How to Jar Barbecue Sauce

Increase the shelf life of barbecue sauce through hot water bath canning.
Increase the shelf life of barbecue sauce through hot water bath canning. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Barbecue sauce tends to have high acidity content due to ingredients such as tomatoes and vinegar used to create the flavors of the sauce. Foods and sauces with high acidity benefit from hot water bath canning methods. The hot water bath sterilizes and seals the lids on the jars to prevent contaminants and air from entering the jars. The airtight lid lengthens the shelf-life of the barbecue sauce, allowing you to store jars of it at room temperature.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass jars
  • Dish soap
  • Dishwasher (optional)
  • Saucepan
  • Flat lids
  • Ring lids
  • Water bath canner
  • Canning funnel
  • Towels
  • Tongs
  • Canner jar rack
  • Canner lid

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Wash the jars by hand with hot water and dish soap to sanitize them. Rinse the jars to remove soap and set them aside to air dry at room temperature. Another option is to wash and sanitize the jars in your dishwasher and leave them in your dishwasher until ready to use.

Place a saucepan of water on a stove top burner and bring the water to a boil. Place the flat lids and rings in the boiling water to sterilize them until ready to use.

Fill your water bath canner with water and bring the water to a boil on high heat.

Place a canning funnel in the opening of your jars to prevent spillage. Pour the barbecue sauce into the jars through the funnel, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top of each jar.

Wipe around the jars and rims with a wet towel to remove excess barbecue sauce, as this can cause contamination or prevent the lid from tightening.

Remove the lids with tongs. Place the flat lids onto the jars and tighten the rings around them.

Place the jar rack in the water bath canner to separate the jars and to prevent them from hitting the bottom of the canner. Place the jars in the rack, and put the lid on the canner. Boil the jars of barbecue sauce for 35 to 40 minutes to make the lids airtight, which prevents spoilage.

Line a flat surface with a clean towel. Remove the jars from the water bath canner, using tongs. Place the jars on the towel and allow them to cool overnight at room temperature.

Test the seal of each jar by pushing your finger down in the middle of the flat lid. If the lid pops, the jar is not airtight, meaning you have to redo the water bath canning process for that jar.


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