Sweet Baby Ray’s Crockpot Chicken – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Sweet Baby Ray’s Crockpot Chicken. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The original recipe can be found over at Just a Pinch.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice. I’ll be interested what prompted this choice, because I have my suspicions. What suspicions, you ask? Well. I think Nance was like “This recipe looks really simple and it will make Amanda’s head blow clean off her shoulders at the idea that we’re referring to this as a recipe.”

That’s right – I think Nance is Amanda-baiting. Which, don’t get me wrong – I’m ALL for Amanda-baiting. I bet Amanda’s nostrils are flaring in anticipation of how much this is NOT a recipe and doesn’t meet her high standards. I bet Amanda wears a headband and cardigans and has her hair straightened to within an inch of its life. Amanda’s hair wouldn’t dare stray out of place for one instant or she’d just pluck the offending hair right out of her head. Amanda, I think I’m saying, has stringent and rigid standards regarding what is and is not a recipe.

ANYway. (I bet Amanda hates it when I say “ANYway.”)(Also probably not a fan of parentheses.)

Your ingredients (“Not MY ingredients,” Amanda is saying.)


Chicken breasts, white vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Also, a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce. Fred was in charge of buying the Sweet Baby Ray’s (I had kittens to cuddle), and he reported that there was nothing that was JUST plain regular barbecue sauce, they had 30 different variations, so he bought the one that looked the best to him, the Sweet ‘n Spicy (Amanda: “Grrr! Sweet AND Spicy. AND.”)

Those chickens breasts are store-bought. After the last time we used our home-grown chicken in a recipe and then didn’t like it, Fred declared that from then on out if we were making a recipe for the first time and weren’t sure if we’d like it, we’d use store-bought because it is a mortal sin to use home-grown chicken for meals that we end up not liking. He’s so bossy and forceful, that Fred.

The recipe calls for 4 – 6 chicken breasts, but store-bought chicken breasts are so damn big that I’m not sure 6 of them would have fit in the crockpot, for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus (see what I did there?)

Okay, put your chicken breasts in the crockpot.


Mix all the other ingredients together. I used a big measuring cup so that pouring it over the chicken breasts would be easier.


I had to get a little violent because my garlic powder was all clumped together in one big, uh, CLUMP. I suspect that bottle of garlic powder is about as old as I am. Yes, I know you’re supposed to replace your herbs and spices regularly. I don’t give a shit. You’re also not supposed to keep them over the stove where they’re subjected to heat. What, I don’t spend enough time pampering cats, dogs, and chickens, I need to pamper my goddamn spices, too? Fuck that.

“The Prince will have a light snack after his nap and before his massage. Also, be sure that the masseuse isn’t all chatty. The Prince hates it when they’re chatty. Just rub the toes and shut UP, you know?”

(Sorry about that watermark being all up in his face. I have a real problem with people stealing my pictures, using them without attribution, and then suggesting that I should be grateful for it. Oh, don’t get me STARTED. And that picture, I’m sorry – SO FREAKIN’ CUTE. I was half tempted to plaster the watermark across his damn forehead.)

Dump the barbecue sauce, etc over your chicken breasts.


Cook it on low, 4 – 6 hours. When given a range like that I usually split the difference (5 hours), but I was a little late in getting it all in the crockpot, so it only cooked for 4 hours.

This is what it looked like right before I put the lid on the crockpot. It looked pretty much the same after 4 hours.


And this is after I removed the chicken breasts from the liquid.


I was going to slice the chicken breast and ARRANGE it and take an artsy-fartsy picture, but the chicken pretty much shredded as I cut it, so you get this.


The verdict? Meh. Totally meh. Like, meh minus. The chicken was dry, and just… meh. Fred felt the same. I wouldn’t waste any home-grown chicken on this recipe. The sauce was good and might be better on something else, but I won’t make this recipe again. Life’s too short for meh chicken.


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Nance’s Take:

I’m from Pennsylvania and there’s no way in hell I would try to make my own barbecue sauce. People in the south know their shit when it comes to barbecue and this yankee prefers to just enjoy the good stuff when I visit. But I do use barbecue sauce in a bottle sometimes.  I stick with Sweet Baby Ray’s or KC Masterpiece. I do not like Kraft’s Barbecue Sauce because it tastes like the stuff I threw up that one time I was mixing tequila with beer.  In the same glass.  Glass after glass after glass…

Everybody’s different and I’m not going to judge (this time), but I have been known to pitch a hiss if the husband brings home that cheap Kraft Barbecue shit just because I forgot to specify a brand on the grocery list. Goodbye, Kraft Sponsorship! Heh.

