I. Love. BBQ pulled pork. Now that it’s starting to really warm up in Calgary and it kinda, almost feels like summer (I don’t want to jinx it) I’ve been craving it like crazy. It’s one of those foods I always go for when eating out. When I have bad pulled pork, it crushes my soul a little bit. When I have really great pulled pork, it’s a life changing moment. Every time. I think this means I need to get out more…
Now, though BBQ pulled pork is actually quite reasonable to make yourself, the fact that it’s pork usually results in a reasonably high fat content when you crunch your macro numbers. Normally this would be fine, but since I’m on a cut to prepare for my meet in May I’ve cut right back on my fat intake. I find my body responds and performs best on high protein, high-ish (but always dense and complex) carbs, and very low fat. What’s a girl to do?
In the hopes of taming this BBQ craving and still keeping the fat in check, I decided to experiment with making BBQ pulled chicken thighs. The stringy texture of chicken, when cooked properly, will allow it to still mimic the same ‘pulled’ texture you expect from pork. I suggest using chicken thighs over breasts, as there is a bit more fat content in dem thighs, which prevents the meat from drying out. Most grocery stores sell skinless, boneless chicken thighs in their deli section, which is what I used.
- 3 – 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (mine were 1.56 kgs)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 (or more. Always more) cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cups barbecue sauce. I used the glorious Smoky BBQ sauce by Simply Natural
- Heat the oven to 325°F
- In a large pot with lid, heat olive oil over medium heat
- Add onion and garlic, cook until onion is soft. Add paprika, and stir.
- Add chicken one piece at a time, mixing well. Make sure each piece of chicken is well coated with the onion/garlic/paprika mixture.
- Pour in the BBQ sauce, and add a few generous grinds of black pepper. Stir, then bring to a simmer.
- Turn off the heat. Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Bake, covered, for 90 minutes. The chicken should be extremely tender.
- Remove from oven and use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a bowl. Use two forks to shred the chicken finely.
- While you’re shredding the chicken, put the remaining sauce/ juices back on the stove over medium-high heat, uncovered. Reduce the liquid to about half it’s volume, and pour over the chicken to serve.
I paired this with some mixed greens and diced red peppers (not included in nutritional breakdown). Though this is a great protein block that can go with greens, coleslaw, buns, you name it!
Let me know what you think!