Canning Week: Small Batch Peach Barbecue Sauce

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

I grew up in a household that was entirely divided on the issue of barbecue sauce. My father was a devotee, who regularly worshiped at the altar of sauced ribs and slathered pulled pork. When there’s nothing else in the house to snack on, he’ll make cheesy toast, dressed with lashings of sweet, hot, tangy sauce.

My mother lives in direct opposition to my dad. She can’t bear even the faintest whiff of barbecue sauce and refuses to share a dining table with anyone who is partaking. I credit this dislike to the fact that she grew up in a Jewish neighborhood of suburban Philadelphia, where barbecue meant pork. Though hers was a secular household, they held onto the practice of avoiding anything from the pig.

I find myself somewhere in between my parents’ sauce extremes. I don’t love it with the same fervor as my dad, but I can see its virtues, particularly when painted onto a chicken leg that’s been slowly cooked on a charcoal-burning Weber.

These days, my favorite version of barbecue sauce is one that’s made with peaches instead of the more traditional tomatoes. Because peaches are naturally denser, the sauce cooks faster and the finished texture is thicker and pleasantly fruity.

I keep the heat in check with just a half-teaspoon of cayenne and a pinch of Aleppo pepper. Heat fiends are welcome to increase the spice.

A warning: Make sure to use yellow peaches in this sauce. A version made with white peaches will be too sweet and, due to lower acid levels, will be unsafe for boiling water bath canning.

Small Batch Peach Barbecue Sauce
4.9 from 7 reviews
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Recipe type: Preserve
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: makes 1 pint
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds yellow peaches (approximately 7-8 peaches)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed Aleppo pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut peaches in half. Remove stones and peels.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a wide pot with a tight-fitting lid and stir to combine. Place lidded pot on the stove over medium-high heat and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until the peaches and onions have softened.
  3. Using a potato masher, break down the peach pieces. Continue to cook, with the lid off, until the mixture has reduced by approximately half.
  4. Remove pot from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth (you may have to tip the pan a little in order to do this without splashing). If you don’t have an immersion blender, scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. If the sauce is nice and thick, it is done. If it’s still a little watery, return it to the heat and cook a bit longer. At this point, taste it and add more salt or pepper, if necessary.
  6. When it’s finished, divide the sauce between two half pint jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes.
  7. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel.
  8. Sealed jars can be stored in your pantry for up to one year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
Notes
If you struggle to peel the peaches, either blanch the halves in a pot of boiling water for 60-90 seconds or get a serrated peeler. Either method makes quick work of the peach skins.

Editors Note: Don’t forget! You can still enter to win a copy of Marisa’s cookbook, Food in Jars, by tagging your Instagram photos and tweets with #SBCanIt! Winner will be chosen randomly.

We’re looking forward to seeing your canned goodies!

Barbecue sauce: love it or leave it?

About Marisa

Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated small batch canner who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first book, titled Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.

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Comments

  1. I’m kind of like you on the bbq sauce issue. I could take it or leave it depending on the day.
    Steph’s last post: Props to Experienced Moms Re: Potty Training

  2. Maria Ryan Young says:

    Question for Marisa – does this recipe multiply well for a larger batch? thanks!

  3. I agree, when done right and served appropriately, barbecue sauce can shine. I’m so looking forward to peach season so I can try this. It sounds delicious!!!
    kelley {mountain mama cooks}’s last post: Zucchini Sandwich Cookies

  4. Thoughts on using raspberries vs. peaches or some combo thereof? Still safe for canning? Looks so yum!! Thanks!

  5. Jules, you’re welcome to start experimenting in that direction. Peaches and raspberries have similar pH ranges, which means from an safety perspective, they can be exchanged. However, I’ve not made this recipe with raspberries, so I have no idea as to quantity, cook time or final yield.
    Marisa’s last post: Winners! Cuppow and Ball Equipment!

  6. I’m so making this! I have a bunch of peaches to use. :)

    • I have two questions. 1.) Can I skip adding the Aleppo pepper and still have it be safe for canning? I usually can’t find specific peppers at my grocery stores. 2.) If I use smaller jars, like jelly jars, do I do the water bath for the same amount of time?

      • Yep, you can almost always adjust spices without having any impact on the safety of the produce you’re making.

        The processing time is the same for the smaller jars. It would increase to 25 minutes if you were to double the recipe and can it in quarts. But the time never decreases for smaller jar.
        Marisa’s last post: Winners! Cuppow and Ball Equipment!

        • Thanks for replying. I’m still new to canning so this really helps.

          I’m so excited to make something more practical this year! The past two seasons I’ve made apple butter and mixed berry jam. We couldn’t eat it all up by ourselves – I had to give it away!

  7. I’m making a small batch right now (and realized I could have subbed dark maple syrup for the sugar). I have a pork tenderloin marinating in orange juice that this is going on tonight. Because it’s for pork, I added 1/2 tps of ground allspice (I love allspice with pork). And I didn’t peel the peaches. My stick blender will take care of the skins just fine. Thanks for sharing!
    Mama B’s last post: Quickled Cucumber Salad

  8. Yum! Looks great! My mouth is watering already.
    Kerry @ Made For ReAl’s last post: It’s VBS week… Enough said.

  9. Andrea H says:

    This looks delicious! And just in time too. We just went peach picking yesterday, so I’ll be making a batch of this tonight!

  10. Mickele Bragg says:

    LOVE IT, and as a mostly vegetarian (reluctant carnivore), it’s hard for me to get my BBQ fix. Love your dad’s cheesy toast!

