My Best Sauces: Not Your Mother’s Tangy BBQ Sauce

Sunday June 9, 2013

So the summer is rolling and it is BBQ time again. This is just plain ol’ BBQ sauce; unadulterated and straightforward. My favorite. And made in the slow cooker. I make many types of sauces in the slow cooker, but this is one I consider one of my foundation sauces.

There are so many books and articles now on outdoor grilling, it is astounding. But everyone has to have one all-purpose BBQ sauce to use instead of one from a bottle. If you love to cook, this is a must-have. And you control the salt when you make it yourself.

For many barbecue styles and enthusiasts, the quality of the barbecue is determined by the flavor of the BBQ sauce, which are regional in flavor–Kansas City contains molasses, Carolina style has tangy mustard and vinegar, Texas BBQ has the hot pepper element, Western BBQ is tomato based. But good ol’ American Tomato BBQ sauce is a perennial favorite as it is the all-purpose keep-it-in-the-fridge-all-the-time. I always use an unfiltered, good-quality apple cider vinegar, one of my secret ingredients and passions, as it adds a great flavor element.

Use Not Your Mother’s tangy BBQ Sauce in my slow cooker recipes for chicken or ribs, even tofu, or on your outdoor grill, brushing on the last 20 minutes of cooking to avoid burning the sugar.


Cooker: Medium or Large Round or Oval

Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 5 to 6 hours

Makes 3 cups


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine or water
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste
  • 2 cups ketchup


In a skillet, warm the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat until limp.  Add the wine and vinegar and bring to a boil.  Transfer into the crock and add the lemon juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, paprika, chili powder, and ketchup.

Cover and cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours.  If the sauce is not thick enough for you, remove the cover, turn the setting to HIGH, and cook up to 30 minutes until desired consistency.

Purée with an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor and process until smooth.  Cool, then transfer to a jar and store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 2 months.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2005, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2013

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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