Monday, January 23, 2012

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

Without a doubt the best baker I've ever known was my Dad's mom.  I was told she was a hell of a cook too, I was a little young to fully understand her culinary talent.  She could take the ass end of anything and turn it into a delicious meal.  A few veggies from the garden (or the pantry, in winter, as preserving food was necessity) and you've got dinner and a well-fed family on a budget.  Her cinnamon rolls were literally famous, known to us as Gramma buns.  People have tried to knock them off before and although they were good, hers were off the charts.  Sitting in Grandma's kitchen with a couple of those rolls and some strong black coffee, playing cards for a penny a hand, I was 8 going on 18, a memory permanently stained in my brain.  One day I'll get around to giving it a go...I think the secret might have been an overnight fermentation with the dough?? Until then, here's a simple but very tasty bbq sauce from her recipe box.  If you don't like the heat, halve the amount of chili flakes.

This recipe is quite similar to the pulled pork, just a different animal.  A much cheaper cut too, if you use thighs...I never buy chicken breasts, they are first of all expensive and secondly don't have as much taste as other parts.  You could buy and roast a 4 lb chicken vs. purchasing 3 skinless, boneless breasts, have much more meat and bones to make a stock, with a few bucks leftover too.  

Gramma probably used the oven, but a simpler way would be the slow cooker.  You go to work while it does work. 

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken
4-6 servings as sammiches

2 C ketchup
3 TB dark brown sugar (or light plus 1 ts molasses)
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 TB cider vinegar
1 ts hot chili flakes
1/2 ts garlic powder
3 large chicken breasts or 4 large thighs, boneless and skinless

hamburger buns

This will take about 6 hours on medium, so use an outlet timer if the work shift keeps you longer than that- a half hour on either end- before and after cooking, will be just fine.  You will heat it back up a bit after shredding anyway, and your temps will remain safe for 30 minutes right out the fridge. 

Add all ingredients except the protein in your slow cooker, stir to mix.  Add in the chicken and turn a few times to coat well.  Put that lid, set it to medium, and come back in about 360 minutes.

Remove chicken pieces and shred with two forks or knives.  There shouldn't be much fat in the cooker if you're using skinless meat, spoon off the fat if present.  Otherwise, shred the chicken and add back to the cooking liquid, stir it all up and let rewarm for 5-10 minutes or so.  You could keep on low for a few hours too, stirring occasionally, if you want to save for halftime. 

Enjoy on some toasted sesame seed buns, coleslaw and pickles would seal the deal. 

Damn now I've used 'off the charts' and 'seal the deal' in the same post...I must have inadvertently watched Guy Fieri or saw a TGI Friday's commercial.

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