Happy Saturday! Today’s recipe is a pretty easy one, but I make it all. the. time. It’s perfect when I’m really craving barbecue pulled pork, but I don’t want the food coma/hangover that will inevitably come if I give in and indulge at one of the best BBQ restaurants in town (controversial, but it’s my favorite!). I’m talking about pulled chicken, made right in your slow cooker. Remember your slow cooker? While it might conjure memories of your mom or grandmother making pot roast on a chilly night, it’s a great, if underused cooking vessel. It’s perfect for summer, too, because it gives you that low and slow, melt in your mouth meat without hours cooking away in your oven and heating up your house. Because I’m trying to keep it lighter, I went with chicken instead of pork. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but a mix of thigh and breast meat would be delectable as well. If I were making a sauce-less version of pulled chicken, I would actually recommend the thigh and breast combo, as it’ll result in even juicier meat.
We’ll be slathering our chicken with sauce though, so all breast meat is great. I do recommend seasoning and sautéing the chicken in a pan for a minute or two on each side to give a little color and extra yumminess before adding the slow cooker, but it’s up to you. If you want to make this recipe ultra-easy, you could use bottled BBQ sauce, but why? It’s so so easy to make your own, and you can control the ingredients and integrity when you make it this way! I usually make a double batch and store in the fridge for leftovers, but this is so easy that you can make it in a matter of minutes! This sauce has a nice kicky tang from the vinegar and cayenne, but it’s approved for milder palates as well.
You can ignore my horrific manicure in this photo… obviously it’s time for a new paint job!
The chicken breasts cook on high for a few hours, and will be fall apart tender when you remove the lid. I slathered on some of the reserved sauce, and served it alongside steamed broccoli and some Spanish rice, but you could go traditional and pile it high on a roll. Enjoy this one – without the guilt! It’s perfect for your next party this summer – toss in the crockpot and let your guests enjoy!
pulled chicken with homemade bbq sauce.
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
tangy barbecue sauce
1 cup tomato sauce (or strained tomatoes)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. rice vinegar (can sub regular)
3 tbsp. molasses
1.5 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
directions for sauce
Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in onions cook until translucent and soft, add in garlic after 3 minutes, being careful to not burn the garlic. Add in tomato sauce, vinegars, molasses, worcestershire, sugar, mustard, hot sauce, salt, and peppers and mix well. Let cook on medium-low heat for 15 minutes to allow sauce to thicken. Transfer to blender and process until smooth. Makes about 1 1/4 cup. Use immediately or transfer to jar. Will keep in refrigerator for several weeks.
directions for chicken
Pat chicken breasts dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When oil is hot, cook chicken breasts until golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side.
While chicken is cooking, slice onions and smash the garlic cloves. Add onions and garlic to the bottom of a slow cooker.
Once chicken is browned on both sides, transfer to slow cooker. Top with 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce and add in a splash of chicken stock if desired. Turn slow cooker on to HIGH and let cook for 3-4 hours. Once chicken is done, remove chicken and shred (or use tongs to shred in slow cooker). There will be some liquid in the slow cooker; drain all but 1/4 cup. Serve chicken topped with remaining barbecue sauce and serve.
Serves 6-8 and freezes well.
**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible**