Now I know that BBQ purists out there might be a bit offended by me calling this BBQ. (I know this because here where I live in North Carolina, folks are serious about their BBQ!) And even though we have plenty of authentic BBQ joints here, sometimes I just want to make some homemade BBQ. And if you’re like me, and lack a backyard smoker, you can still make something delicious. (Or even if you have a smoker but are looking for a convenient alternative.) That’s where the slow cooker comes in.
This Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ chicken is so juicy and full of flavor with a tangy and slightly sweet homemade BBQ sauce. Pile it on a bun and top it with a big pile of coleslaw for the perfect BBQ chicken sandwich (or serve in a crunchy lettuce wrap for something a little lighter.) I love to make this for summer get-togethers and picnics, but it’s also easy enough to make for an everyday weeknight dinner, too,
And while you can just use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce, I prefer to make my homemade version for this recipe. This sauce is deceptively simple, using only a few ingredients, but is also totally delicious. I don’t even cook the sauce ahead of time, so it really only takes minutes to throw together. If you like your chicken extra-saucy, just go ahead and double the sauce recipe.
The secret to the best pulled chicken is using a whole chicken. Or, for all-white meat, bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts. I don’t recommend using boneless, skinless chicken for this recipe. Even though the bones and skin are removed after cooking, the result will be juicer and more flavorful by starting with bone-in, skin-on pieces of chicken.
- For cooking the chicken, you will need a slow cooker large enough to fit a whole chicken and a rack for the bottom of your slow cooker. I have a rack that fits my slow cooker, but if you don’t happen to have a rack, you can make your own rack by rolling up some foil, or by using some quartered onions to raise the chicken off of the bottom of the slow cooker. You just want to make sure that the chicken is elevated and not stewing in its juices.
- For extra flavor, I add a little beer to the bottom of the slow cooker. The steam of the beer will infuse the chicken with even more flavor. If you aren’t a fan of beer, just omit it – you really don’t need to add extra liquid to make the chicken.
- To serve the pulled bbq chicken, I like to put it on a hearty bun, and top with coleslaw. To accompany the sandwich, you can’t go wrong with pickles and baked beans, or any of your other favorite BBQ sides.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know how it turned out in the comments. I hope you enjoy!
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For the BBQ Spice Rub:
For the BBQ Sauce: