This Dutch Oven BBQ Pulled Chicken cooks down in bbq sauce for the most tender chicken breast to use for bbq plates, bbq sandwiches, flatbread pizza and more! This shredded chicken breast only takes one hour to make with no smoker required! Serve it along side my White Cheddar Mac and Cheese and Pulled Pork Coleslaw for the perfect Southern plate.
This pulled chicken is one of my favorite easy weeknight dinners. You can even prep it ahead during the day and keep it in the fridge until dinner time. Then, heat it up in minutes and serve on sandwiches with cole slaw or just as a bbq plate.
Looking for side dish ideas? My Creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, Baked Beans with ground beef, Cornbread with no buttermilk, and Party Potatoes are great recipes to prep ahead to serve with this chicken bbq.
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- The chicken breast turns into the most tender & delicious meat
- It only takes 15 minutes to prep and is ready in under an hour
- This recipe is great for beginner cooks with really simple directions
- The chicken is really versatile and can be eaten alone, with sandwiches, on pizzas, salads, etc.
Chicken Breast-Cooked down in BBQ sauce for a tender pull apart style. I like chicken breast for this recipe because it gets shredded and I want the meat to be all white and really clean. Even though dark meat, like thighs, are really delicious, there can be more tendons throughout the meat. I suggest an air chilled chicken breast, such as Smart Chicken, for a superior quality.
BBQ Sauce, Hot Sauce, Vinegar, and Chicken Stock-Combine for a sauce to cook the chicken in and avoid it from drying out. It's a rather mild sauce, that still packs a lot of flavor and infuses into the meat. You can use any kind of thicker bbq sauce for the recipe. I used Stubbs Original BBQ Sauce, which is really yummy and I highly recommend.
Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder and Salt and Pepper- These seasonings mix together to form a spice blend that pairs perfectly with bbq sauce. It is sprinkled on the chicken before sautéing, which adheres the spices to the outer layer.
Onion and Garlic- Cooked with the browned bits of the chicken and add extra flavor. Yellow onions are important in this recipe because we want a sweet and mellow profile to pair with the bbq sauce. The onion and garlic are only pan fried in the dutch oven for a few minutes, then simmer in the sauce for a tasty finish.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions and Additions:
If you want to make tacos with a Mexican pulled chicken instead of bbq, leave out the vinegar and substitute the bbq sauce with enchilada sauce. You can use red or green enchilada sauce for the recipe. You can also add a teaspoon of chili powder to the spice mixture.
Don't like spicy? Leave the hot sauce out and make sure you are using a mild bbq sauce.
Not a fan of onion or garlic or have kids that won't eat them? You can leave either one out.
If you like a smoky flavor with chicken bbq, you can use a smoked paprika, rather than regular paprika.
How to Make Dutch Oven BBQ Pulled Chicken:
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Here are the Step by Step Instructions for this Shredded Chicken Breast.
Step 1: Whisk together the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Step 2: Pat dry the chicken breast and sprinkle with the seasoning mix.
Step 3: Place a dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat and pour in olive oil. Cook the chicken breast in two batches, for 2 minutes on each side. You want them golden on just the outsides, not at all cooked in the center.
Step 4: Remove chicken breasts to a plate. Reduce heat to medium low, and add in the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté the onions for just two minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon and scrape up some of the browned bits from the chicken. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 60 seconds.
Step 5: Add the chicken breast back into the dutch oven over the onions and garlic. Pour in bbq sauce, vinegar, chicken stock and hot sauce. Cover and cook for 15 minutes on medium low heat.
Step 6: Flip the chicken over onto the other side. Cover and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Check to make sure the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.
Step 7: Once the chicken breast reaches 165 degrees or higher, transfer just the chicken breast onto a cutting board and use two forks to shred the chicken, until you get the desired consistency. Leave the sauce in the dutch oven over low heat.
Step 8: Transfer the pulled chicken back into the dutch oven sauce. This can cook for another 30 minutes on low heat or you can serve it immediately. Enjoy!
- When cooking the onions and garlic, reduce the heat down to medium low. You just want to cook the onions until a bit translucent, not at all brown, and they will continue to soften in the sauce.
- When sautéing the chicken breast in step 3, we are basically just adding a bit of a golden edge and adhering our seasoning to the outside. Do NOT cook more than 2 to 3 minutes in this step or you will get a crust on the outside of the breasts that will be tougher in texture when shredding.
- Checking the internal temperature of the chicken is always necessary when cooking. Make sure it reaches 165 degrees. Most likely, it will be higher than that, but it's important to check. It's impossible for me to tell you an exact time because we're not going to have the exact same flame on our cooktops. I have an instant read thermometer linked in the recipe card below, that has absolutely changed my cooking game. I never overcook chicken anymore because of this inexpensive tool.
Some people use a hand or stand mixer to shred chicken, but I find the easiest way is to just use two forks to pull it apart. (Check out the video for a better demonstration)
If you overcooked the meat, it could result in a tougher chicken. Using an internal thermometer can help from cooking chicken too long. Also, a higher quality chicken breast can have a better taste.
There isn't a difference. Shredded and pulled is the same thing when it comes to chicken and pork.
So many sides pair well with bbq chicken. You can make it really simple and heat up baked beans and serve with dinner rolls or air fryer garlic bread and pulled pork coleslaw. Add some side dishes like this blackened corn and air fryer mini potatoes for a real treat!
This BBQ chicken recipe makes great leftovers. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, heat on low on the stovetop, in the dutch oven until warm. You can add in additional bbq sauce if it's not saucy enough. It will need to cook in liquid to stay juicy. I think chicken has a weird taste when microwaving, but you can certainly microwave to save time.
One of my favorite ways to eat bbq chicken is on a chicken sandwich, with a roll topped with coleslaw. It's the perfect crunch. If you are big on chicken sandwiches, make sure to check out my Buttermilk Chicken Burgers too!
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