Plastic Bottling BBQ Sauce ????

Discussion in 'Canning' started by smokin-aces, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. First of all, I would like to say, I am very surprised and disappointed in how little information is on the internet about using plastic bottles to store BBQ Sauce. Second, I would like to say, don't try to suggest using Mason jars because I am already doing that. I need to know the proper way of processing and storing BBQ sauce in plastic bottles. I am ignorant to the ways of using plastic bottles to store BBQ Sauce.

    My intent is to sell more BBQ sauce than I do now, and plastic bottles is how I want to sell it because they are more convenient and cheaper.

    So far the only information I have been able to scrape up is that it needs to be 180-185 degrees when it goes in the bottle. After that it seems like you just put a lid on it. Is it truly that simple? It doesn't seem like that would preserve the sauce at all. Please share your opinions and insight. Thanks! 
  2. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Google is your friend-

    search for "food grade plastic sauce bottles", the first link to come up should be a source for BBQ sauce bottles specifically.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  3. I've been searching for the last week and haven't found any useful information. 
  4. backwoods bbq

    backwoods bbq Meat Mopper

    Yes, AFTER YOU SANITIZE THE BOTTLES. sorry caps were stuck. Anyway, sanitize you bottles with hot (not boiling water) you can use a simple sanitizer or soap. Leave then in the water while your sauce ic coming to temp. Use gloves, and make sure to buy a good heat shrink seal bands, and safety seal. Then Your good to go just avoid huge extreme temperature shifts.
  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I dont know what browser you are here..

    Put this in google...  "using plastic bottles to store BBQ Sauce"

    Lots of ways to use plastic bottles and plastic bottles for sale...

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2013
  6. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    One can always send links to each other by PM...and no one would be the wiser.

    Check on Amazon for the bottles.  There have been several types listed for sale.  I have used them for dyes...for dying fabrics.  Lids closed nicely.

  7. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I see you have been battering my posts again....Dave..

    Arent you supposed to notify before battering???

    One hasnt heard yet why this is happening..

            One...aka Craig
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  8. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    This is happening because the owner of this forum, Jeff Phillips, doesn't want any off site links posted and since he owns the site he can pretty much make any rule he wants!
    So now One has heard!
  9. So back to the original topic. Any advice on using plastic bottles to preserve BBQ sauce? I have bought some plastic bottles online and I expect them to be in this week. They come with flip top squeeze lids, but I bought regular black lids with the heat seal (under the lid).  I don't think the shrink wrap will work on these particular bottles because they are oval all the way to the lid. See picture below. 

    So my questions are as follows:
    • What temp does the sauce need to be when I bottle it?
    • How long will the shelf life be?
    • What is the process for bottling? (just heat sauce and pour then cap the bottle?)
    • Is there anything I should or should not do?
  10. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Put this in google...  "using plastic bottles to store BBQ Sauce"

    Lots of ways to use plastic bottles, recipes and plastic bottles for sale...

      Have a Great day!!
  11. Thanks for the copy and pasted answer, but that still doesn't answer these questions. 

    • What temp does the sauce need to be when I bottle it?
    • How long will the shelf life be?
    • What is the process for bottling? (just heat sauce and pour then cap the bottle?)
    • Is there anything I should or should not do?
    I understand how searching for answers on Google works and at first I stated that I have been searching on Google for the past week and haven't found any detailed information on the process of bottling BBQ using plastic bottles. 
  12. tsin

    tsin Smoke Blower

    Just my your county extension office, I call them for temps and any food related questions, they have recipies and and safety answers..Hope this helps and Good luck on your BBQ sauce business.  Tom
  13. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My apologies buddy!!

    I went there and found lots of stuff..

    I really didnt want to C&P a bunch of stuff but will do some...yer welcome...sheesh...

    • High acid foods such as fruits and hot sauces are much easier to jar than low acid foods. This is because acid kills bacteria that cause botulism so it is not necessary to kill all of that bacteria prior to canning. If your food has a pH of 4.6 or below, there is enough acid to use this method.

      • Sanitize jars or bottles as normal.
      • Fill the jars or bottles. Leave as little head space as possible, however make sure that the sauce does not touch the brim of the jar or bottle.
      • Seal the jars tightly with the lids.
      • Place the jars or bottles at least two inches apart in a pot of 220 degree Fahrenheit boiling water for approximately ten minutes. The water should cover the bottles or jars by at least one inch.
      • Carefully remove the bottles or jars from the water and allow them to cool.
    • 3
      Low Acid foods are a little more complicated because you do not have the benefit of the acid working as a natural preservative. For these you will need a pressure cooker. They make special ones especially for this purpose.

