I love nothing more than walking in the door with my two kids on a chilly day and smelling the delicious aroma of a meal cooking in the slow cooker. Knowing that I don't have to scramble to create a healthy meal for my family at 5 o'clock is the best feeling ever. Especially these days when I have an active three-year-old and a four-month-old that doesn't like to be anywhere but in my arms. At. All. Times.
I don't even bother to put my slow cooker away; I keep it right on my counter, so that it is easily accessible. I cook at least two dinners in our slow cooker a week, and those dinners usually morph into leftovers for two more nights. I call my slow cooker my "magic meal maker" because it is. You do minimal preparation in the morning, toss your ingredients in, and turn it on. Four-to-eight hours later, you have yourself an amazing, warm meal.
This recipe is as juicy and delicious as pulled pork or beef, but just a little bit leaner and lighter. I used a combination of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and chicken breasts because that is what I had in my freezer, but you could use one or the other. I LOVE chicken thighs because they are still fairly low in calories and fat compared to red meat but are more tender and flavourful when compared to chicken breasts. Turkey meat is even leaner than chicken, so feel free to use boneless, skinless turkey instead of chicken if that's what you have.
You will enjoy this recipe all week long. We had pulled chicken sandwiches the first night and pulled chicken quesasillas the night after. And then, the following afternoon I topped a spinach salad with the chicken that was leftover. It's always great to have lean cooked meat in the fridge to add to pastas, sandwiches, soups, and salads.
Place chicken pieces on a plate or cutting board. Mix together paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over chicken pieces. Place the chicken in your slow cooker.
Pour 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and cook your chicken on LOW for 5 hours.
Turn your slow cooker to the "warm" setting. Transfer chicken to a large bowl and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Take 2 forks and shred chicken (not too finely though).
Skim the fat off of the liquid remaining in the slow cooker (keep the rest of the liquid in there) with a large spoon.
Heat the remaining cup of BBQ sauce in a small saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. Pour the hot BBQ over chicken and toss. Transfer the chicken mixture back into the slow cooker (containing the braising liquid) and combine. Keep it on "warm" until your are ready to serve.
Recipe inspired by Pamela Salzman's Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken Recipe