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The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe

I'm finally sharing my secret dry rub mix for you to make The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe at home. This blend of herbs and spices tenderises the chicken and infuses it with an authentic BBQ flavour
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Marinading2 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 30 mins
Course: BBQ, Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ, Crowd Pleaser, easy
Servings: 4
Calories: 385kcal
Author: Lee


  • Slow Cooker
  • Hand blender


BBQ Dry Rub

  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar (15g)
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika (15g)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne chilli powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (5g)
  • 1 tsp chipotle flakes ground or finely chopped (5g)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (5g)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (5g)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Slow Cooker Sauce

  • 1 large red onion roughly sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 150 mls chicken stock
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 4 fresh bay leaves (or 2 dried)
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)


  • 600 g skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tin baked beans


  • Mix all the dry rub ingredients in a large bowl, add the chicken thighs and coat well. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, overnight is best if you have the time. 
  • Set the slow cooker to high. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.
  • When the pan is hot add the onions and gently fry for around 5 minutes, until translucent and slightly golden. Tip the onions into the slow cooker and place the pan back on the heat.
  • Allow the pan to warm up again, then add the chicken and any extra rub. Seal on both sides for a minute and tip into to the slow cooker.
  • Place the pan back on the heat, add the tomato puree and mustard and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and stir for another 30 seconds. Finally add the chicken stock and scrape any brown/sticky bits from the bottom and sides of the pan and tip into the slow cooker.
  • Stir the chopped tomatoes and herbs into the slow cooker, pop the lid on and turn the slow cooker down to low. Cook for 4 hours, until the chicken is cooked and tender. Check in on your slow cooker and stir occasionally. Check your slow cooker manual as timings can differ.
  • When the chicken is ready remove it from the slow cooker using a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks. Use a hand blender to blitz the juices into a smooth sauce. If the sauce is a bit runny you can boil in a pan for 5-10 minutes to thicken. 
  • Tip the baked beans into a pan and add a ladle of the sauce. Cook on a low heat until piping hot and serve with the chicken.
  • Use two forks to shred the chicken. Mix some sauce back into the shredded chicken and serve with soft rolls, coleslaw, wedges and some leftover sauce on the side. 


Play around with the dry rub. I don’t always have all the ingredients, I sometimes mix things up and play around with quantities. If you like it hot add more cayenne chilli powder or chipotle chilli flakes. 
For extra tasty beans add some of the shredded chicken.
If you want to make double the amount of chicken, double all ingredients 
Pulled pork
Use a large joint (to fit snuggly in your slow cooker), times the dry rub by 3, but only use 1 amount of the slow cooker ingredients. Prepare as per above and cook on low for around 8 hours until tender, again check your slow cooker manual for timings. Remove excess fat, shred with two forks and stir in some sauce before serving.
For extra tasty pork I flame grill the cooked joint on the BBQ for 15-30 minutes. The joint will be tender so be careful it doesn’t break apart on the BBQ! The excess fat will make the BBQ flame up so use the lid to dampen the flames. Cut off any excess fat then shred.
Pulled chicken and pork can be kept in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days, or a month in the freezer.
Nutritional values are for guidance purposes and are for Pulled Chicken with a portion of BBQ Baked Beans only.