Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I first had this chicken at Ed’s nephew’s house during an Eagle’s football game, and I knew right away I would be serving it often. We are lucky to have many of my husband’s relatives close by, so we get to socialize quite a bit. While I am technically “the aunt,”  I think of them more as friends than as kinfolk. In addition to being great friends and family, they are fabulous entertainers who give me some of my best ideas. Thanks for this one, Tiff!

This is from the June 2006 Cooking Light magazine, and you can certainly serve it as is with outstanding results. I, however, like to crockpotify almost anything I can get my hands on, so after I post the regular recipe, I will explain how I modify for the crockpot.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches



  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • Remaining ingredients:
  • 8 (2-ounce) sandwich rolls, toasted
  • 16 hamburger dill chips


  • Prepare grill.
  • To prepare chicken, combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Rub spice mixture evenly over chicken. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 180°, turning occasionally. Let stand for 5 minutes. Shred with 2 forks.
  • To prepare sauce, heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and next 5 ingredients (through pepper); cook 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup, vinegar, and molasses; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  • Place about 1/3 cup chicken mixture on bottom halves of sandwich rolls; top each serving with 2 pickle chips and top roll half.
Note: The chicken and sauce can be made up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

David Bonom, Cooking Light
JUNE 2006

Dawn’s Crockpotification and Notes Follow:

Rub spice mixture above onto both sides chicken thighs and place in crockpot on low.

After several hours, chicken will look like this. Don’t be alarmed!

Remove chicken from crockpot and place on a plate. Drain most of the liquid from the crockpot. Return chicken to crockpot, and pull it apart using two forks. This should be very easy and look like this once you’re finished:

You’re almost done! Add the barbecue sauce, and keep on lowest setting until serving. The barbecue sauce is very easy to make and has a great flavor, so I highly suggest giving it a try…but I won’t judge you if you use something from a jar!

p.s. I have to apologize for the poor lighting on these pictures. It was a dreary day yesterday, and the natural light was minimal. Looking at them today, they have a bit of a creepy and unappetizing vibe, but trust me, it is a good recipe!