I picked this recipe because a) I recognized the name b) it looked easy and c) it was made in a crockpot. There are days when I can’t be bothered to stop what I’m doing to make dinner. Especially if I fell down a rabbit hole of trying to figure out if Amanda Bynes is crazy or just has a vicious drug problem.

A crockpot meal is the perfect solution for, ahem, busy people like me.

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

I just realized that this picture makes it look like I don’t know how to spell the word chicken. I do. When I’m packing up a butt-load of chicken (we buy in bulk because I’ll be goddamned if I’m gonna chop the head off a live one!) I sometimes get lazy about my penmanship. These chicken breasts have been cut into smaller sizes because we’re controlling portions.   Some of us eat the leftovers for lunch the next day so it all works out.  I just told you that in case you were dividing the chicken by the number of people in this house and were getting confused.  You’re welcome.

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

Crybaby Felina didn’t want to be up on the counter with the Barbecue Sauce.

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

Here she is walking away from the situation because I had a dilema and she was over it.  I didn’t know the amount of barbecue sauce I should use since my bottle said 50% more free. I couldn’t decide if I should only use half of the bottle or just dump the whole thing in there and hope for the best. This recipe would have been more helpful if it had included what size bottle for chrissakes.

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

Of course Sadie Mae was all about posing for DCEP because she’s the good one. If you look real close, you can see where I had her toenails (front paws only) painted a lovely shade of metallic blue. She drags the top of her feet across the cement on our porch when she walks (arthritis/old age) and it just plum ruined her manicure.  The look on her face tells me that she doesn’t care.  At all.

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

Remember when Pizza Hut was just new and they had glass shaker bottles of this stuff on their tables? I would sprinkle it all over my pizza and it was fabulous. Now? I don’t eat Pizza Hut because…barf. Bye, bye Pizza Hut Sponsorship!  Truth Game:  When I left home to live in Washington, DC at the grand old age of 18, Shirley stole a shaker while we ate at Pizza Hut so I would have one in my new apartment.  Shirley.  STOLE.

Robyn’s probably getting ready to kill me by now.  Trash talking possible sponsors and sharing my mother’s criminal past.  Whee!

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

This is what everything looked like when I threw it all into a bowl. I know you’re impressed. I ended up using about 3/4 of the bottle since my brain gave up wondering what could possibly go wrong.  Who gives a shit?

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

Action shot taken by Shirley (aka: mom). You can also see where I deviated from the recipe because I sprinkled pepper (not salt) on the chicken and sprayed the shit out of the crockpot with cooking spray.   Pro-tip:  Pepper the hell out of the sides of the crockpot so you look like an idiot.

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

Another action shot because Shirley was all proud of herself.

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

This is what I ended up with.  I will tell you where I screwed up – I fucked around so much that I ended up having to cook it on high for a bit in order to have it in time for dinner. Cooking that shit on high made it DRY. VERY, VERY DRY. Hard to believe when you see that picture up there, huh? Yup. I suppose you could lick it if you don’t want to deal with that whole dry thing.  But I’m pretty sure bending over and licking your chicken at the dinner table is frowned upon.

But here’s the very best part of all…

IT SUCKED! Blech. The recipe took a perfectly good barbecue sauce and turned it into a very poor imitation of that cheap-ass Kraft shit that I hate so much. No lie! The fuck with all that vinegar? Are you kidding me? Who wants to take a perfectly decent barbecue sauce and make it taste like swill? I was so freaking disappointed. This recipe needs to be flushed.  Immediately.

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: Entree
Cuisine: Croatian
Serves: 4-6
  • 4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce
  • ¼ c. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of crock pot.
  2. Mix barbecue sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder together. Pour over the chicken breasts.
  3. Place lid on the crockpot and cook on low for 4 - 6 hours*
  4. *Really, you don't want to cook the damn things for 6 hours. They'll be dust. Mine were too dry at 4 hours. I (Robyn) would actually go for 3 hours, then check to see if they're done. How do you check them? Slice into the middle of the chicken breast and check for pink. If there's pink, keep on cookin'. No pink? Ding! It's done! Then eat that chicken breast yourself, don't go serving it to someone else. What kind of animal are you? You ruined it! You gotta eat it yourself.



Sweet Baby Ray’s Crockpot Chicken – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe — 56 Comments

      • Oh, I didn’t see that movie. I HAVE that movie (DVD), but I haven’t seen it yet. How pathetic am I?

      • Read the book instead! The movie was very good, but it paled beside the book. They made some characters much nicer in the movie than they actually were in the book. Oh, and you WON’T want chocolate pie for a while afterwards, so be forewarned!

