Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

Weight Watchers Cookbook Magazine:  In Good Time, – Barbecue Beef Sandwiches: Copyright 2001

I’ve chatted up one or two of these magazine cookbooks before, but if you were ever on the Weight Watchers diet program back around the year 2000 or so, you might remember these. They were only available at the meetings. Unlike the Weight Watchers magazine that is currently published, these magazine cookbooks do not contain articles or fitness tips of any kind- they simply contain recipes. And lots of good ones, I might add! I have a handful of these cookbook magazines and, believe me, they are treasured sources for lighter recipe ideas. This particular one, In Good Time, focuses on 123 Slow Cooker Recipes to Come Home To. Although somewhat of a collector’s item now, you can still locate these cookbooks from sellers on Amazon- just click the title on this post to see options for purchasing one.
This recipe cover is one of those that the family will be asking you to make- Shredded Barbecue Beef Sandwiches– the kind that are perfect to scarf down after sport’s games and practices on busy weeknights. This is one that just cooks in your crockpot all day long and doesn’t need tending to at all. The points count is quite high for a Weight Watchers meal, but it’s very filling and I’d say worth saving up for. Read on to see my notes about the recipe.

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Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 20 min + chill time

Cook Time: 8 hours


2 (1 1/4-pound) flank steaks
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, divided
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. chili powder
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. prepared mustard
12 (2 1/2-ounce) sandwich buns with sesame seeds, split
24 red onion rings
36 dill pickle slices


1.  Trim fat from steaks; cut each steak in half crosswise.  Combine 1 Tbsp. brown sugar and pepper; stir well.  Rub steaks with sugar mixture.  Place remaining brown sugar, tomato paste, and next 9 ingredients in a 4 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; stir well.  Add steaks, turning to coat.  Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour.  Reduce to low-heat setting, and cook 7 to 8 hours or until steak is tender.  Remove steak from slow cooker, reserving sauce in cooker.
2.  Shred steak with 2 forks.  Return shredded steak to cooker; stir well to coat with sauce.  Spoon 1/2 cup steak mixture onto bottom half of each bun; top each with 2 onion rings and 3 pickle slices.  Cover with tops of buns.


*This recipe is really kind of a no-brainer. Rub the steaks with a spice mixture, then throw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and leave for the day.
*The steaks cook until tender and are then very easy to shred.
*Pickles and onions are optional, but they were very good mixed with the bbq beef mixture.
*I'd say you could probably decrease the points a bit by using whole grain sandwich thins- 100 calories and a high fiber count.
*I served these up these sandwiches with some baked sweet potato fries (not really necessary for myself (I was happy with a side salad), but my family loved having a healthy fry option to eat with the sandwiches.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1/12th of the recipe
Calories per serving: 375
Fat per serving: 10.8g
Saturated Fat per serving: 4.2g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">928g
Fiber per serving: 2.9g
Protein per serving: 26.7g
Cholesterol per serving: 49mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 44.1g

WW POINTS per serving:
Points Plus Program: 10 Old Points Program: 8

The results:

This recipe was a big hit- I loved it since it felt like an “indulgent” diet food, and my family loved it because it didn’t taste like diet food at all. Also, I’m not big on crockpot dishes, but this one is a keeper and will be a repeat recipe in my house (on busy days when I don’t have time to cook).

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes- absolutely!  When you’re on a diet- of any kind- you really love having a meal that satisfies you… that doesn’t feel like “diet” food.  This is one of those meals.  It’s entirely delicious and filling, and something the whole family can enjoy.

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

5 Responses to “Barbecue Beef Sandwiches”

  1. 1

    Heather — January 4, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    oh my! These look delish!! my hubs and I have been dieting for a while and are getting kinda sick of the same old dishes that I keep in rotation! can’t wait to make! Can I sub any other kinds of beef for this?

    • Lori Lange replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 11:15 am

      The flank shreds apart nicely after cooking for several hours. If you know of another cut of beef that does the same, I’m sure it would be ok to sub.

  2. 2

    Alissa — January 5, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    I love your blog! So fun! Can’t wait to try this and the Macadamia-Coconut Meltaways.

  3. 3

    Kelly — January 18, 2011 @ 7:19 am

    Yum! This looks so good. I might need to make this instead of my “usual” Italian beef for Super Bowl sandwiches. I do love a good BBQ beef sandwich and knowing it’s not going to break the WW bank is nice, too!

  4. 4

    Jill — March 1, 2011 @ 6:52 am

    We found this “tough” and” stringy” using flank steak. Perhaps it needed to cook longer, but it cooked all day while we were working……

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