A family recipe adapted for the crock-pot, so break out the barbecue grill this weekend with this Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe. A delicious Southern sweet and tangy sauce, so easy to make that you’ll never use the store bought bottled sauce ever again!
Easy BBQ Sauce Recipe
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know I’ve been all about grillin’, smokin’, and chillin’ as much as posisble. 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 a sweet and tangy homemade bbq sauce
I have fond memories of this family recipe. My Mom has 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 tall stainless steel pot.
I would take the wooden spoon, that was always 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 the spicy, has a thinner consistency than the the apple cider vinegar and lemons.
To make the cooking process even 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.
So go on make a big batch of Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce and get yo grill on this weekend!! Happy grilling and don’t forget to share this Homemade BBQ sauce with your friends and family! PIN it for later and make a batch to give out as gifts this summer.
- 4 1/2 cups all-natural ketchup
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar , packed
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 cup onion , finely chopped
- 1/2 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 of 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 to cool before storing in the refrigerator.
Can use an immersion hand blender to smooth out the sauce, if desired.
Leftovers 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.
Originally published July 2016, updated with additional information and tips.