Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce is all the rage – really seems to be the standard. While it’s good, I believe the strong notes of molasses weigh down the underlying flavors. Also, it’s pricey and you know I can’t have that.
Besides saving gobs of money making things from scratch, I get to fit things to my taste, and in this case thickness.
I like a barbecue sauce to stick, as opposed to a runny version which forces me to keep dipping for more flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m from North Carolina and I love sauces such as Eastern Carolina barbecue sauce, but that has its place. This sauce is meant to baste ribs, chicken, and as a chicken strip dip. I also use barbecue sauce to mix with Ranch for a barbecue ranch salad dressing. The taste is sweet and smokey with a small kick.
To make this recipe economical, I bought my ketchup in an industrial sized can for $3.90 and didn’t even use the entire can. (Keep in mind, one 18 oz bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s is about $2.75 a bottle, and this recipe makes about 9,16 ounce jars) The remaining ingredients (minus the Clear-Jel and Worcestershire) were used from my bulk storage, including molasses. Clear-Jel is a modified cornstarch approved for canning.
I had a blast making this sauce, tweaking the recipe as I went along (used a recipe from The Kneady Homesteader as a base guide). I’m just glad the Clear-Jel amount ended up being spot on because when creating recipes with it, you just never know until it cools. Absolutely taste and adjust to your own liking, and if you want a thinner sauce, just cut the Clear-Jel in half. The thickness of this sauce compares to Sweet Baby Ray’s, just for reference.
Sweet and Smokey Home Canned BBQ Sauce
Yield 9 Pints
8 cups of ketchup
6 cups of brown sugar
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
3 cups of molasses
1 cup of water
1/2 cup ground mustard
3 tsp onion powder
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup plus 1 TBSP smoked paprika
4 tsp garlic powder
2 TBSP chili powder
5 TBSP salt
2 TBSP black pepper
2/3 cup of Clear-jel
Combine all ingredients but the Clear-Jel. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Take some sauce out of the pot and add the Clear-Jel to make a slurry. Add mixture back in pot and stir until combined. Cook until sauce thickens.
Fill clean pint jars leaving 1/2 inch space. Clean rims and put lids and rings on jars. (If you are canning for more than 10 minutes jar sterilization is not necessary) Water bath can for 20 minutes.