Pulled Chicken with Bourbon BBQ

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Bourbon BBQ Sauce:

1 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons dark amber maple syrup

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup apricot all-fruit spread or preserves

2 shots good-quality bourbon

1 tablespoon orange zest

Coarsely ground black pepper


1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 cups Pulled Poached Chicken, recipe follows

1 cup poaching liquid from Pulled Poached Chicken, recipe follows

8 soft brioche or other rolls, split


1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons agave or honey, or 2 teaspoons sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups shredded cabbage or slaw salad mix

1 small Honeycrisp or Fugi apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater or finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pulled Poached Chicken:

One 4-pound whole chicken

2 bay leaves

2 carrots, quartered

2 ribs celery, quartered

1 lemon, sliced

1 large onion, quartered with root end attached

A few black peppercorns

A few stems fresh rosemary

A few stems fresh thyme



  1. For the BBQ sauce: Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, maple syrup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a small pot. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the apricot preserves, bourbon and orange zest until well combined. Season with coarsely ground black pepper.
  2. For the sandwiches: Cover the sweet potatoes with water in a small pot and season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, Pulled Poached Chicken and poaching liquid (or store-bought chicken stock), then pour the BBQ sauce over top. Simmer until the chicken is heated through.
  4. For the slaw: Combine the vegetable oil, vinegar, agave and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the cabbage and apples and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve: Pile the BBQ chicken on the rolls and top with the apple slaw.

Pulled Poached Chicken:

  1. Place the chicken in a pot and add the bay leaves, carrots, celery, lemons, onions, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and some salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and poach the chicken for 1 hour. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and separate the meat into bite-size pieces. Strain the stock and reserve.

Cook’s Note

If you are not serving the BBQ chicken immediately, cool and then store in the refrigerator. Reheat over medium heat. Store the slaw in the refrigerator until ready to serve.