CEiMB: Pulled BBQ Chicken

Everyone has a specific idea of what constitutes good barbecue sauce. It can be spicy, smokey, sour, tangy, or sweet and varies from thin to very thick. Me, I like mine sweet with a little bit of heat and thick. You know what that means? That means it’s really bad for you because it’s full of sugar. Not to mention that when you buy bottled barbecue sauce, you are ingesting a lot of… unknowns. Seriously, have you ever read the ingredient label on the back of your favorite barbecue sauce? It might surprise you.

I have found one store-bought sauce that both tastes good and has an ingredient list I can pronounce: Annie’s Naturals Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce. It is delicious but hard to find and relatively expensive. This week’s CEiMB recipe gave me hope that I could replicate something similar at home which would be less expensive and that much fresher. After reading the mixed reviews on the Food Network site, I decided to taste my sauce several times and doctor it up a little to suit our tastes. I added a little honey and sugar substitute to sweeten things up a bit, and I also added salt because using low sodium and no salt added tomatoes left the sauce tasting a little flat. The original recipe tasted a little tomatoey and a little vinegary for my tastes, but, with my modifications, it ended up being near perfect.

I made a few other significant changes to the recipe starting with the cooking method and type of meat used. I decided to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and cook them and the sauce in the slow cooker. Putting it all in the CrockPot seemed even easier than shredding a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and worked out really well. With not much time left in the day, I set my heat to high and cooked for about 3 hours before shredding with an additional hour after. It would probably turn out just as well on low for 6 or more hours. There is plenty of sauce to cover the chicken breasts so there’s no worry of them drying out or burning (which is often a problem in my CrockPot). I also opted not to turn mine into a sandwich though I’m sure it would have been great that way as well.

The best part about this recipe is that it tastes even better leftover! I originally planned to freeze a good portion of the leftovers since we had more than half the recipe left, but they’re going fast so I don’t think that will be necessary. Thanks so much to Pamela at Cookies with Boys for such a good choice.

Pulled BBQ Chicken

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
14 ounces low-sodium tomato sauce
6 ounces tomato paste
½ cup water
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup molasses
1 tablespoon honey
2 packets Splenda
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon barbecue rub
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients except chicken in slow cooker. Mix well. Add chicken, making sure it is covered by the sauce. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, until chicken shreds easily with a fork. Remove chicken to a plate, shred using two forks, and return chicken to slow cooker. Cook for 30-60 more minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Source: “Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger”, Episode: Yes Can Do
8 servings | 4 POINTS


September 10, 2009. recipes.


  1. Mary Ann replied:

    This really did make great leftovers! I love your idea for cooking it in the slow cooker. Looks tasty!

  2. Lauryn replied:

    Yours looks fantastic!! You really did a great job on this, and I can tell from the pic that it must have tasted delicious! What a great idea to use a slow cooker!!

  3. Alyssa replied:

    I was excited to see you used your crockpot. What a great idea. Next time I will try adding frozen chicken tenders and the sauce and see how it tastes on low for 6 hours.

    I love simple meals like that!

  4. applec replied:

    Great job. I usually buy Annies Salad dressings and they aren’t too bad.

  5. pamela replied:

    Oh, I’m so glad you liked it! I just finished up the last of it tonight and it was just SO much better after sitting. Your additions sound very good, too! I might try it next time in the slow cooker, too. Great idea! Thanks for cooking with me!

  6. Natalie replied:

    Good call using the crockpot and boneless, skinless chicken breasts!

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