Western Carolina Tomato-Based Barbecue Sauce

makes about 2 quarts

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

1 40-ounce bottle of Ketchup (I use Simply Heinz)

2 1/2 cups water (20 ounces) to rinse the inside of the ketchup bottle

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 cups white distilled vinegar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup unsulphured molasses

1/4 cup yellow mustard

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2-4 Tablespoons of natural smoke drippings or liquid smoke to taste

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the ketchup; rinse the bottle with the water and add to the pot.  Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, sugars, molasses, mustard, lemon, salt and pepper.  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 3-3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Using a hand held immersion blender, food processor, or blender, purée the sauce in batches.  Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl and strain the sauce, pressing on the solids with the back of a ladle.  Add the smoke flavorings to taste.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to six months.  Enjoy!

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