Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beer and BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I was at a party a few nights ago and someone was discussing the awesomeness of chicken cooked in beer and barbecue sauce.  I've always wanted to try a pulled meat recipe that included beer.  Cooking with wine is fun, so why not beer?  I searched the internet for a good crockpot recipe and found one with only a few ingredients.  This meal requires very little prep work and could be tossed into the slow cooker in less than 10 minutes.  But that's no fun!  Instead, I made my own BBQ sauce.  The recipe suggests that a thinner sauce is better for cooking the chicken, so I didn't leave mine on the stove for very long.  After I poured some in the slow cooker, I let it cook more to thicken it to my desired consistency.  The BBQ sauce I made freezes well.  If I was in a hurry, I'd just use a bottled sauce.  The chicken is amazing! The meat didn't taste like a chicken drowned in beer, it was a very mild flavor that went really well with the BBQ sauce.  My sauce isn't overly sweet, which I think is a good match for the beer.  The smoked paprika gave it a slight kick. After 8 hours in the slow cooker, the chicken required zero effort to shred.  When it was completely cooked, it took about five minutes to shred, mix with the sauce, and put on a bun.  This is a great dish for a work night if you can get it in the slow cooker in the morning (and it has a keep warm setting).  It's also great for leftovers.  I served it on an onion roll with some foil baked corn on the cob and a small salad.

I made only one change to the recipe, I added extra paprika and onion powder to the two chicken breasts I cooked.  I started with what was recommended and then added a little extra of each.  I would have used extra garlic powder too, but I ran out.  I'm a wine girl, I don't know a great deal about beer.  So, I picked according to the label.  I used Drake Tail IPA because it was brewed in Williamsburg, VA, where I went to college and law school and using a beer from the 'burg gave me the warm fuzzies.  I think that any beer would work so long as it wasn't fruit-flavored or a strong stout.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken
slightly adapted from How Sweet it is
Serves 2 with some leftovers

Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1.5 tsp onion powder, plus some extra
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 oz beer
16 oz barbecue sauce (recipe below)

1) Rinse and dry chicken.  Then rub both sides of each chicken breast with the onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Place chicken breasts in slow cooker.
2) Add the beer and 12 ounces of the BBQ sauce. Mix well
3) Cook for 8 hours on low. After it's done, shred the chicken and stir it in the sauce that's left in the slow cooker.  Make sure everything is well mixed and let sit for a few minutes.
4) Serve on buns with some thickened BBQ sauce on top.

BBQ Sauce
family friend's recipe
makes more than enough for the chicken

1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp celery seed (very important!  Also, don't confuse with celery salt)
1 tsp liquid smoke

1) Mix all ingredients in a pot and simmer until it reaches desired thickness.  For the beer and BBQ chicken, keep it thin for use in the slow cooker and simmer the rest until thicker.

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