      • Sanitize jars or bottles as normal.
      • Fill the jars or bottles. Leave as little head space as possible, however make sure that the sauce does not touch the brim of the jar or bottle.
      • Seal the jars tightly with the lids.
      • Place the jars or bottles at least two inches apart in a pressure cooker containing 2 or 3 inches of water. Follow manufacturer specifications for the pressure cooker. Bring the temperature up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain for approximately ten minutes.
      • Release the pressure from the pressure cooker according to the manufacturer specifications.
      • Carefully remove the bottles or jars from the water and allow them to cool.

    How to Sterilize Plastic Containers

    By Meredith Veto, eHow Contributor

    Things You'll Need

    • Bleach Alcohol Hot water Microwave Dishwasher UV lamp


      • 1
        Wash the container with anti-bacterial dish soap and hot water. The soap will immediately kill surface bacteria but may not guarantee complete sterilization; combining this will another method below is more effective.
      • 2
        Use a non-diluted alcohol rinse. Both rubbing alcohol and grain alcohol kill bacteria on plastic surfaces.
      • 3
        Soak the plastic container in a bleach-water solution of about 5 to 10 percent bleach. Bleach will not take long to disinfect, so the soaking time is minimal.
      • 4
        Heat plastic. This can be done in a hot dishwasher rinse, but more effective is the microwave. Wet the plastic container first, as the interaction between the microwave's heat and water is what causes sterilization. Place the container in a microwave on high power for approximately two minutes. Both the dishwasher and microwave can melt plastic, however. Poloypropylene plastics are strong and withstand high heat.
      • 5
        Place plastics under a UV lamp. Ultraviolet sterilization is a safe, non-heated method used widely in food processing, laboratories and water treatment. Although a UV lamp is not the most common kitchen or garden tool, UV lamps are commercially available.

        Making and Bottling Hot Sauce 101 for Beginners

        This post is for people wishing to make and bottle sauces for personal use or to share with friends and family. Persons wishing to sell their sauces should contact their local health authority and follow their  for proper licensing, permits, insurance, etc. 

        Making hot sauces, BBQ sauces and many other types of sauces is a fun and rewarding adventure. The comb  of chiles and flavors are endless so there’s always something for every chilehead tolerance, from gently warming to frying your face off. It’s also a great way to preserve summer’s bounty. 

        Let’s start with some definitions-

        “Nasties” is a term we use when talking about food born pathogens and bacterias that can cause sickness or death and they are the reason for following good processing practices. Some of the most recognized nasties are e-coli, clostridium botulinum which causes botulism, and salmonella. A couple of the widely publicized incidents of food poisoning from e-coli involved undercooked meat from a hamburger chain which resulted in the death of 4 children and sickened hundreds. “But,” you might say, “that was from meat, and e-coli is only in ground beef.” WRONG! Fresh, bagged spinach from California was found to be contaminated with e-coli and that outbreak killed one person and sickened hundreds more. 

        Nasties are not to be taken lightly. They are present on fresh produce, they can be on our hands, on the kitchen counter, cutting boards, that sponge that’s been used to wipe the counter and sink for weeks on end and never sanitized… 

        If proper sanitation and processing of foods is followed, these pathogen and bacterial risks are neutralized and food is considered shelf stable and safe. If proper procedures are not followed, nasties can grow and the potential for trouble grows right along with it.

        “But I’ve been doing it this way  for 40 years and never gotten sick.” That may be, but that doesn’t mean that this way is correct or safe. These are merely suggestions based on accepted food industry standards, designed to help the home sauce maker make a safe product. Feel free to use or discard these suggestions to suit yourself. 

        pH levels-
        The pH scale is the level of acidity or alkalinity in a product. Without getting all scientific here, basically the lower the pH number, the more acidic the sauce is, and the safer the sauce is. Neutral pH is 7.0. Levels above 7.0 are alkaline, levels below 7.0 are acidic. Target levels for pH in foods intended to be shelf stable are 4.6 and below. 

