Open Jars: Turn Your Jam Into BBQ Sauce

December 17, 2010(updated on October 3, 2018)

Way back when I first introduced this Open Jars series, Susan wrote in to say that she had a post that might fit the bill. You see, she’s invented a handy formula that easily transforms just about any variety of jam into a tasty barbecue sauce.

Though it took me a little while to reply to her email (I’m notoriously bad about responding punctually), I’m delighted she got in touch to share her recipe and I’m even happier to tell all of you about it. Here’s what she has to say.

I have discovered that I can make a delicious and varied BBQ sauce by combining the following:

1 cup jam
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 tbsp. dried chopped onion
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

For the chicken you see above, I used my lemon, pineapple and rosemary marmalade as the base. I’ve used this same sauce on thick pork chops or country style pork ribs in the crock pot, but with my plum and pineapple jam. You can make any combination of meat and jam you like. Do season the meat well with salt and pepper. Add garlic powder too, if you like.

I baked this whole, cut up, chicken in a 9 x 13 pan in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes. I love serving this chicken with fragrant brown Basmati rice. I think the jammed crock pot pork tastes great with mashed sweet potatoes. The sauce combines with the meat juices to make a tasty gravy.

Until we share a table again – Jam! It’s not just for toast anymore!

I’d love to hear from more of you with ideas for how to use up your home canned goodness.

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26 thoughts on "Open Jars: Turn Your Jam Into BBQ Sauce"

      1. Chili sauce is found in aisle by ketchup or tomato sauce. It is a sweetened tomato product, a little chunkier than ketchup. It makes a great cocktail meatball sauce, heat 1 part chili sauce with 1 part grape jelly, add to cooked bite size meatballs and serve as an appetizer. Yum!

  • I have some green tomato jam that really set up fairly hard. I used some on a pork roast a while back and it wasn’t bad. I’ll have to modify this recipe because I’m allergic to chili and peppers. I’ll have to find an alternate for the chili sauce.

  • I make a similar sauce, and it’s really good. I use the “red hot sauce” from the Ball Blue book instead of chili sauce. And, sometimes, if it’s for my kids, I’ll just use ketchup with a splash of vinegar. That works, too.

  • I agree with her about using alomost any kind of Jam or Jelly to make your own meat glazes or BBQ Sauce etc, the other thing I do is use it for making muffins/loaf or Cakes.

    I use the amount of Jam to eqaul the amount of suger called for in the recipe, and then it becomes Peach Muffins from Peach Jam or cherry Loaf from Cherry Pie Jam etc or Pin cherry Jelly to make a Pink Cake.. its very simple and effective and its a way to be able to use up older jams that need to be used.

  • I am so sure this is delicious. My fiance has been unable to eat anything spicy, nothing beyond salt, pepper, and garlic (thank god he can at least eat garlic) ever since an allergic reaction to antibiotics years ago. It is a drag!
    Anyhoo, I enjoy reading about it!

    1. This isn’t really spicy as my husband doesn’t like spicy food either. The chili sauce is like a ketchup that is not sweet. This comes out less spicy than most bottled BBQ sauces.

  • I just found your blog and I’m in heaven! Love to can and I’m relatively new at it. I look forward to reading your posts. This BBQ sauce sounds great!

  • Home canned goods in general are great for making your own BBQ sauce, since most good sauces are a combination of sour (acid) and sweet. And most home canned goods are either sweet or sour (acid). I wrote this article a while back on experimenting with combining home canned goods to make BBQ sauce. I tried lots of different combinations and they all seemed to work well.

  • I use my preserves to make flavored mustards. In particular, honeyed rhubarb rosemary makes a delightful play on honey mustard. I add it to homemade mustard, and it would also work beautifully with store-bought mustard.

  • @Juliensiss – Thanks for clearing up the chili sauce mystery. It’s the texture of ketchup but without so much sugar. It’s not spicy, as the name might suggest. In my area, we have Heinz or Del Monte. My husband doesn’t like spicy foods and stays away from many bottled BBQ sauces because of this. If I use this sauce to make sandwiches, I usually add mustard and hot sauce to my serving.

  • Thanks for another great idea..I love to make the jams and jellies, but really needed more ideas for using them. I am hooked on the apricot jam mixed with Sriracha Sauce.. I think you used delicious with pork or on a turkey sandwich, if I make it that far.

  • I do something similar. I combine any kind of jam (have even used strawberry) plus any kind of salsa, onions and garlic, with chicken and cook it down. It’s taste great.

  • I just took 2 jars of preserves, cherry and raspberry, that the kids wouldn’t eat because I mistakenly bought unsweetened. I melted half a stick of butter, threw in a small finely chopped onion and let it sweat. Then threw in both jars of jam, a few dashes of worcestershire, a quarter cup of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of hot sauce, a large dollop of brown mustard, a large tablespoon of crushed ginger and some honey and finished it with some powdered cumin and it is fantastic. We were eating it with a spoon until I put it away. lol Give it a try.