Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce

I’ve adapted a family recipe for the crock-pot so break out the barbecue grill this weekend with this Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce recipe.  So delicious and easy to make, you’ll never use the pre-made bottled sauce ever again! 

Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know I’ve been all about grillin’, smokin’, and chillin’ this summer.  I love barbecuing so much that I got another new smoker this past weekend!  Yay!!  It’s a Pit Barrel Cooker and which is a refined version of a UDS smoker (Ugly Drum Smoker – the kind made out of a 55 gallon drum).  This thing is great since you hang the meat over the coals and the fat drips on the fire creating the moisture and flavors of whatever you’re cooking.  Also, due to the design it allows me smoke a shite ton of meat at the same time.  It arrived on Friday and by Saturday morning the coals were lit.  Loved it so much that I fired it up on Sunday too!  It’s been great, other than some slight user error on a rack of ribs…but that’s a story for another time.

Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce

I have fond memories of this BBQ sauce.  It’s my Mom’s recipe and she’s been making it for as long as I can remember.  Every time she made it, I would find myself following the delicious smell into the kitchen and peering into the huge pot.  I would take the wooden spoon that was always next to the stove and gently stir the sauce around the pot, being careful not to disrupt the floating lemon slices.  I also had the self-proclaimed title of “official taste tester” and my duty was making sure the sauce was tasting OK.  In fact, I took my job very seriously and I would continue to taste many times throughout the day.  It’s a good thing my Mom always made such a large pot of this sauce because I probably ate 2 cups of it while exercising my official title.  This BBQ sauce is tangier and has a thinner consistency than most, which I prefer as I’m not a huge fan of thick and sweet sauces.

 Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce

To make the cooking process even a little easier, I adapted Mom’s recipe to cook in a crock-pot or slow cooker.   Just set it and forget about it!  I have to tell you, her original recipe makes A TON!!  It makes something like 20 gallons.  Well, maybe not that much but it does makes a lot.  For my recipe, I cut it back to 15 cups 😉  The good news is the leftover will stay fresh in the refrigerator for months or, if you’re really handy, can the sauce in glass jars and they’ll keep in the pantry indefinitely.

So go on make a big batch of Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce and get yo grill on this weekend!!  Happy grilling :)

5.0 from 7 reviews
Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10 cups
  • 4½ cups all-natural ketchup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1¼ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup all-natural yellow mustard
  • 4 whole fresh garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • 2 Tb salt
  • 2 Tb freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tb chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 5 slices of fresh organic lemon
  • 1-2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a crock-pot or slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours, then reduce to low and cook for additional 2 hours.
  2. **Can use an immersion hand blender to smooth out the sauce, if desired.
  3. ** Leftover will stay fresh in the refrigerator for months or, if you’re really handy, can the sauce in glass jars and they’ll keep in the pantry indefinitely

Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce

Slow Coker BBQ Sauce


  1. says

    That Pit Barrel Smoker sounds awesome, Karrie! I bet you’re gonna get a lot of use out of that one! Will you also use in it in the Winter month’s? Hubby & I bbq all through the year. He goes out on the deck with a big jacket and cap on despite the snow, lol.
    So awesome that this is a recipe adapted from your Mom’s! Those are always the tastiest recipes. I’d say that you were the best official taste tester :) That’s the best job in the world, isn’t it :)?
    I’ve been really thinking about making ribs this weekend and if I do, this sauce is happening! Pinned, of course 😉
    Have a great weekend, my friend! xoxo
    Dawn @ Girl Heart Food recently posted…Fish-en-Papillote {Fish in Parchment}My Profile

  2. B.Starvin says

    Nice work Special K! i was looking for a good home made BBQ Sauce. May need to fire up the Treager Sunday now.

  3. says

    Yay to a new smoker, K! I’ve been trying to convince Boy to get a smoker, but I can’t seem to get him on board.. and I miss the one at my mom’s house terribly. Looks like I’ll just have to fly up and partake in your smoking fun!! 😉 A girl can never have too many BBQ sauce recipes on hand, and I’m loving this one! So great it can be made in the slow cooker! Gotta love convenience! Can’t wait to try it, chicka! Cheers to a relaxing weekend with tons of smoked BBQ! Xo
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary recently posted…BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich {with Raspberry Salsa & Onion Rings}My Profile

  4. says

    Hi Karrie I love the memories of cooking, and loved yours and the part about tasting it.It was the same story in our house except not barbecue sauce, tomato sauce. I lived that you adapted it to the slow cooker. Love that appliance I call it the plop and go. Great looking barbecue sauce and at a glance of the ingredients it sounds like tge grill is on!.
    Have a great weekend.

  5. says

    This looks so good. I want to put this barbecue sauce on everything. I think it’s really cool when people make homemade sauces like this.

  6. says

    Karrie, I bet you were the BEST “official taste tester” EVER. 😉 Love that you adapted your mom’s recipe to make this amazing sauce! I feel like I can just maybe dip a fry or two in this sauce, then just finish off the entire bucket. Just cuz. Here’s to tons more awesome cookouts with your UDS this rest of this summer! Pinning, of course! :)
    Demeter | Beaming Baker recently posted…62 Unbelievably Good Vegan Frozen DessertsMy Profile

  7. says

    I love homemade sauces and this one looks so perfect and flavorful. I want to make this one soon and use it in my recipes. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  8. says

    Omg… I’ve gotta tell my husband about this smoker! We left ours when we moved from Atlanta and he’s been wanting to get another one ever since. The Pit Barrel sounds exactly like something he’d go ga-ga for! Personally, I’m going ga-ga for your bbq sauce! Nothing beats a great bbq sauce – I just want to pour it over all things grilled! And I’m a big fan of the tangy variety! Very, very nice :)
    Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom recently posted…Super Veggie OnigirazuMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

CommentLuv badge