Classic Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Canning Canning Class Sep 3, 2014

This sauce is rich, sweet and velvety, with a little zing of heat.

When you cook it only until it is no longer watery, you should end up with 8 cups. If your canning pantry includes crushed tomatoes, you can use 2 quarts of them, instead of the ripe fruit called for here, to make this sauce year-round.

You'll need 4 sterilized pint jars with new lids and rings.

Make Ahead: The sauce mixture needs to cool for 30 minutes before it's pureed. The canned sauce can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.

Servings: 4 pints
  • 1 dried ancho chile pepper
  • 6 pounds red ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and crushed (8 cups; see headnote and NOTES)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and diced (see NOTES)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard

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Toast the ancho pepper over a gas stove-top flame or in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and flexible, about 1 or 2 minutes. Discard the stem and seeds; dice the pepper.

Place the pepper in a large, heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot along with the crushed tomatoes, onion, poblanos, jalapeño, garlic, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika and powdered mustard, stirring to incorporate. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook at a lively boil for about 15 minutes; the mixture will be saucy, with a deeper brick-red color. Remove from the heat; cool for 30 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the sauce in a blender until smooth. Return the sauce to the pot and return it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to avoid scorching.

Ladle the sauce into the pint jars, leaving a 1/2-inch head space. Use a flat plastic knife, a chopstick or a bubbler to stir the sauce in the jar to dislodge any air bubbles.

Clean the rim of each jar, top with the warmed lids and finger tighten the rings (not too tightly). Process in the boiling water bath for 35 minutes (see NOTES). Use the jar lifter to transfer the jars to a clean, folded dish towel to cool for several hours.

Label and date the sealed jars. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.

NOTES: Roast the poblano peppers on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the skin has blistered. Let cool before peeling and seeding.

To peel, seed and crush the tomatoes, use a sharp knife to score an "X" at the bottom of each tomato and remove the stem. Drop a few at a time into a pot of boiling water and remove them as soon as they bob to the surface. Peel off the skins as soon as the tomatoes are cool enough to handle; discard the skins. Core the tomatoes, then cut them into quarters. Use your thumb or fingers to press or push out each area of seeds and gel. Use a potato masher or the back of a strong spoon to smash the tomatoes vigorously.

Water-bath canning safely seals high-acid, low-pH foods in jars. The time for processing in the water bath is calculated based on the size of the jar and the consistency and density of the food. For safety's sake, do not alter the jar size, ingredients, ratios or processing time in any canning recipe. If moved to change any of those factors, simply put the prepared food in the refrigerator and eat within a week.

Fill a large canning kettle or deep stockpot two-thirds full with water. To keep the jars from rattling against the pot, place a rack in the pot. (A cake rack works well; a folded dish towel is equally effective.) Sanitize the jars in a short dishwasher cycle or by boiling them in a canning kettle or pot for 10 minutes. Fill a small saucepan with water and add the rings. Bring to a boil over high heat, slip in the lids and turn off the heat.

Use a jar lifter or tongs to lower the filled, sealed jars into the boiling water bath, keeping them upright. When all of the jars are in place, the water should be 1 to 2 inches above the jar tops. Add water as needed. Bring the water to a low boil before starting the timer for processing.

At the end of processing, turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water bath until the boiling has stopped. That will reduce siphoning, in which the food burbles up under the lid, breaking the seal. Use the jar lifter or tongs to transfer the jars to a folded towel, keeping them upright. Leave the jars until they have completely cooled, at least 12 hours. Remove the rings and test the seal by lifting each jar by the lid. The lid should hold fast. Label and store in a cool, dry, dark space.

Because water boils at lower temperatures in higher altitudes, processing times will vary:

At 1,000 to 2,999 feet, add 5 minutes.

At 3,000 to 5,999 feet, add 10 minutes.

At 6,000 to 7,999 feet, add 15 minutes.

At 8,000 to 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes.

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Recipe Source

From Cathy Barrow, author of "Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving" (Norton, November 2014).

Tested by Cathy Barrow.

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