BBQ Sauce

2. BBQ sauce

BBQ Sauce

makes about 12 cups

With the chilli, leave the seeds in if you prefer a hotter sauce and remove them if you’re more of a mild person. You could always make a big batch without the seeds then bottle half and add the seeds or some dried chilli and cook for a little longer so you have a mild version and a hot one.

10 brown onions, peeled & quartered
25 red chillies, stalks removed (see note above re. seeds)
2L (8 cups) tomato ketchup
1kg (2lb) brown sugar
10 tablespoons (60g /2oz) smoked paprika

1. Pop your jars and their lids in the dishwasher on a high setting.

2. Whizz onion and chilli in a food processor until you have a smoothish puree. You will probably need to do this in batches.

3. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan.

4. Add onion puree and cook, covered over a medium-low heat for about half an hour or until onion is soft. Remember to stir occasionally.

5. Add ketchup, sugar and paprika. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer.

6. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for about an hour or until sauce has thickened slightly. Taste and season if required but it probably won’t need anything.

7. Remove from heat and pour into warm jars from the dishwasher and seal immediately (I like to use gloves to avoid burns).

Shelf Life

This sauce will keep for months in the pantry if you take the time to sterilise your jars (read – pop them in the dishwasher on the highest setting just before you use them.) But will need to be refrigerated once a bottle is opened. If you can’t be bothered with the sterilising thing, it will still keep for months or even longer in the fridge.


super hot – double the chlilies & keep the seeds in.

Problem Solving Guide

sauce burning – reduce the heat and stir more freequently.

can’t find smoked paprika? –just substitute in regular paprika, the flavour won’t be as smoky but it will still be delicious..

Packaging Suggestions

Needs an air tight container. I like glass jars but little sealable plastic bags would also work well.

Ingredients List

onions, tomato ketchup, sugar, chillies, paprika

Serving Suggestions

straight up – serve with your favourite BBQ meat or vegetables. Particularly great with a steak or sausages. Also good with roast meat.

BLT – use as a spread to make a bacon, lettuce & tomato sandwich with a difference.

– serve with garlicky mayo as a deafly sauce duo for BBQ steaks.


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    • I’ve been experimenting with a sugar-free option Liv – it’s still a work in progress.
      But you could certainly just skip the sugar here and rely on the sweetness from the ketchup and onions. And maybe halve the paprika so it doesn’t ovepower without the sugar to balance.

  • Great Jody!
    Yes it’s a big batch this recipe… I tend to make it once or twice a year and then keep in the pantry until I need it.
    Glad you liked it even with all the garlic 🙂

  • my research is telling me a brown onion is the same as a yellow onion – so correct me if i’m wrong.
    also looks like Australians call chile peppers just chilis (whereas we tend to call them just peppers), which means your red chilis to me are red chile peppers – so correct me if i’m wrong.
    boy, i might end up inventing some new recipes unintentionally!

    • dang, i can’t seem to even figure out what you mean by red chili…however i have been inspired to listen to a little “Give It Away” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers…and i’ll just use my Fresno’s – looks like they’re not hotter than Jalapeños…

        • omg – making now and this is gooooood stuff…..however, i don’t have a food processor and my blender stinks, so…i just decided it would be more chutney(?) than sauce and proceeded to cook and blended up some of it at the end and mixed it back in. i only cooked the onions for 15 minutes and doesn’t even seem to really need too much simmering at the end…but i’m assuming it just gets a little better with the simmering, tho (: anyway, yum!

          • oh ya, trying to use up some garlic so went crazy and put 3 minced cloves in there, too. oh, btw, i cut this recipe down to 1/4 amounts (approx) and it is still a LOT – maybe 3 cups-ish (:

  • quick question Jules,

    I’d like to make this for a family member who sadly, isn’t a fan of chillies. Anything i could use as a substitute?

    thanks, Ness

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