In mid July, I finally purchased a slow-cooker. I don’t mean to imply that there was some sort of build-up to this decision, that I had been painstakingly putting away my extra change in anticipation of this moment, or even that there had been a lot of research involved. I happened to be perusing amazon, saw that slow-cookers were relatively inexpensive, looked up some of the wonderful things I could make if I owned one, returned to amazon, and the rest is history.
Granted, a crock pot may not have been the most effective way to spend money mid-summer, but it’s in the past. Move on.
Never mind, you’ll get past it when you see the results of this recipe.
Slow-cooker recipes that are still summertime appropriate live firmly in the world of pulled meats. So as to avoid going directly for the 4-lb. pork shoulder, I decided on a recipe for pulled-chicken sandwiches, though in my ongoing effort to slowly subvert my own attempts at health and fitness, I opted for an Imperial IPA as the main braising liquid.
This recipe was initially inspired by a pulled chicken slider recipe from the Beeroness.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 5 chicken thighs
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1.5 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 12 oz Imperial IPA – I used Jet Star Imperial IPA by No-Li Brewhouse out of Spokane, WA
The wonderful thing about this process is the slow-cooker mantra: “set it and forget it”. After only a modicum of prep-work, the meal simply simmers for a few hours before you can pull the chicken and serve it up.
To prepare: whisk together – in a medium bowl – all of the ingredients except the chicken breasts and thighs. For the beer, I chose to use 12 oz. of Jet Star Imperial IPA by No-Li Brewhouse. While not as heavily malted as some Imperial IPA’s, Jet Star’s pleasant sweetness is balanced surprisingly well with a double-dose of hops that showcase notes of floral and citrus, all while clocking in at 8.1% ABV. Since this beauty comes in a 22 oz. bottle, I made sure to cork the leftovers, which paired very nicely with the deep flavors of the final product.
Place the chicken pieces and the sauce in the crock-pot.
Cook on “low” setting for four hours, or until the chicken pulls apart easily.
Shred the breasts and thighs with two forks, and combine back into the sauce.
Serve on buns, slider rolls, in a tortilla, atop a baked potato, or in any other delicious way you choose to consume this sweet, smoky, deeply flavorful dish.