Spicy Pulled Chicken on Homemade Cheddar Buns

I just spend a good part of the morning on the phone with the auto repair shop.
A frustrating conversation indeed. They usually are right?
He spoke in circles, never getting to the point, just story after story; negotiation after negotiation. I love a good negotiation; I worked in car sales after all, but this, it was just too much, even for me.
I have no idea what happened. All I know is that I just spent a lot of money.
And I don’t feel good about it.
Now enough of my lamenting…
On to the stuff that really matters.
Spicy. Pulled. Chicken. on homemade slider buns. OH. MY. GOSH. So freakin’ good.
It seems like I’m always making chicken the same old way, and seeing as though we eat quite a bit of chicken, a new chicken dish is always welcome. And one that is simple, and tastes great is always a bonus. The quasi barbecue sauce takes no time at all to make; stick in your chicken and let it simmer for a while. What you will be left with is super tender chicken that will just fall apart.  I foresee this chicken making an appearance at a backyard barbecue this summer, because it can be made ahead of time then warmed prior to serving. Although I didn’t try it, I imagine this could also be made in a crockpot. And if I had one, I probably would have used it.
I saw these homemade buns on Shawnda’s blog a while back, and ever since than I’ve been looking for excuses to make them because they were so good! And I think this spicy pulled chicken is the perfect excuse. They are soft, cheesy, easy to make,  and freeze extremely well.
I also made a quick little slaw using some red cabbage, greek yogurt, spices, and a hint of fresh lime juice. It was the perfect fresh, crunchy, and cooling topping that this sandwich needed.
Make it. You’ll love it!

Spicy Pulled Chicken
Makes about 8 servings


For the Chicken:
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon oil (such as olive oil or canola)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped (leave seeds in for more heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups tomato puree (I used passata- strained tomatoes)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 cup hot sauce (I used frank’s)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne peper
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the Slaw:
about 2 cups Red or white cabbage sliced very thin, or used pre-cut
about 3  rounded tablespoons plain greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
juice of half a lime, about 1 tablespoon

Homemade Cheddar Buns– I omitted the jalepenos, but you can certainly leave them in, and reduced the sugar to 2 tablespoons.


For the chicken:

1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and jalepenos and cook until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the tomato puree, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, cayenne, chilli powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until mixture has thickened slightly. Add in the chicken thighs, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, or until chicken is completely cooked and tender.

2. Remove from heat. The chicken should be very tender, and able to be pulled apart with the back of a wooden spoon. Using 2 forks, inside the pot, pull the chicken apart. This is easy and won’t take long because it is very tender. Allow the chicken to sit in the sauce for a while to absorb all the flavour, about 1/2 hour or longer. Reheat before serving.

For the slaw:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the greek yogurt, chilli powder, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Add in the shredded cabbage and toss to coat just prior to serving. Serve over the pulled chicken.

Jessica’s Notes:

  • Although I used homemade buns for this, feel free to use any bun you wish.
  • For the chicken, feel free to adjust the spice level to your taste. You can reduce or increase the hot sauce, jalepenos, and cayenne.
  • You can use chicken breast instead if you wish, although I think chicken thighs have more flavour and are more tender.
  • If you make this with a slow cooker come back and let me know how it turns out! :)
  • This recipe is easily halved or doubled.
Good luck and Enjoy!!

Buns adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride.

  • reem

    Hi, i tried the recipe and it is amazing…me and my friends were so happy with the sandwich…love it. Thank you

  • marie @ little kitchie

    I made this chicken in the crockpot and it was so good!!! I posted about it today on my blog! GREAT recipe, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Antonio Quaresma

    Hi! I found Frank’s Hot Sauce in Lisbon!!! : )

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks


  • Jessica Sanders

    I have the chicken simmering away on my stove as I type this…the whole house smells amazing! I made it as-written except for the smoked paprika. I made my favorite cole slaw recipe (very similar to yours but I use a little bit of mayo with the yogurt), sliced some pickles and got some fluffy buns to toast and I seriously cannot WAIT for dinner! Thanks for such a great recipe – I love how the sauce is perfectly spicy and not too sweet (yep, I taste tested the chicken already).

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Sounds like your going to have an awesome dinner! Hope you enjoy!! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment :)

  • Antonio Quaresma

    Hi! I tried this recipe and resulted very very very hot. Did I missed something in translation?The only ingredient that I didn’t find here in Potugal was Frank’s Hot Sauce. I used anothe brand, I don’t know…

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Antonio,

      I imagine that you used something like a piri piri hot sauce or Tabasco sauce which is much spicier and more potent than Frank’s. That is why it was so spicy, in the future I would suggest using much less of any other type of hot sauce. That amount of Frank’s gives it a little kick, but not so spicy it’s inedible. Sorry that it was too spicy for you :(

      • Antonio Quaresma

        Hi. The smell, as I was adding the ingredients, was aawesome. But suddendly, something went wrong and I guess it was the substitute of Frank’s hot sauce. No harm done (I was born in Angola, I like spiced and even hot stuff) and for sure, I will try again. Even being so hot, I managed to eat. The contrast with sweet and cold red cabbage was very good. : )

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Forgot to mention, if you still have it you could add a bit of sweetness to it ( such as brown sugar) to dial down the heat.