Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches


I’ve been seriously craving a pulled barbeque pork sandwich after seeing them all over the Food Network last week. I was bored on Saturday so I thought: why not try to make one? Since I don’t really have the time or equipment to barbeque a pork butt, I decided to make something similar with chicken thighs. I figured that simmering them on low heat for an hour or so would make them fall apart and therefore give a similar effect as the pulled pork. To go with, I decided to make some coleslaw (because you can’t have a barbeque sandwich without coleslaw) and corn. It was all a success!

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich
I decided on this plan while I was already out running errands, so I didn’t have time to write a grocery list. I knew I wanted to experiment with a homemade barbeque sauce and had most of the ingredients already to do so, so I just picked up some canned tomato sauce as a base. I was a little overwhelmed with the variety of barbeque sauce recipe I found on the internet; people put in everything from coffee to chocolate to pineapple juice. Apparently, Alabama barbeque sauce is made with mayonnaise. Eek…

I wanted to go with something fairly traditional, so I turned to the good old Joy of Cooking and started from there. The recipe I started with had a ketchup base, but I just used the tomato sauce and figured I’d need to add some extra vinegar and sugar to the recipe. I also changed it up by adding smoked paprika instead of regular and tripling the amount of it (I really, really like smoked paprika). I tweaked the other ingredients here and there and wound up with a keeper!

My basic method was to brown the chicken, remove it from the pot, make the barbeque sauce in the same pot, add back in the chicken, and simmer until the chicken falls apart.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed of any visible fat)
½ c. chopped onion
½ clove garlic
2 c. tomato sauce
¼ c. plus 1 tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
6 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. mustard
2 tbsp. hot sauce
2 tbsp. molasses
Juice of ½ a lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear it in a dutch oven in a little bit of oil (something neutral flavored) on both sides until a golden brown. Remove and set aside.
2. Sauté the onion in the same pot. Add the garlic after a couple of minutes and sauté for about another minute.
3. Add the tomato sauce and the rest of the ingredients through the lime juice. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer and remove about half of the sauce and set aside for later.
4. Return the chicken to the pan. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for an hour.
5. At this point, the chicken should be falling apart. Remove it and shred with a fork. Depending on how saucy you want it to be, you can add back in some of the sauce set aside earlier. Or, you can just serve it on the side with the sandwiches. The chicken should look something like this:


Coleslaw
I was originally going to be lazy and pick up a bag of coleslaw mix, but my grocery store was all out so I was forced to really make it from scratch. I used half green cabbage and half red cabbage, which I think gave it nice color. I made my coleslaw pretty vinegary because I wanted it to go in my sandwich as almost a condiment. Once again, my recipe was kind of an experiment, but it was yummy :).

¾ c. light mayonnaise
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 tbsp. white vinegar
Juice of half a lime
¼ of an onion, grated
2 tsp. sugar
8 cups shredded cabbage
½ c. chopped scallions
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Whisk together the mayonnaise through the sugar. Add salt and pepper, to taste (I like lots of pepper in my coleslaw).
2. Place the shredded cabbage in a separate bowl. Slowly pour the dressing over the cabbage until it gets to the right creaminess (you might not need to use all of the dressing).


3. Toss in the scallions and serve.

Corn with Cilantro and Lime
I had wanted to make corn on the cob, but my grocery store failed me once again (ah, city grocery stores…). Instead, I doctored up frozen corn a bit with cilantro and lime juice. I didn’t write down a recipe, but I just sautéed the frozen corn in some butter. When it was heated through and slightly browned, I added chopped cilantro and a little bit of fresh lime juice.

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