This Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce is from a family recipe that's been adapted for the crock-pot. A delicious Southern sweet and tangy sauce that's so easy to make, you'll never use store bought bottled sauce ever again!
A sweet and tangy BBQ sauce perfect for grilling or smoking
I love barbecuing on my Pit Barrel Cooker, 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.
All that smoked meat needs a lot of tasty sauce on top and it has to be homemade!
Because no one should ever spend a half a day smoking meat, just to ruin it by coating it with a sauce in a bottle.
How to make bbq sauce from scratch
I have such fond memories of this family recipe. Every time my Mom made this sauce, I would find myself following the delicious smell into the kitchen and peering into the tall stainless steel pot.
I would take the wooden spoon next to the stove and gently stir the thin sauce around the pot, being careful not to disrupt the floating lemon slices.
The rich red color of this southern vinegar based sauce with the tangy smell, is a childhood memory I cherish to this day.
I remember having the self-proclaimed title of "official taste tester" of the sauce and my duty was making sure the sauce was at it's best.
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.
I still have a deep love for this spicy sauce and always make it whenever I need a barbecue sauce at home.
To make the slow cooking process a little easier, I adapted the recipe to cook in a crock-pot or slow cooker. Just set it and forget about it!
And the leftover sauce 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.
I like always having a jar of this barbecue sauce in the refrigerator, because my whole family LOVES using it on all sorts of foods.
Try the sauce with these reader favorite recipes:
So go make a big batch of Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce and get your grill on this weekend!! Share this easy BBQ sauce recipe with your friends and family and PIN it for later, so you can make a batch to give away as gifts.
Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce
- 4 ½ cups all-natural ketchup
- 2 cups water
- 1 ¼ 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 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 slices fresh organic lemon
- 1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke, optional
- 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.
- Remove lemon slices and allow sauce to cool before storing in the refrigerator.
Recipe Notes & Tips:
- Can use an immersion hand blender to smooth out the sauce, if desired.
- Leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for months or can the sauce in glass jars and they’ll keep in the pantry indefinitely!