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Jul 15, 2019

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

This Blueberry Barbecue Sauce, made in the slow cooker, is great to make in the summer when fresh blueberries are bountiful. Don't despair if it's not summer. You can also make this with frozen blueberries. 

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce in a jar

This slow cooker blueberry barbecue sauce is savory with a hint of sweetness from the fruit and a little brown sugar. It's easy to make, and excellent both as a simmering sauce and as a finishing sauce.

I love the idea of experimenting with homemade sauces and condiments, such as ketchup, hot sauce, rémoulade, and salad dressing

This recipe makes about 4 cups of blueberry barbecue sauce, enough for making a big batch of ribs or wings.

Slow cooker Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

What you will need to make slow cooker blueberry barbecue sauce: 

This recipe calls for 2 1/2 pints of fresh blueberries. If you use frozen blueberries (not in syrup), you will need 2 1/2 pounds. 

In addition, you will need to add some sautéed onions with garlic, some red wine, and cider vinegar. 

There's also some Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes in the mix. 

You can use a five to seven quart round or oval slow cooker to make this sauce. While I haven't tried it, the slow cook function of a multi-cooker such as the Instant Pot would probably work just fine too.

My favorite way to puree the sauce is by using an immersion blender. It's so great because you don't have to transfer the hot mixture to a blender or food processor and worry about it splattering. An immersion blender is also wonderful for blending hot soups. If you don't have one, I recommend using a food processor for this sauce. 

Ideas for using this blueberry barbecue sauce:

You can use it to cook pork ribs in the slow cooker by combining it with other simmering liquids. The sauce would also be wonderful brushed on wings or ribs for a final char under the broiler or on the grill. 

You can also use this sauce for dipping or as a sauce for burgers. 

I used some of the sauce to simmer short ribs in the slow cooker after browning them in the broiler. While short ribs never seem to look pretty in a photograph, they were delicious, so I had to share. 

Slow cooker BBQ short ribs in blueberry barbecue sauce

Storing this blueberry barbecue sauce:

You can keep leftovers of this sauce in a sealed jar for up to two months. 

Did you know that it's #NationalBlueberryMonth? To celebrate, Ellen and Christie of Family Around the Table and A Kitchen Hoors Adventures have organized a weeklong event where we share delicious blueberry recipes.

Along with this recipe, I'll be sharing a blueberry sauce recipe for waffles, and recipe for cinnamon swirl blueberry bread!

Blueberry Week Recipes

Drinks and Appetizers
Sauces and Spreads

Slow cooker BBQ short ribs with blueberry barbecue sauce

Slow Cooker Blueberry Barbecue Sauce:

If you tried this recipe, I'd love to hear from you!

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce in the Slow Cooker

Yield: 32 servings (1 quart)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow or brown onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced and smashed
  • 1/4 cup red wine, such as merlot or Zinfandel
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 pints fresh or 40 ounces frozen blueberries (not sweetened)
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon  red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


How to cook Blueberry Barbecue Sauce in the Slow Cooker

  1. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and cider vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. 
  2. Add the blueberries, brown sugar, Worchestershire sauce, lemon juice, pepper flakes, chili powder, and salt and pepper, and stir. 
  3. Cook the ingredients on low for 6 to 8 hours. 
  4. Remove the lid and cook the sauce on high for for 30 to 60 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. 
  5. Purée the sauce with an immersion blender, food processor, or blender. 
  6. Let the mixture cool and then transfer to jars and refrigerate for up to 2 months. 
barbecue sauce, BBQ, blueberries
Sauce, barbecue
Created using The Recipes Generator

This recipe was adapted from the book Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. There are 350 slow cooker recipes in the book, including recipes for soups, porridges, stews, grains, chilis, casseroles, poultry and meat, and desserts.

More delicious blueberry recipes from Karen's Kitchen Stories:

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Would you like to comment?

  1. I'll bet this was great on shortribs. I love blueberry bbq sauce on pork chops.

  2. The sauce and the short ribs both look really delicious!

    1. Thank you! i wasn't happy with the photos but sure was happy with the ribs and sauce!

  3. I can not wait to try this BBQ sauce! I am planning on a cookout next week, and this is definitely on the menu! Sounds so great!

  4. I can almost taste it on my grilled chicken! What a creative way to use blueberries!! :)

  5. Actually your photos or the short ribs look absolutely gorgeous and this BBQ sauce sounds incredible!

  6. This is such a creative idea! What a yummy savory way to enjoy blueberries.

  7. I made blueberry BBQ sauce for the first time a few months ago and it was awesome! Your recipe is different so I'm definitely trying it!

  8. Oh that color is fantastic! I love sweet bbq sauces and this sounds so good.

  9. I've made BBQ Sauce with grapes before and that was amazing, so I know that this will be even better!!!

  10. I've never had a fruit-based bbq sauce, but it sounds amazing!! Especially with some grilled chicken, I'll have to try that soon!

  11. Your sauce looks fantastic! I'm going to try that one next time. I still have blueberries....


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