- 1½ to 2 pounds lean ground beef or pork or uncooked ground chicken or turkey, or a combination
- ½ to ¾ cup chopped peeled onion
- 1 cup tomato-base chili sauce
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons chili powder or to taste
- 1½ teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar or the equivalent of 1 teaspoon brown sugar in granulated brown sugar substitute
- Few drops liquid smoke (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 6 hamburger or onion buns or Kaiser rolls, each split in half
In a large heavy skillet lightly coated with non-caloric vegetable cooking spray, sauté ground meat of choice and onions over moderate heat just until ground meat is lightly browned, stirring frequently. Pour off any excess fat.
Reduce temperature slightly; add chili sauce, vinegar, water, chili powder, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke, if desired, and salt and pepper to taste, mixing well. Bring mixture to a simmer; continue simmering, uncovered, for 35 to 45 minutes to blend flavors.
To serve, arrange two halves of a bun on each plate. Spoon barbecue mixture over each bun half, dividing evenly. Garnish as desired and serve as an open-face sandwich. Or, spoon barbecue mixture onto the bottom half of each bun; cover each with the top half of the bun. Garnish as desired.
Top each barbecue-filled bun half with a slice of sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack or other desired cheese; transfer sandwiches to a baking sheet and bake in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for about 7 to 8 minutes or broil for 2 to 3 minutes about 6 inches from heat source until cheese has melted.
Add a few drops hot pepper sauce to meat mixture