The Best Way To Store Homemade BBQ Sauce So That It's Ready Anytime

Like many things in life, what makes homemade barbecue sauce so great is also what makes it difficult. By making barbecue sauce at home, you are removing all the questionable preservatives store-bought barbecue sauce contains, which is a big benefit for your health. But it also means you need to figure out how to store it if you want it to last long enough for you to use. It's not terribly complicated, but it's better to know what to expect than to fly blind and hope for the best. After all, it would be a shame for all the work you did to elevate your homemade barbecue sauce to go to waste.

The refrigerator is your friend on this one. Store the barbecue sauce in an airtight container, preferably one that leaves as little air inside the container as possible, and place it in the fridge. A mason jar is a good option. If you stick a tiny amount of sauce in a large bowl and cover it, you've technically put it in an airtight container since no outside air is getting in, but you've also trapped the sauce in with a bunch of air anyway. It's better than keeping it in an open bowl but not by much. It's the oxygen in the air reacting with the microorganisms in the food that spoils it so the goal is to limit the amount of oxygen available to them. Less air means less oxygen, so pick the right size.

Long-term storage and signs of spoilage

If you store your barbecue sauce in the fridge in an airtight container, you should expect it to last about two weeks. If you don't think you're going to finish it before that clock has stopped ticking, you can freeze it. Make sure you're using a freezer-safe container. Some mason jars can be frozen but not all. When storing in a plastic bag, squeeze the air out before sealing it and placing it in the freezer. If you've just finished cooking the sauce and plan on freezing it right away, let the sauce cool off first before sticking it in the freezer. When frozen, your barbecue sauce should last up to three months. When you're ready to use it, place it in your fridge overnight to thaw.

Once you start approaching the end of the barbecue sauce's expected lifespan, you'll want to start paying attention to signs of spoilage. One way to tell if barbecue sauce has gone bad is by smell. Spoiled barbecue sauce will acquire a pungent vinegar scent that may be accompanied by small bubbles on the surface. If that's the case, it's time to chuck it in the trash and call it a loss. If you see mold, it's definitely too far gone for consumption. Luckily, you can make barbecue sauce with as little as three ingredients, so even if you don't get the chance to use all of your sauce before it's gone rotten, you can easily make a new batch.