Tasty Tailgating: Virginia Willis’ Slow-Cooked Barbecue Pulled Chicken and Slaw

Virginia Willis (AB ’88), revered chef and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, has quite a treat for us on this week’s edition of Tasty Tailgating. Read on to learn how to make her Slow-Cooked Barbecue Pulled Chicken and Sassy Slaw!

My slow-cooked barbecue pulled chicken and sassy slaw are the perfect combination for fall tailgating. The tender, juicy chicken can be cooked ahead in the oven or slow cooker and simply held in a insulated container or even reheated in a pot on a portable stovetop. My homemade Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce is made of wholesome ingredients and not filled with sugars and syrups — or things you can’t pronounce! The slaw is packed with fresh vegetables and dressed with an apple-cider vinaigrette  so there’s no food safety worries about a mayonnaise-based dressing. These awesome recipes are both good and good for you — keeping you at your best as you cheer for the red and black! Go Dawgs! 

Chef Virginia Willis’ Slow-Cooked Barbecue Pulled Chicken

Serves 8

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 pounds)
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows), for accompaniment

Slow cooker method: Combine the tomatoes, vinegar, honey, paprika, soy sauce, mustard, and red pepper flakes in the insert of a medium slow cooker. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the lid and cook on low until the chicken is falling apart, about 5 hours. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

Oven method: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the tomatoes, vinegar, honey, paprika, soy sauce, mustard, and red pepper flakes in a medium Dutch oven. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with the lid and transfer to the oven. Cook until the chicken is falling apart, 1½ to 2 hours. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Pulled Chicken

Calories 167 Fat 3 g Carbs 9 g Fiber .7 g Protein 25 g

Chef Virginia Willis’ Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • ½ sweet onion, very finely chopped
  • 1¼ cups reduced-sodium ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and simmer until soft and melted, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to simmer, and cook until flavors have smoothed and mellowed, about 10 minutes.Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for months.

Barbecue Sauce (per tablespoon)

Calories 25 Fat .2 g Carbs 6 g Fiber .1 g Protein .2 g

Chef Virginia Willis’ Sassy Slaw

Makes 4 cups to serve 6

I suggest making the dressing first, then setting it aside so you can chop your vegetables.

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ large green cabbage 
(about 1 pound), cored and finely shredded (about 3 cups)
  • ¼ large red cabbage
 (about 1 pound), cored and finely shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly cut on the diagonal
  • 1 green onion, trimmed and chopped
  • ½ jalapeño chile, cored, seeded, and chopped

Reprinted with permission from Lighten Up, Y’all by Virginia Willis ©
2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House,
Inc. Photography © 2015 by Angie Mosier. For more information please
visit www.virginiawillis.com

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