bells, I'd use one bell in place of two of these.
Just kind of roughly chop the onions, celery, and peppers, and mince the garlic. You can get out the biggest part of the pepper seeds, but don't worry about getting every single one. We'll run this through a food mill later.
The tomatoes, onions, peppers, celery, and garlic all go in a large roasting pan.
This is the one I cook my turkey in for Thanksgiving.
As you can tell, I didn't bother to thaw out the tomatoes.
You'll cook this at 350 degrees, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated out. This helps to keep from having to cook it down again later.
It took several hours to cook it down that far, but since it was in the oven, I didn't have to watch it as closely as I do when it's done on the stove top. I just came in a gave it a little stir every so often and let the oven evaporate all the excess liquid.
Remember too, mine started off frozen in a solid block, yours will not take as long if the tomatoes aren't frozen.
Then transfer it to a food mill and run the solids through several times. I think we did it 4 times.
This still wasn't as thick as tomato sauce, but it was pretty close.
After that, you'll put the sauce in a large pot over medium heat, and add your vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.
I was going to get a picture of the next part, but I got busy with the doing of it and completely forgot about the photographing of it. :)
At any rate, put your clear jel (if you're using it), paprika, smoked paprika, salt, ground mustard, Tony Chachere's, and black pepper in a small bowl and mix it well, making sure there are no clumps.
Quickly whisk this into the sauce and bring it to a boil.
Get your canner, jars, lids, etc. ready, because once it has come to a boil, it's ready to can.
Fill your jars, leaving 1/2" headspace, wipe your rims, fit your lids and rings, and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes once the water has come to a full boil.**
You can tell how thick the sauce is by the way it's clinging to the side of the funnel.
This turned out a bit different from most other barbecue sauce I've had, but I really liked it. It's a little more tomato-ey than most. And it has everything else - a bit of sweet, heat, and tanginess.
My only problem was that it only made 4 pints. I ended up liking it so much, I wish I could have made more. But, we didn't have enough tomatoes, and since this was a trial run on this recipe, I wouldn't have wanted to risk a huge batch of tomatoes on something that may not have worked out anyway.
You don't have to use clear jel in this if you don't want. You can reduce the sauce to whatever thickness you like by cooking it down (I've done that in the past), but since I didn't have a lot to begin with, I didn't want to reduce it, thus making less sauce. The clear jel thickened it up nicely.
I think one of the reasons this had so much flavor is because I cooked it down instead of draining off the liquid, which is what I did for my oven roasted tomato sauce. The water evaporated out, and the flavor stayed in.
I'll have to plant another row of tomatoes next year, just so I can make more sauce.
**These are by no means complete instructions for canning. If you've never canned before, you'll need to review the instructions that came with your canner.
I was really happy about the fact that almost all of the produce for this came from our own garden. We grew all the tomatoes, peppers, celery, and garlic. Only the onions came from the store since we've already used all the onions we managed to grow.
Next year we'll shoot for growing everything that goes in the jar!
I've linked this post with the Carnival of Home Preserving.
I've also linked with the Homestead Barn Hop.