Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

I get a lot of questions about how do I come up with recipes. Initially, we were very methodical about the kinds of recipes we developed. Back in 2010 when we were a new blog, it was about populating a site with recipes that would help busy parents who wanted healthy but easy recipes. Equally, it was also about just feeding our own families. As a result of being magazine girls, we ended up creating an architecture for the site. We also had themes like Blueberry Week or Sandwich Week and those themes really drove our creativity. Now recipe creation is a bit more add hock. Obviously, if it’s October we’re not working on strawberry dishes but I create what I want or need. And I’m always worried about our readers. What are they struggling with? Where do they need help? Although sometimes a recipe is born of pure selfishness, like this one.

In July, my cottage neighbour and I decided we needed to have a theme for an upcoming dinner party we were planning together. With little discussion, we both agreed it should be a Mexican night. (Neither one of us is without a margarita in-hand when 5pm rolls around.) I instantly knew one of the dishes I was going to make were my sheet pan nachos. But as Scarlett smartly pointed out I needed to give it more heft. We had to add a protein. With a great slow cooker pulled pork in my back pocket (find it here and in our book The School Year Survival Cookbook), I told her, “we’ll just make the pulled pork.” She rolled her eyes. “What?!”, I whined. “Why not the pulled pork.” Then she went on to explain that she’s so sick of it (she hadn’t had it in a few months) and was tired of it (again, hadn’t made it lately) and we just eat it so much (whatever). Why are tweens so wrong all the time but so RIGHT in their head?

I have a homemade BBQ sauce that I make, but I didn’t use it for this dish. I instead used a store-bought version because it was glorious outside and I didn’t want to be in the kitchen all day. I also did it because I was up to my tank-top tan lines with bottles since my husband alway stocks up on more than we’ll ever need for the two months we spend at our beach cottage. If I look back now, I’m glad I used a store-bought sauce because it makes this dish a viable meal for a stupid busy week day.

After piling the first iteration of this recipe on top of a massive sheet pan layered with chips, cheese, roasted corn and red pepper as well as guacamole, I continued to test it using the meat in other ways. You can make this warmly spiced chicken that falls apart at the touch of a fork for simple sliders with Cole slaw, inside a grain bowl or for quesadillas. The leftovers or great for the lunchbox and, if you double it, you can get more than one dinner out of it.

Now mid-September, it’s been part of our weekly meal plan for more weeks than any other dish. Scarlett has yet to complain about it, but that will change. In fact, I bet by the time you read this, she’ll have already declared she’s completely over it. This is when I know it is time for me to create something new. Come to think of it, I guess it’s Scarlett who is looking out for all the readers of this site and less about any fancy plan.

Photo by Jasmine deBoer

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skin less chicken thighs
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Rays)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Method

Mix onion, BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder and crushed red pepper in the slow cooker. Add chicken to sauce and stir with a spoon to coat chicken,

Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4. Chicken is done when it can be easily shredded with a fork.

Shred chicken in slow cooker and stir to coat in sauce.  Serve on rolls with cole slaw, in grain bowls or use in quesadillas. 

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