Sweet and Tangy Slow-Cooker BBQ Turkey Thighs

Cranberries lend a wonderful tartness to our sweet-and-sour barbecue sauce. Pair it with its seasonal best friend, turkey, and braise it[ in a slow cooker.]

Total Time:
4 hr 15 min
5 min
10 min
4 hr

8 to 10 servings (2 quarts)

  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 turkey thighs (about 4 pounds 12 ounces)
  • Mini potato buns, for serving
  • Heat the cranberries and 1/2 cup vinegar, covered, in a microwave-safe bowl until the cranberries are softened, 45 to 60 seconds, then transfer to a blender. Add the honey, ketchup, tomato paste, paprika, mustard, garlic, onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and blend until the cranberries are finely pureed. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of sauce. Reserve and refrigerate 1/4 cup. Pour the remaining 1 1/4 cups into a 6-quart slow cooker.

  • Stir together 1 tablespoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl to combine.

  • Remove the skin from the turkey thighs, and discard. Place the thighs on a large plate, dry well with paper towels and season both sides with the salt-and-pepper mixture. Place the thighs in the slow cooker, and turn to coat in the sauce. Cover with the lid, and turn the heat to high for 4 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.

  • Transfer the thighs to a plate, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Stir the reserved sauce and the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar back into the pot. When the thighs are cool enough to handle, shred the meat into 1/2-inch strips. Return the meat to the sauce, and stir to coat. Make sandwiches with the meat and potato buns, and serve. Or let the meat cool, and refrigerate up to 2 days.

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