      • WOW! The chocolate pie comment is AWESOME!
        I wonder how many people out there are wondering why it’s so awesome??? hehe

      • I hadn’t seen the movie or read the book…but I t-h-i-n-k that I just figured it out. Awesome indeed!

  1. Yeah, I tried this one too – once. I even used the Sweet ‘n Spicy BBQ sauce like Robyn did. While we loved the BBQ sauce, we hated the chicken because it was SOOOOO dry. I had even cut the chicken into strips hoping it would soak up more of the anticipated spicy, saucy goodness – no dice. Dry as the Mojave. Recipe FAIL.

  2. Literally dying from laughter at my computer… (wipes tears from corner of eyes)… You guys are awesome! Keep up the cooking, the swearing and those adorable animal pics! 😀 makes my day better!

  3. I like Sweet Baby Ray’s but pepper is my cilantro-red, black, any kind-wuss palette. I can’t taste when my tongue is burning. I knew this had to be too easy to be good. Shirley will smack you for dimming her out! We used to bend spoons at the candy store that had booths for hot chocolate, tea and cake or cookies. We were giggly brats.

    • I’m going to find out if my mother skim-reads now. If she yells at me, I’ll know she read the whole thing. If she doesn’t say shit, I’m going to nail her for not supporting her daughter’s writing career (Bwahaha, writing…)

      • So how did that go? Does she read it or not? Inquiring minds need to know 😉

  4. I do something similar and it does not come out dry. In fact, I won a potluck contest for my crockpot BBQ chicken just last week. 🙂 What I do is cook it for about 4-5 hours in chicken broth, onions, and other spices (whatever you want). Then, when it’s all done, I shred it and THEN mix in the BBQ sauce and just keep it warm until it’s ready to be served. Moist and delicious! We eat it on buns with coleslaw.

    • Derp, I should also add that I *DRAIN* the chicken broth before adding the BBQ sauce. My god, where’s the edit button around here?! 🙂

      • That does sound really, really good.

        But I have to admit that I laughed like a 12 yr. old boy when I saw the words breasts/thighs. 😀

      • I’m afraid I had a similar reaction. Oh well, one person’s immaturity is another’s fountain of youth. Stay young, Nance, and thanks for the canine cameos. Robyn, that pic of Puff is sublime; what an angel. (Shouldn’t you have a tiny halo for the little kooks?)

  5. Would poaching the breasts have helped with the dryness? Hey- I watch the cooking channel all the time, make these FABULOUS meals in my imagination but do I cook? No, I do not. I will tell my house manager (AKA Mom) to pass on this one. Who wants MEH chicken even if the receipe comes all the way from Croatia? Heh.

  6. Do either of you read the Bloggess? Robyn’s comment about people stealing her photos (that pic of Puff? OMG… so glad I don’t live close enough to adopt him because I totally would) made me think of Jenny’s blog entry the other day: http://thebloggess.com/2013/06/sort-yourself-out-library/

    Store bought chicken breasts ARE huge. What’s up with that? Mutant chickens? Something like this? http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ilh72NYj4xw/Tt1k4UEvLkI/AAAAAAAABB8/PkCubUL3-dI/s1600/Chog%2BShirt%2Bkelly%2Bgreen%2Balt.jpg I tend to go to Safeway and buy their Eating Right chicken breasts because they are a normal size…just because I am too lazy to cut up big chicken breasts myself and anyway the smell of raw meat makes me want to barf.

    Any time I’m cooking chicken breasts, whether it’s in the crockpot or on the grill, I brine ’em for a few hours. O boil 1 C water, 1/4 C kosher salt, and 1/4 C sugar/honey/brown sugar/something sweet for caramelization til those are dissolved, pour that into a plastic bag, add 4 C cold water and 3 C ice, toss in my chicken breasts and leave that ’til I’m ready to cook them. It makes a world of difference to how good your chicken is!

    • Would you believe that I wrote that post last night, and then saw The Bloggess’s post this morning? I left a comment, which I never do – but people stealing pictures drive me NUTS.

      Thanks for the tip on brining chicken breasts. I usually avoid boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but I may have to give brining them a try!