  11. Mmm, your bbq sauce looks amazing! I am checking the backyard peach tree daily, just waiting for them to be ready. Tomorrow, maybe? ;)

  12. I have never seen BBQ sauce with a peach base – although I have used a mango purée in a tomato based sauce. Sounds yummy! That being said, could I sub mangoes?
    Miranda @ Mangoes and Chutney’s last post: The Tuesday Thirteen: Tim Cebula Spills the Beans as Senior Editor of Cooking Light Magazine

    • You could mangoes, though it would have to be in a version that was stored in the fridge. Mangoes are much lower in acid than yellow peaches, and so there wouldn’t be enough acid in the finished product to make it safe for boiling water bath canning.
      Marisa’s last post: Winners! Cuppow and Ball Equipment!

  13. Hi Marissa!

    I’m wondering how acidic this tastes? I’m a bit sensitive to acidic foods, but this sounds delicious!

  14. Carol McD says:

    Wow. That sauce sounds amazing.

  15. This looks really good. I’d probably add a bit more heat to it since I like things extra spicy. I’ve never used the small canning jars before, but I’m still a novice when it comes to canning. Having only done it twice, making salsa both times.
    Anthony’s last post: Foods for Digestion: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Part 1)

  16. This sounds delicious. I bet it’s amazing on grilled pork tenderloin!
    Good Food Good Friends’s last post: Grilled Meatball Sliders

  17. Tried the peach bbq sauce over the weekend. It is awesome. I looked up Aleppo pepper in the Penzey’s catalogue. They have a neat ‘heat’ index. Chipolte is slightly lower on the heat index, so I substituted that. It is great! Going to make more for holiday gifts for my BBQ lovers. Thanks.
    idylle’s last post: Garden Grow: Summer update from my backyard

  18. Hello – this is a question for Marisa –
    I made this yesterday, and I got three half pints. I am wondering if the acidity levels are different because I ended up with more. I wonder if the relative acidity might be lower in the finished product because it is more dilute than what you had. Do you think it is not shelf stable because of that? Though I had good seals on the jars I stuck them in the fridge, just in case. If it isn’t shelf stable, how long would it be good in the fridge?
    Thank you!
    ps – it tastes amazing!!!

  19. I’ve fallen in love with fruity bbq sauces ever since I made some blueberry bbq sauce a few weeks ago…love the idea of a peach version!
    Julie @SavvyEats’s last post: Seven Ways with Blueberries

  20. I made a double batch of this today and we had some on our pulled pork sandwiches tonight. It is a winner! Thank you!

  21. Made it this morning, taste test was great, love the flavor and it has a rolling kick at the end, wish it made more as two jars are not going to last very long, My daughter wants me to put a warning on the labels that it kicks!
    Skipped the alepo as the grocery store didnt have it,but added an extra 1/2 tsp of cayanne, next time I will add jalapeno as I love their heat.

  22. Marisa, I’m so excited to try this recipe! I want to add a little bit of bourbon or whiskey to the sauce but I don’t know if this would affect the safety or the processing time. Would alcohol be OK to add?

  23. I would like to get rid of some Jack Daniels and thought it would be good with the peach barbeques sauce. Do you have any suggestions on how much to add to this recipe? Should it be substituted for some of the vinegar? How much Jack in lieu of the vinegar>

    • I really can’t advise on how you’d change up this recipe to include Jack Daniels, because I haven’t done it. You need the vinegar in this recipe to ensure that it has a safe acidity for canning. The only way it would be safe to do so is if you were making it for refrigerator storage and not for canning.
      Marisa’s last post: Blackberry Jamtini from Growing a Greener World

  24. Marisa,
    Any thoughts on using an apricot base instead of a peach base? My friend has apricot trees growing in her backyard, so I can get plenty of them but peaches are pretty pricey in our neighborhood. Also, I can with a pressure canner instead of a water bath canner (we live at a pretty high altitude so it’s faster)… Your thoughts? I’m new to canning and in the cooking department am totally a use-the-recipe-as-a-loose-guideline kind of gal, but I know that’s not advisable for canning.
    Thanks for your help!
    Mary

  25. Marisa, this is a win-win recipe for me. I have a peach tree in my front yard, and I’m like your dad (could eat BBQ sauce with a spoon). Can’t wait for peach season this year!

  26. Allison says:

    Marisa,
    I have your book and love it! I’m a canning addict now.
    I have 2 huge fig trees and more figs than I know what to do with. I’m going to try this with figs, but I’m wondering if I can process this in a boiling water canner without adding more acid. I think figs have a higher pH. How would you suggest changing this recipe for figs?

  27. The sauce is so delicious, I doubled the recipe! I added 2 tbsp more brown sugar for sweetness, I also added 1 tsp of liquid smoke because my husband likes smoky flavor BBQ sauce. Was that safe for canning? I reduced the cayenne pepper powder to 1/2 tsp, I used about 1/4 tsp fresh jalapeño pepper for milder spice. I’m new to canning and would like to know if those changes are okay. I already canned them, I hope it’s not too late.

  28. I made this but it yielded 2 pints. I used 8 peaches. It tastes fine, but my concern is acidity. I’m thinking I might not have cooked it down as much as I could have. As long as I put the 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar in it, will the acid levels be enough to make it shelf stable? Thanks for your help!

    • Megan, it may be that your peaches were a lot bigger than the ones I used. Did you weigh them? Because that was my primary measurement when I initially made this sauce. However, the peaches bring acid to the party, so as long as you didn’t increase the volume of any other ingredient, the acid levels should be fine.
      Marisa’s last post: Upcoming Events: New York! Philadelphia! Lancaster County!

      • Thanks so much for your advice! I didn’t weigh them (a scale is on my wish list) but they did look a bit bigger. So glad to hear I don’t have to eat it all at once!

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