I have what you could qualify as an obsession with barbeque.
But barbeque in the most unholy sense. I’m not drooling over smokehouse, dry rubbed babyback ribs or half a pig slow roasting over flame. I’m drooling over the most boring meat covered in barbeque sauce.
Boring, maybe to you, but much healthier than the traditional fare.
I set out to make my own version, since venturing to Bofinger every time I had a craving just seemed unwise and costly. Pulled chicken has always been something I enjoy, the texture I suppose, but never really knew how to make it. A while back in Costa Rica I taught myself how to stew chicken for shredded chicken tacos and have since perfected the recipe. Ok, maybe not perfected but I have made it enough times that I no longer need a recipe. Not that I used one to begin with…
The key to shredded chicken, or pulled chicken, is flavor and moisture. Chicken is quite boring and dry, if you don’t know how to cook it. For tacos I saute a hefty amount of onions and garlic (surprise, surprise) and add a can of diced tomatoes. Basically, you’re boiling the chicken in a flavorful liquid then shredding the chicken. So why not barbeque sauce?
Behold the easiest, yet impressive if you play it up right, chicken dinner recipe ever.
Barbeque Pulled-Chicken Sliders
This all starts with onions and garlic, as always, this time in a small soup pot. Saute the onions first in olive oil until translucent and then add garlic. Stir often to avoid burning. Place you chicken breast(s) in the pan, apart to avoid sticking to each other then add the barbecue sauce and a squirt of siracha if you want some heat. Cover the chicken now with water, so they are submerged, and stir to combine all the ingredients. Crank the heat to bring it all to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the chicken is just barely done, about 15 minutes depending on the size of your breasts. Maybe halfway through, flip them to ensure even cooking.
Gather a larger cutting board, two forks, and a bowl. Place your chicken breasts on the cutting board and with two forks begin to pull the meat apart, placing the shreds in the bowl. While you do this, keep your sauce on the stove simmering to reduce and concentrate the flavors. When the sauce is at an appropriate thickness pour most of it off into a jar or bowl, add the chicken shreds to the pot and stir. Add more sauce to the pot to coat evenly. I do this because I’m afraid that I might have too much sauce in the pot and I don’t want to add the chicken and have BBQ chicken soup. I know I could avoid this by actually measuring how much water and BBQ sauce to use but I’m not going to do that.
That being said… the tricky part of this recipe is knowing how much BBQ sauce and water to add… you want the chicken breasts covered to cook properly but too much water means a watery sandwich and too much BBQ is overpowering and wasteful. I don’t rely on exact measurements here because sometimes I only use one chicken breast, sometimes two, but either way they are never the same size so it seems exact measurements would do me no good. I prefer to learn what looks and tastes right so I can manipulate the recipe as needed.
Besides, it’s more fun that way.
Anyway – we have shredded chicken in the pot simmering with the sauce. This will ensure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly, moist, and flavorful. While this is happening grab your buns (mind you, I’ve done a great job of not being crude with all these buns and breasts around…) and slice them into thirds. Or you can be fancy and purchase real slider buns, but we always have leftover hot-dog or brat buns in the freezer.
Sesame topped buns are best we’ve tested and don’t warm prior to serving, it isn’t necessary. Use a spoon and put the chicken in then cover with its cute little bun-lid, this is all the warmth it needs. We thought about toasting the buns but really you want the doughy/fluffy texture.
Barbeque Pulled-Chicken Sliders
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 chicken breasts, depending on their size
- BBQ sauce
- Siracha to taste, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste, optional
- Hot-dog buns or mini burger buns
Yields enough for two, maybe some leftovers… but probably not.