        Some foods like onion, garlic, chiles, sugar, dairy and butter (used in many wing sauces) and most vegetables are considered “low acid”, meaning they do not have very much natural acid in them. When these items are used in sauces they will raise the pH level of the sauce, so other acids like vinegar, lemon or lime juice, and fruits, etc, must be added to the sauce to get the pH back down to a safe level. 

        Some foods, like most fruits, especially citrus fruits, some heirloom tomatoes, and vinegars are highly acidic and are used to lower or keep the pH level at save levels. Newer varieties of tomatoes have been bred to be low acid and cannot be counted on to supply acid to a recipe. Hot Water Bath  processing used to be an acceptable way to process tomatoes and tomato sauces. That is no longer the case. It is now recommended to pressure can tomatoes and tomato sauces.
        More info here-

        Most weekend warriors don’t have a pH tester, or means of accurately testing pH levels of their sauces. In those cases, it’s best to follow approved recipes  from these links or at least follow the guidelines below for acids:foods ratios. You can substitute any chile for the ones in the recipes to tailor the recipe to your taste or to what you have available.
        Your local university extension service will likely have other approved recipes.

        Shelf Stable-
        Making a shelf stable product means processing the food in a way that it is safe to be kept unrefrigerated for an extended period of time. A shelf stable product can be created by getting the pH level low enough that nasties can’t survive or grow by using acids (vinegar, citrus juices), and then packaging it in an oxygen-free environment. Both the hot fill/hold process and the hot water bath process create oxygen-free environments for sauces with pH’s below 4.6. For sauces with a pH above 4.6, the only safe processing method is pressure canning.

        pH 4.6-
        If you have a pH tester or other means of testing pH like litmus strips, pH 4.6 is the cutoff for safe pH levels, however, since this information is for home sauce makers, the target pH level should be at least pH 4.0 or below. That allows for inaccuracies in testing equipment and variations in the natural pH of food items used. pH levels can vary from one batch to another, so targeting pH 4.0 or below will give you a safety margin. Once again, if you do not have an accurate method of testing, it is suggested to follow established recipes in the links above, or the suggested ratios listed below.

        Wash, Rinse, Sanitize- 
        A safe sauce starts with clean equipment and a clean work environment. Wash, rinse, and sanitize everything you will be using including the counter and cutting boards.
        Wash- hot soapy water
        Rinse- use fresh hot running water. Don’t use a sink or pot full of water for rinse water. After the first couple items are put into the rinse water, the rinse water gets too much soap in it and then it’s not actually rinsing the soap off the items.
        Sanitize- for this you can use a sink or pot. Use one of the following methods or products- 
        Bleach- use unscented  household bleach, use 1 teaspoon (or 1 capful) bleach per gallon of cool/lukewarm water. Do not use hot water, the heat  destroys the effectiveness of the bleach. And when using bleach for other cleaning around the house, do not add bleach to a bucket of soapy water, thinking to wash and sanitize all in one step. The soap binds to the bleach and renders it ineffective. Follow the same steps of wash/rinse/sanitize for household cleaning  as for equipment cleaning.

        One more note about bleach- NEVER EVER mix bleach with ammonia or an ammonia based cleaning product. It will create a deadly gas. If this happened in a confined space, it can cause death.

        No-Rinse sanitizers- these are available at beer brewing and wine making supply  houses. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.

        Heat Sanitizing-
        This method works good for sanitizing bottles, obviously not appropriate for plastic utensils or caps. If using new bottles, rinse the bottles to remove any dust, then put the bottles in the oven at 200F. It’s hard to say how long to keep the bottles in the oven, but the point is to get all the bottles up to 200F. Usually 30 minutes is good enough, but if the bottles are stacked up you may want to check the bottles in the middle of the pile to make sure they are hot. This step can be done ahead of time. Then just turn the oven off and leave the bottles in there until it’s time to process, or remove the bottles and cover to keep clean. 

        One Other Note for washing equipment- after wash/rinse/sanitize…air-dry the dishes. Do not use a towel to dry the items.

        Canning processes- pressure canning, hot water bath (HWB), and hot fill/hold
        Pressure canning- this is the least used process. It requires a pressure canner  and canning jars  with metal lids and rings. Manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed when pressure canning. 

        Hot Water Bath- This process is sometimes used for preserving sauces. The cooked, heated sauce is put into canning jars and fitted with metal lids and rings. The jars are immersed in water in a large pot or kettle. The jars should be sitting on a metal rack or wire rack to keep them up off the bottom of the kettle. The kettle is brought up to a full rolling boil and kept at a full rolling boil for 15 minutes minimum. The jars are then removed from the kettle and allowed to cool. Check for proper seal on lids when cool.

