How long will homemade BBQ sauce last?
Our Home Bottled Que Fresco White BBQ Sauce
We made a huge batch of BBQ sauce and would like to give it as Christmas gifts. We put it in bottles. How long should it be safe to consume? I assume it should be refrigerated?
Most barbecue sauces contain vinegar which is a natural preservative and this should mean that provided you follow the standard procedures for bottling that your sauce will be good without refrigeration. Once opened of course you will have to refrigerate it.
What gives vinegar it's preservation properties is its acidity so by adding vinegar to your sauce you are making it more acidic. It's always best to check with a pH Meter, you're looking for a pH of approximately 3.5 - the lower the pH, the more acidic your sauce is.
Most bacteria can't survive in much under 4 so 3.5 gives you that margin of safety. If your sauce isn't sufficiently acidic then try adding more vinegar (you'll be surprised how much vinegar you can add without significantly affecting the taste).
Follow these steps for sterile bottling:-
- Make sure that your bottles a sterile by thoroughly cleaning them with hot water. I put a little water in the bottom of each bottle and blast them in the microwave.
- Pour your sauce into the bottle whilst it's still simmering or just off the boil (take care and use gloves).
- Immediately tighten the cap and allow to gently cool (the cap should pop as the warm air inside the bottle cools and compresses).
Clearly refrigeration will help and if you have the space in your refrigerator then it's better to be safe than sorry.
If you've done the above then your sauce should last unopened for months and once opened, it will need to be refrigerated and used within five days.
To make your sauce last even longer you can add a natural preservative (benzoic acid) which you can buy as sodium benzoate.
My understanding is that you have to add this sparingly to the tune of 500 to 750 parts per million and by my reckoning that equates to 1 teaspoon in every 22 pints of sauce. Please check this with the instructions on the packet.
Unless you've made absolutely mountains of sauce then you might have some sodium benzoate left over but that's a fair price to pay for having made such a fantastic Christmas present!
See Also:-Homemade Barbecue SauceStart A BBQ Business