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Classic Barbecue-Marinated Pulled Chicken

Entree, Recipes

Todd Schafer recommends marinades as a great way to incorporate additional flavor and moisture. He adds that a quick spice rub will seal everything in and provide texture as it dries. “You can put your favorite barbecue sauce in afterward ... You can have it as a sandwich, as a taco, you can put it inside of a soup,” he says. “What’s nice about poultry is that [it], of course, absorbs everything, especially a marinade that has a saltier base to it.”

Classic Barbecue-Marinated Pulled Chicken
| Makes 8 servings
Recipe adapted from a recipe courtesy of Crooked River BBQ + Beer  

Gas grill
Hardwood chips for grill
Smoker box or foil tray 
Meat thermometer

1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4–6 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast and thighs 
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons ground mustard
1/4 cup black pepper
1/3 cup chili powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup salt
1 teaspoon cayenne 
2 tablespoons cumin

Combine the liquid ingredients in a large bowl or zip-top bag and mix thoroughly. Submerge chicken and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight. Soak 5 cups hardwood chips in water at least 1 hour. Remove chicken from marinade and discard liquid. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine dry ingredients and generously coat the chicken. Light just one grill burner to medium and place soaked wood chips directly over the heat source, either in a smoker box or foil tray. Place chicken, skin side up, onto grill, avoiding direct heat. Cover and cook at 290 F, checking infrequently until internal temperature is at least 165 F and meat begins to separate from the bone (60 to 90 minutes). Cool until chicken can be easily handled and shred with two forks or your fingers. Serve with your favorite sauce on a bun, use it to fill tacos or just enjoy plain.