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Crock-Pot North Carolina BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Preparation 7 min. 2017-08-17T00:07:00+00:00 Cook Time 4-8 hours 2017-08-17T00:00:00+00:00
Serves About 4 cups     adjust servings


  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Whole wheat buns and coleslaw for serving, if desired (we use our Greek Yogurt Coleslaw)
  • additional hot sauce for passing at the table, if desired


  1. Combine vinegar, brown sugar, salt, hot sauce, and black pepper in your slow cooker. Add chicken.
  2. Cook in a 3-4 quart slow cooker, on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. If using a larger 5-6 quart crock-pot, cook on low for about 6 hours. (See note.)
  3. Just before serving, shred chicken (with two forks) and stir into sauce to incorporate.
  4. Serve on buns with coleslaw on top or as an accompaniment on the side, and pass hot sauce as needed.


Recipe Notes

Cook time: Through all of our testing, we found that this recipe works best in a 3-4 quart slow cooker, on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. If you're using a larger 5-6 quart crock-pot, we recommend cooking on low for only about 6 hours. We do not recommend cooking this recipe on high in a 5-6 quart crock-pot because the chicken tends to overcook and become dry. At the end of cook time, the chicken should be cooked through and should shred easily but also still be really moist and dripping with a bit of vinegary sauce once shredded.

Slow cooker variations: The exact heat and speed of cooking can vary between different slow cookers. Some slow cookers, especially newer models, may cook hotter and faster than others. Our research has also led us to believe that some models allow for imperceptible evaporation of liquid (although you'd expect that no liquid would be lost when using a slow cooker), which can leave your recipes less saucy and moist. Because this particular recipe uses very little liquid, it's particularly sensitive to these variations. No need to worry – it's delicious even when cooked until it's a bit drier. However, that's why we recommend shorter cooking times and/or lower heat for this recipe so that it will still be very moist and a bit saucy once fully cooked and shredded. Adding more liquid will lead to an unpleasantly sharp-tasting sauce (we've tried it) ... the key is simply to control the cook time and temperature to yield the most juicy, fall-apart-tender result.