Slow-Cooker Mexican Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 6 hr 35 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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6 large skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)

Kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 3 tablespoons sauce from the can

1 cup canned crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

1/2 medium onion, grated

2/3 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups shredded red cabbage

2 radishes, thinly sliced

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 avocado

4 sesame hamburger buns

8 thin slices Monterey Jack cheese (about 4 ounces)


  1. Season the chicken with salt and the cumin; transfer to a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Add the chipotle and adobo sauce, tomatoes and onion; toss to coat. Cover and cook on low, 6 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside. Transfer the cooking liquid to a fat separator. Pour the liquid into a small saucepan, leaving any fat in the cup. (Alternatively, skim off the fat from the cooking liquid with a spoon.) Add the ketchup, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and the Worcestershire sauce to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, radishes, scallions and ½ teaspoon salt; toss. Set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally and pulling it apart with tongs or a fork, until browned and crisp in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in all but ½ cup of the sauce; season with salt.
  5. Preheat the broiler. Slice the avocado. Put the roll bottoms on a baking sheet; top with the chicken and cheese. Broil until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Top with the slaw, avocado and roll tops. Serve with the remaining sauce.
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