        Here is the Ball canning website with more detailed instructions on both the pressure canning and HWB processes.

        Hot Fill/Hold- This is the most common process for hot sauces. The cooked, heated sauce is put into sterilized sauce bottles, the bottle is capped and immediately inverted and kept inverted for a minimum of 3 minutes. This allows the (180F or greater) sauce to come in contact with the inside of the cap and will sterilize the cap.

        Bottles, Caps and Dropper Tops
        Bottles- The most common sizes are 5 oz, 8 oz, and 10 oz woozy bottles. Sometimes a 1.7 oz woozy is used for samples. The wider mouthed 12 oz sauce bottle is available in a few different styles.

        Caps and dropper inserts- most sauces don’t need the dropper insert. Sauces with any kind of pulp don’t work well with the dropper insert. If the sauce is thin enough to warrant a dropper top, order the bottles with the dropper insert and No Liner in the cap. If the sauce does not need the dropper insert, order the caps With the liner. 

        Reusing bottles- Good Processing Practices say to only use new bottles and lids. However, I do know sometimes bottles are reused. There is no risk in reusing bottles if they are properly cleaned and sanitized. The risk comes with the lid. NEVER reuse a lid with a liner! Food can get around and under the edge of the liner and can contaminate your hot sauce. If you remove the liner, there is usually a spot of glue on the lid. When heated sauce comes into contact with the glue, the heated sauce will melt the glue into your sauce. Yuck. If the lid you wish to reuse does not have a liner, pay particular attention to any ridges or notches in the lid to make sure the lid is completely clean and sanitized. 

        3 of the most popular bottle suppliers are listed below, but there are many other suppliers out there. 

        Cooking pot- use a stainless steel, glass, un-scratched and un-chipped non-stick, or un-chipped  enamel cooking pot, preferable with a heavy bottom to reduce the risk of scorching. Chipped enamel pots and scratched/chipped non-stick pans should not be used for cooking, bacteria can get into the chipped spots and contaminate the food. Do not use aluminum, cast iron, copper or other reactive pans for sauce making.

        Choppers/blenders- any type of blender or food processor is a huge time saver. Use what you have, and wash it really well when done to remove the capsaicin oils. 

        Bottling aids- most use a ladle or scoop and funnel or a turkey baster to get the sauce into the bottles. 

        Other equipment- just use what you have for spoons, scrapers, whatever, just make sure they are in good condition and properly cleaned.

        It’s cool to be all macho and chop up a pound of scorpion pods with your bare hands, but from a food safety point of view, it’s best to wear gloves. Nasties hang out under fingernails and around the cuticles. Cuts and scabs also harbor nasties. Latex, vinyl and nitrile gloves are readily and cheaply available at Wally-World, home improvement stores, and many drug stores. Invest in a box, they are handy to have around the house for more than just chopping chiles. 

        Ok, now we can finally get to-
        Making a sauce! 

        Gather up your ingredients and supplies, and get creative!

        Blender First or Blender Last? Either will work. If you are using a blender or food processor, chopping the ingredients before cooking will give you more, larger bits of pulp in the sauce that won’t break down during cooking as much. Or, the ingredients can be coarse chopped, cooked, and then blendered for a smoother sauce. Using a food mill on a cooked sauce will give you an even smoother sauce with no seeds or pulp. 

        Blendering hot foods- if you decide to blender/food processor the sauce after cooking, be VERY CAREFUL when blendering the heated sauce. When you turn on the blender, steam is released and will explode out of the blender if you are not careful. It can hit your hands, arms and even face causing burns. When blendering hot foods, put a clean towel over the blender lid and hold the lid loosely so when the blender is started, the steam can safely escape. If using a food processor, keep the feeding chute open and your hands clear of the chute to allow the steam to safely escape. 

        Seeds or No Seeds? It’s all up to you. Use a food mill on cooked sauces to remove all the seeds and pulp for a really smooth sauce.

        What kind of vinegar or acid? Once again, it’s up to you! What ever you like! Be aware of the acidity levels of different vinegars if substituting one type of vinegar for another in a recipe. Rice vinegar has a lower acidity level and white vinegar. If rice vinegar is substituted 1:1 in a recipe calling for white vinegar, the recipe won’t have enough acidity. Lemon and lime juice are other common acids that work well in hot sauces. 