      • I also meant to mention that you can make a good shredded bbq chicken in the crockpot if you just add a can of Cola or Root Beer. The acidity helps break down the chicken and the sugar in the soda helps give it a good flavor… then you can drain it afterwards and add whatever bbq sauce you want. Usually, though, I just do the brining and then grill them outside and baste ’em with bbq sauce — that’s probably my favorite way to cook chicken ever 🙂

      • I’m thinking that maybe we should start having guest entries, Robyn. Traci seems to know a lot and we could pick her brain for great ideas! 😀

      • Haha!! Yup, I’m kind of a know-it-all ;). Before we opened the fro-yo and cookie biz last September, I spent 2 years as a cook for my mom’s adult foster home. I’d been into cooking before that, but those 2 years gave me a chance to improve on some skills as well as figure out just *how* I like my food made and what recipes are worth a darn. This is totally not to say that I don’t still have failures, though… they just don’t get to see the light of day ;). Like last week’s meal on the grill that was SUPPOSED to be stuffed mini peppers, grilled potatoes, and a burger. Apparently I suck at the whole timing thing because lunch ended up being basically different sizes of charred bits. Though the burger still tasted good because I used this recipe: http://www.plainchicken.com/2012/08/crack-burger.html which is my new favorite way to have a burger. Okay, I’ll shut up now because I’m making myself hungry. And I gotta go work on some more of those cookies! 😉

  7. I’m really surprised these turned out dry. I made the allrecipes.com bbq crockpot chicken with chicken breast and worried about it being dry too. THAT recipe is the weird one that you use coke or rootbeer and ANY kind of bbq sauce you want to use. That’s it. 3 ingredients. Crockpot for 4-6 hours. House smells FAB-U-LOUSE. But it’s for pulled chicken, maybe thats diff? Anyway, my secret shame is I can’t cook and I totallly WON that bbq chicken recipe. You gotta try it.You can use coke., pepsi, rootbeer whatever you want, dump it and the sauce, and walk away. I was impressed. I tto, could -not- understand the vinegar? and Pepper flakes? And Nance, Pizza Hut still has the red paper flakes, just now in little packets 🙂 (FL pizza huts don’t have sit down places anyore, just pick up & delivery)

    • 3 ingredients? Mary, Mary, Mary. Amanda would not call that a recipe! In fact, that was what she bitched Robyn out for in the first place!

  8. I am what you might call poultry-squeamish. I don’t eat much of it and I can’t stand cooking it. Most of the time that I cook chicken, it gets done in the crock pot. It requires much less handling on my part that way.

    I poach chicken all of the time… in chicken broth, in barbecue sauce, whatever. Never had a problem with dry chicken. In fact, it’s usually so moist that it falls apart before coming out of the crock pot (which means nice and easy shredded chicken… score!). Would the high heat setting have something to do with drying out the chicken? Perhaps also the thickness of the store-bought chicken? Maybe it can’t soak in the liquids as well. I also wonder if the vinegar has something to do with it. I’m so confused! But Amanda already knew that.

    • I don’t know if a quarter cup of vinegar counts as ‘liquid’…in fact, it might well pull water right out of the chicken.

      The few crock pot recipes I have usually have you dump in some kind of fluid on the bottom…so my guess is that this recipe didn’t have enough to do the job.

  9. I make this all the time, except after its done, I shred the chicken, add more spices and barbeque sauce and throw it back in the crockpot for another 2 hours.. I’ve also done it with hot sauce and served it with a blue cheese or ranch dressing.

  10. I’m wondering if adding the vinegar was an attempt (and a poor one) to duplicate a vinegar-based barbeque sauce*? This is a staple of the South Carolina Pee Dee and the North Carolina area around Raleigh (a shout-out to my late NC grandfather who made the best vinegar-based bbq sauce!). But you can buy bottled vinegar-based sauce and skip adding the vinegar.

    *For the barbeque neophytes/Yankees, barbeque sauce varies by state/region and is usually either vinegar, mustard or ketchup-based. There are entire books and travel guides devoted to the different sauces in the South, and fights have been known to break out when alcohol is combined with debating the merits of each sauce! (Uh oh – feel free to bitch-slap me if I’m starting to sound Amanda-ish!!) 😉

    My favorite use of bottled barbeque sauce in a crockpot is with country style pork ribs. Put the ribs in the pot (and for God’s sake, don’t go cutting the flavorful fat off – you need it for the moisture!), cover with sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours. The meat will be falling of the bone when you get home to eat!!

  11. That chicken looks raw, and slimy. Not your fault, it just does. I have Sweet Baby Ray bbq sauce, but I won’t bother making this one. WHO cares though?? There’s a sweet Sadie picture!!!

  12. Crockpots kill chicken. I always end up cooking any chicken dish less time in my crockpot than called for. Of course, my old crockpot that actually cooked on a low temp didn’t kill food.

    I miss it, it was older than me. Modern ones all cook so much hotter.

  13. I applaud you humor, but taking the name of God in vain (and publishing it) really hurts me. I can’t even imagine how much it hurts Him.
    I would normally read more of your bloggy recipes for the humorous style, but I won’t read more due to your offensive language.
    I love you and God loves you. Always remember that.

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