Sweet and Tangy Pulled Chicken

Chicken Every Way

Serves 4 • Cooking Time 2 to 3 hours on Low • Slow Cooker Size 4 to 7 Quarts

Why This Recipe Works: A simple spice mixture and an easy-to-assemble homemade barbecue sauce make it easy to turn slow-cooked bone-in chicken into tangy, silky shredded chicken—perfect for piling onto buns for an easy dinner. Quickly microwaving the aromatics together with the chili powder, paprika, and cayenne softened the onions and infused them with layers of barbecue flavor while blooming the spices. We found that simply seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper before nestling the breasts into our quick sauce mixture of ketchup, molasses, and the aromatics was enough to infuse the chicken with the rich essence of the sauce. Stirring in vinegar at the beginning of cooking made the sauce too thin and dulled its acidity, but adding 2 tablespoons of vinegar at the end of cooking along with a small amount of mustard ensured that the sauce was the perfect consistency and retained its bright flavors.

Check the chicken’s temperature after 2 hours of cooking and continue to monitor until it registers 160 degrees. Serve on hamburger buns with pickle chips and Carolina-Style Coleslaw (recipe follows).

1 onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
2 (12‑ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts, skin and ribs removed, trimmed of all visible fat
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1. Microwave onion, tomato paste, chili powder, oil, paprika, and cayenne in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Stir in ketchup and molasses. Season chicken with salt and pepper, place in slow cooker, and turn to coat with sauce. Cover and cook until chicken registers 160 degrees, 2 to 3 hours on low.

2. Transfer chicken to carving board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces using 2 forks; discard bones.

3. Stir vinegar and mustard into sauce. (Adjust sauce c­onsistency with hot water as needed.) Stir in shredded chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Per serving: Cal 220; Fat 5g; Sat Fat 1g; Chol 65mg; Carb 20g; Protein 23g; Fiber 2g; Sodium 680mg


On the Side: Carolina-Style Coleslaw

Toss 4 cups shredded red or green cabbage and 1 small shredded carrot with 1 teaspoon salt and let drain in colander until wilted, about 1 hour. Rinse cabbage and carrot with cold water, then dry thoroughly with paper towels. Whisk 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, and pinch celery seeds together in large bowl. Add rinsed cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Season with extra vinegar, extra sugar, and salt to taste and refrigerate until chilled.

Per serving: Cal 90; Fat 3.5g; Sat Fat 0g; Chol 0mg; Carb 12g; Protein 1g; Fiber 2g; Sodium 610mg


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