        Acid ratios- based on several of the approved recipes in the links above, most have an average of 1 cup white vinegar to 10 cups of veggies. However, I’m not a food scientist or process authority. This is just a suggestion based on approved recipes. Different ingredients will effect the finished pH of the sauce. 

        How long to cook the sauce? The minimum suggested cooking time is 10 minutes at a full rolling boil. The longer it cooks, the softer the pulp becomes and the thicker the sauce will get. You can simmer it for as long as you want. Keep it stirred so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom. If it gets too thick, add a little water, or other liquid.

        So, your sauce is cooked and ready to bottle, now you are at the Sauce Crossroads. You can go right to bottling…or…put the sauce in the refer overnight and taste-test it tomorrow to see how the flavors are and if it needs any tweaking. 

        Refer the Sauce-  if you decide to refrigerate the sauce overnight, put the sauce in a flat pan or shallow bowl so it will chill down quickly. Again, use non-reactive glass, stainless steel or plastic. Don’t just stick the big pot into the refer. This goes for chilling all types of foods, not just sauces, especially things like thick chilies and soups/stews. 

        If you do not have a flat pan or room for a flat pan in the refer, use the ice-bath technique. The Ice-Bath Technique- put the pot in a sink or larger pot and fill up around the pot with ice water, up to the level of the sauce in the pot. Stir the sauce regularly and replenish the ice as needed until the sauce is completely chilled. The pot can now be safely put in the refer. See post #16 below for more details regarding cooling temps and cooling times for un-bottled sauces. Those cooling times/temps do not apply to bottled sauces. (edit- Once the heated sauce is in the bottle, a vacuum is created, and the cooling times/temps in post #16 are not applicable. The cooling times/temps in post #16 are for  un-bottledsauces and also apply to any other cooking you may be doing...soup, stew, chili....). 
        When you are ready to bottle, bring the sauce back up to temp and boil for 10 minutes. Proceed to bottling.

        Use a funnel and scoop or measuring cup or a turkey baster to get the heated sauce into the bottles. Immediately cap and invert the bottle for a minimum of 3 minutes. 

        The sauce must be at a minimum temp of 180F when bottling. A double boiler set up works well for keeping the sauce hot while bottling. Don’t use the double boiler to get the sauce up to temp, only to keep it at temp while bottling.

        So, that’s about it! Now you can sit back and enjoy your creation for months to come. 

        Once again, I’m not a process authority or food scientist. These suggestions are offered to help beginning sauce makers create safe foods to share. Anyone selling sauces via any venue should follow their local health authority regulations for proper licensing for their own protection as well as the safety of their customers. 

        Hope this helps, now Let's Get Cooking!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2013
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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  15. Thanks for the input! I think I got what I need now.
    • Sanitize bottles
    • Heat sauce to <= 180 degrees
    • Fill bottles
    • Immediately cap and invert
    The Hot water bath info just didn't seem right because it seems like boiling plastic and cooling it could cause the bottle to deform. Same with putting them in the oven at 200 degrees. Maybe I'm wrong.. 

    Does anyone know how the heat induction seal works? Can I just put it inside the lid and when I cap it and invert the bottle will it seal from the heat of the sauce and pressure of the lid? Or does it take a special machine?
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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  17. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Not sure about the laws were you live, but if selling your sauce legally, a HACCP plan would most likely be needed.    In taking the class to obtain your HACCP certificate, all your questions would be answered.  I learned that for the small operator, glass was the way to go.

  18. Well I am at a point where I want to sell more sauces than I do now, but I do not currently sell enough to justify contracting it out to someone who does this kind of thing. I would think that bottling companies would want thousands of these in order to do it for me. 

    So I thought bottling with plastic bottles with a nice label on them would help sell more bottles of sauce. Currently I am using pint Mason jars and writing on the lid what flavor it is. There is no contact info or any catchy graphics. 

    I don't think I have to really worry about being "legal" until I sell 10,000 bottles a year.
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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  20. Really? How many did he sell? I guess I should do some more research before I sell too many...

    I got the 10,000 number from somewhere that I read that the Nutritional Table doesn't have to be on there unless you sell 10,000 annually. I assumed that meant I didn't need any licenses or certifications either... 

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