Here is my recipe for making simple, all-purpose BBQ pulled chicken right on your stove top!
The sauce has no refined sugars, and is made from just seven pantry staples. The whole batch comes together in under 45 minutes, so you can satisfy your honey BBQ pulled chicken cravings without waiting hours for a slow cooker or resorting to a sugary, processed, store-bought sauce.
Make a sandwich out of it, roll it in a wrap, stuff it in a quesadilla, toss it on a salad, use as a killer topping for mac n’ cheese, or make these mouth-watering BBQ Chicken Pizza Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. The possibilities are endless, so you may want to double the batch!
Skillet Honey BBQ Pulled Chicken from Scratch
Yields about 2 cups of pulled chicken*
- 1/2 pound (8oz) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (and/or thighs)
- Salt & pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
- 1 1/2 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1 1/2 Tbs. honey
- 1 1/2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4-1/3 cup chicken broth or water
Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and sear for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, whisk together the tomato paste, honey, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and onion powders in a small bowl.
Turn the heat to medium low, and carefully pour the sauce mixture over the chicken. Stir for a minute, coating the chicken. Carefully pour in a 1/4 cup of chicken broth or water and give the chicken one more stir.
Place a lid over the skillet and adjust the temperature so that the sauce is at a bare simmer. You don’t want it to simmer vigorously or boil, but you want the chicken to cook!
Cook for about twelve minutes, keeping an eye on the pan. Remove the lid and check the chicken. If you can tell it has begun to release some of its juices, you can proceed to the next step. If not, replace the lid and cook for another five minutes or so. It will depend on the thickness of your chicken.
Using two forks, shred the chicken into large chunks. If the sauce looks as though it has reduced too much, add a splash of chicken broth or water. Stir. Replace the lid and cook an additional five minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and once again using two forks, shred the chicken into small pieces. It should be tender enough so that this is easy to do. Stir to coat the chicken in the sauce. Again use your judgement, if you think you need to add another splash of broth or water, do so.
Put the lid back on, and return the skillet to the heat. Cook just until everything is heated through. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
*This recipe makes a modest amount. It is easily doubled. Or if you only need a little bit of chicken for adding to another dish, you can use just half the ingredients indicated. If time is no issue, this recipe works in a slow cooker. Just toss the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. If you choose to go this route, you can even triple or quadruple the recipe!
*I am not a fan of spicy things. If you like your BBQ sauce to have some kick, feel free to add a dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce.
A few step-by-step photos:
Sear the chicken…
Mix together your sauce ingredients…
Pour over chicken…
Coat the chicken…
Add broth or water and bring to a bare simmer…
Cover the skillet and allow to simmer…
…shred the chicken and eat!