This Crockpot Barbecue Pulled Chicken just cooks away on its own, making dinner an afterthought. The sauce got rave reviews from my kids. Served on a toasted bun or baked sweet potato, it is hugely satisfying.
The other night when I made this Pulled Chicken recipe, the kids asked “what’s for dinner?” Usually, I don’t have any trouble explaining what I’m making, but that particular night, I wasn’t sure what to say. So, I told them I was making a barbecue-ish chicken on a bun, kind of like pulled pork, but with chicken. They didn’t quite understand what I meant, but one bite of this Pulled Chicken Sandwich and they stopped asking questions.
The sauce in this recipe got rave reviews from the boys. I found the original recipe on Cooking Light and tinkered with it a bit. I decided to season the chicken breasts with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper before browning, which added another dimension of flavor to the otherwise bland chicken breasts.
Also, instead of simply putting all the sliced onions in the bottom of the pot and pouring the barbecue sauce on top of all the chicken as the recipe suggested, I dipped each browned chicken breast in the barbecue sauce and layered the onions and chicken in the crock pot to make sure all the flavors were disbursed evenly in the pot. I think these few extra steps made all the difference.
After the chicken was done (be sure not to overcook the chicken breast, otherwise it will be dry), I shredded it and put it back in the pot. The only issue I had was that the sauce seemed a bit watery, so I blended the cooked onions into the sauce with a hand blender (you could also use a food processor). The sauce was still a bit thin for my liking so I reduced it a bit on the stove top, and then thickened it with a little cornstarch/water slurry. For a darker, richer color, I added a little soy sauce and ketchup (my kids are visual eaters). To keep the chicken nice and moist, I poured all the thickened sauce back into the slow cooker with the shredded chicken and mixed everything well to keep the chicken moist.
I served this Crock Pot Barbecue Pulled Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato style for myself, and on a bun for the boys. I’ll be making this once the school year starts – the crock pot is a great way to keep things cooking as well as warm with no hands.
Crockpot Barbecue Pulled Chicken
- 3 medium onions thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin divided
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups ketchup
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- dash of cinnamon
Place half the sliced onions in the bottom of the slow cooker. Season chicken with salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and chili powder. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and use a spatula to cover bottom of the skillet. Place chicken in skillet in a single layer and cook until nicely browned on both sides.
In a bowl, mix together ketchup, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, vinegar, molasses, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, Sriracha sauce, cayenne and cinnamon. Dip chicken pieces in sauce and place in single layer in crockpot. Add rest of the onions, chicken and sauce. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours until tender and cooked through. Do not overcook.
Remove chicken from pot and shred using two forks. Blend sauce in food processor or using hand stick blender. If sauce still needs thickening, reduce it on the stove, and if desired, thicken with a slurry of a little cornstarch and water. Return chicken and sauce to crockpot, mix well and keep warm on low until serving time.
I added a little gluten-free soy sauce and ketchup to the sauce for color, reduced it down, and thickened it before serving. Adapted from Cooking Light.