BBQ sauce pressure canning question...

Discussion in 'Canning' started by toxie, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. toxie

    toxie Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Hey guys,

    I'm looking for a pressure/time guidline for pressure canning BBQ sauce. I've searched but can't find a clear answer anywhere. I'm thinking 11 lbs of pressure and 30 mins for pints/35 mins for quarts.

    Do you think I'm anywhere close?

    Thanks for any info.. [​IMG]
  2. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Toxie... I'm no help. In fact, I'm just posting for moral support. I have the same question... well sort of. I have often thought about how to can my sauce. No one in my family really knows how to can anything. No one in my wifes family either. So, I went to Wal-Mart and bought the Ball book of Canning to try to teach myself. It was so confusing! It has all kinds of warnings about different kinds of food poison and such. I decided to continue my search for someone to teach me. It must be a dying are because so few people I know can do it... And the few that I find that do.. don't seem to willing to help. I hope you get good posts here.

    I'll be watching.
  3. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  4. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Glad to help you out.

    It is always a good idea to pressure can over water bath as an added measure of food-safety, Since I don't know how much tomato/tomato sauce is in your recipe, versus sugars and such, I would also recommend adding canning citric acid (you can get it at the grocery store in the food canning stuff aisle, with pectin and jars etc). Citric acid is added at the rate of 1/2 teaspoon per quart, so it wont imbue any flavor or much noticeable bite to your sauce. It will add the required amount of acid to drastically reduce the chances of C. Botulinum (botulism) spores to form, and whose toxins are deadly.

    I can my salsas at 10lbs pressure for 35 min in pints and half-pints. Your numbes look fine for quarts of BBQ sauce. I wouldn't go less than 30 minutes, though.

    Canning can seem complicated and overwhelming at first. If you familiarize yourself with the different foods - meat vs veg, high acid vs low acid etc- it becomes very simple and much clearere.

    The bottom line for canning is maintaining food-safety, that is a hermetically sealed jar (Nothing can get in) and whose contents have been heated to the required time and temp so as to destroy any harmful bacteria that may grow inside the sealed jar. Since different foods carry different bacteria, the time/temp cooking rules vary.

    That's pretty much it!

    Be safe, toxin is colorless and odorless and tasteles and the contents do not have to be bubbling to indicate it is there.

    Happy canning!
  5. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Take your recipe to the extension office in your county seat. They will have a food person on staff who will be able to tell you how to can your sauce safely. (That person might not be on site--they may have to email someone.)

    Here is a link to Extension: [/font]
  6. toxie

    toxie Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for all the information everyone, I really do appreciate it!!

    Rivet, can you tell me at what PH I would'nt need the citric acid, lower than 4.6? Just asking in case I can get a PH reading of the sauce as is... Also, once canned I can just store these in a cool/dark place and just refrigerate once open correct? Any guesses on shelf life?
    I'll post the results.

    Thanks again! [​IMG]
  7. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Toxie, yes you need to have the pH lower than 4.6, HOWEVER, it is critical to understand two things:

    1) Home pH strips of colored paper are not accurate enough. You need the liquid kits and a good quality equipment (droppers etc) to get an accurate reading. This is critical because of no. 2 below

    2) The danger of pathogen growth (c. Bot) is tied to BOTH pH and water activity (Aw). So just cause you have a pH lower than 4.6 if your water activity (meaning free-available water) is greater than 0.85 the risk IS STILL THERE. You have to use both in conjunction to statistically prevent c. Bot.

    But, all this gets into the scientific micro-chemistry of the subject that gets complicated and is used in the food industry and Federal Regs for consumer safety. We have to have the analytical data to support what we do. You at home do not.

    At home, you don't really need to worry about (Aw) if you add the citric acid, and pressure cook to the correct time & temp. And by this I mean that you must use your published guides. Different ingredients may completely skew your cooking time. For instance, if you add bacon bits or grease to your BBQ Sauce, those proteins then require you to treat it as a canned meat in order to ensure safety and canning meat requires much longer temps at higher heat.

    Another example. About a month ago my wife canned chicken soup. It had to be pressure cooked 90 minutes at 12 lbs since it had small cubes of chicken in it.

    Anyway, I don't mean to scare you off, but canning can be not only dangerous, but deadly if not done properly. So, use the citric, buy the reputable published canning guides (lots are free online from say, Kerr or Ball) and religiously follow the numbers. They have been established in labs and approved for distribution by the USDA.

    Yes, once they are canned and cooled (be careful not to tip or jostle the jars until completely cooled) you can put them in the cupboard or basement. Cool dark is best. Once opened they MUST be refrigerated and should last for several weeks in the fridge. In the cupboard prior to opening I see no reason they shouldn't last at least a year, especially if in the basement on shelves. In there they are undisturbed, dark and cool and the only thing past a year is that the product may lose some of its flavor or "punch", that's all.

    I'm currently running shelf stability tests on my salsas, and plan to post results after one year of shelf stabillity. I keep them in the basement storage area, a small room with shelving. It stays a steady 50-55 F year round and is usually dark unless we are in there and turn the light on.

    Hope this answered your questions and cleared things up a bit!
  8. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't know it it's been mentioned, but keep in mind that the pounds of pressure used will be different for different altitudes.

    You need to check your altitude and make the adjustments. is best to follow instructions on your pressure canner. [​IMG]
  9. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Dang... I want to can real bad... but this whole process seems so complicated and potentially dangerous. Ugh!!

    Sorry Toxie... I don't mean to highjack your post. Just have the same questions and concerns I think?
  10. toxie

    toxie Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    First of all I want to thank each of you again for all the great information! This place is the best because of folks like you... [​IMG]

    Thanks Rivet for the very detailed reply. I was going to try the ph strips so you saved me there... I'm going to always use the citric acid so there will be no issues.

    Here's my final setup for pressure canning my bbq sauce...

    Add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid per quart, 1/4 teaspoon per pint
    Pressure will be 11 lbs (I'm at the 1,000 ft elevation mark)
    Process time is 35 mins for pints and half pints and 40 mins for quarts

    After processing I'll store in a cool dark place for up to a year and then refrigerate once opened.

    I'm sure that this has helped others as well that had the same questions that I did.

    Thanks again everyone!
  11. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Smoke,

    Didn't mean to change your mind about canning, I understand your position on it and was there at one point myself. Once you do it, you realize it's not complicated at all, but it can be potentially dangerous.

    That is the key phrase- "potentially dangerous". If one doesn't can properly will it mean they will get botulism and die? No. They may not even get it. Or, they may only get a microscopic amount that makes them ill, even seriously. However, do YOU want to take that risk? Nobody does, that's why the rules are important.

    The rules are fairly simple. High level of cleanliness and sterilization. Following time & temp guidelines for your food (including adjustments for altitude- THANKS COWGIRL) and utilizing the freshest, highest quality ingredients possible, and that means your own home-grown stuff. None better or higher quality because you know exactly what went into producing it, and how it has been handled.

    Don't lose sight of the fact that people have been canning for hundreds of years and very safely, too. Obviously it can't be that hard, and can be completely safe as well.

    So, read up on it. Start with the easy stuff and work your way up. Good luck to you!
  12. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    rivet i am going to do some canning and i am going to at the Citric acid like u say to my ? is how do u add this put it in jar than sauce and leave it or does it have to be mixed in.. thank you
  13. otter

    otter Meat Mopper

    Ball Blue Book is a great book to help anyone that is intrested with canning it is really inexpinsieve and has great resipies the older the book the better this is a must have for canning I have one that was dated 1964 the year I was borne and some newer ones hope this can help you ...
  14. shegriller

    shegriller Newbie

    I admit, I have been canning my BBQ sauce for years in a water bath canner. Your times are close to what I use at 10 lbs of pressure. I have to confess, my sauce recipe is in my head and so far, no one has died. I have never used citric acid when canning other than using it with fruits that I don't want to turn brown.

    I need to can some more BBQ sauce since I just used my last jar a couple of days ago.
  15. old school

    old school Fire Starter

    This is where I got confused allot with this.  One person swears you have to use citric acid and another does not.  Smoke_chef I decided to go with the citric acid. 
  16. thisdude

    thisdude Newbie

    I am so glad someone asked this!  I have maybe posted twice on this site since I joined, but this one has me stumped completely.  The honesty is that I have created a magnificent sauce that nobody I know dislikes, and my sister and I would love to start selling it, but I can't figure out this canning process to save my life, lol.  I gained some useful information here, and am thankful to all who gave info.
  17. You need to speak with the authorities in you area for specific requirements.
    Don't rely on forum posts.

  18. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Especially if you're planning on selling your product.

    We do a bunch of canning and have been for years. Both pressure, and water bath and I still don't feel comfortable canning sauces for my own consumption.

    There are also other regulationd to consider when packaging and selling your product. Specific rules on labeling and packaging. Some jurisdictions require that everything be made in a commercial kitchen. Some require testing of your product prior to sale. Just things to think about. Talk to your county health division that's going to be one of your best resources.
  19. i was taught to can by my grandmother that was born in 1927    i never add anything to my bbq or pasta sauce and have never had a problem,i can a bunch of stuff including meats and soups n stews and veggies

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