Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

This is a recipe I found in an article I was reading about tomato catsup in 1912.  After reading through several recipes, I decided this was more of a homemade barbecue sauce than ketchup.

I did some looking around the internet to figure out just how many tomatoes were considered 2 quarts and decided that four 28 oz cans would be enough.  This may or may not be completely accurate, but it did cook down nicely.

It took me around 3 hours to make this and I started with canned whole tomatoes instead of pulp.  I also blended mine in my Blendtec instead of trying to push this all through a sieve.  It is a very tangy sauce and I almost added a little more sugar because I have kids and thought it might be too tangy for them.  I used the sauce over chicken and baked it then served it over rice.  My kids and husband LOVED it.  It really had a flavor like nothing I’ve ever tasted from a bottled sauce.

My suggestion if you make it, taste it after it’s cooked down and adjust the sugar to suit your tastes.  That’s the beauty of making things from scratch, it takes longer, but it’s worth it.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

BBQ Sauce Recipe from scratch

Original Recipe

The article I was reading was printed on September 10, 1912 in The Morning News from Wilmington Delaware.

Put into two quarts of tomato pulp, one onion, cut fine, two tablespoons of salt and three tablespoons of brown sugar.  Boil until thick, then take from the fire and strain it through a sieve, working it until it is all through a sieve, working it until it is all through but the seeds.  Put back on the stove and add two tablespoons of mustard, one of allspice, one of black pepper and one of cinnamon, on teaspoon of ground cloves, half a teaspoon of cayenne, one grated nutmeg and one pint of vinegar.  Boil it until it will just run from the mouth of a bottle.  It should be watched and stirred often so that it will not burn.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

A barbecue sauce from 1912
Course Sauces
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 cups


  • 4 28 oz cans tomatoes
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups vinegar


  1. Combine the tomatoes, onion, salt and sugar. Boil until thick then push through a sieve all but the seeds.
  2. Add back to pot and add the seasonings and vinegar. Cook until it has reduced until it just runs off the spoon.
  3. Cooking time should take between 2-3 hours.

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