Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

Crockpot barbeque chicken

The Spruce

  • Total: 8 hrs 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 8 hrs
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
770 Calories
36g Fat
36g Carbs
71g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 770
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 46%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 221mg 74%
Sodium 1115mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 71g
Calcium 71mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Barbecue chicken makes a wholesome and flavorful meal. All you need for this slow cooker recipe is chicken parts, onions, and a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. It might not be true smoky barbecue from a pit, but the flavor is there, and you can always enhance it using liquid smoke or a smoke-flavored grill seasoning.

Serve this simple crockpot chicken with traditional barbecue fixings like cornbread, corn on the cob, pasta salad, potatoes, and slaw. Used it as a sandwich filling, pulling the meat from the bone and chopping the pieces, adding fresh lettuce and a touch of mayo, or serve it on top of steamed rice with a side salad.

Ingredients

  • For the Barbecue Chicken
  • 3 to 4 pounds chicken pieces
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups barbecue sauce (bottled or homemade)
  • For the Homemade Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup vinegar of choice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for barbeque chicken
    The Spruce 
  2. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels.

    Pat chicken dry
    The Spruce
  3. Season them with salt and pepper and place them in the bottom of a slow cooker.

    Season them with salt and pepper
    The Spruce
  4. Add the onions and barbecue sauce.

    Cover slow cooker
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  5. Cover and cook on LOW for about 6 to 8 hours, or until the chicken is tender but not falling apart.

  6. If you want to check for doneness, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest pieces (not touching bone). The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F.

    Cook with thermometer
    The Spruce
  7. Serve with French fries and coleslaw for a traditional barbecue meal, or with rice and veggies.

  8. Enjoy!

Make Your Own Barbecue Sauce

If you have the time or the inclination to make your own barbecue sauce instead of using bottled sauce, this easy recipe is just the ticket.

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for bbq sauce
    The Spruce
  2. In a saucepan, combine ketchup, vinegar of choice, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, dry mustard, paprika, and pepper. Stir well until completely mixed.

    Ingredients
    The Spruce
  3. Heat over medium heat until the mixture starts to simmer around the edges, stirring often.

    Combine in a bowl
    The Spruce
  4. Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before using it in this crockpot barbecue chicken recipe.

Sauce Variations

Follow these suggestions for variations on the BBQ sauce flavor

  • Sweet Kick: Use molasses in place of sugar and add hot sauce to taste.
  • Spirited Sauce: Double the ingredients of the basic barbecue sauce recipe and add 1 cup beer, 1/2 cup Jack Daniel's whiskey, or 1 cup Jim Beam bourbon.
  • Fruity BBQ: Add 1 large peeled and puréed mango, and 1 clove of peeled and minced garlic.
  • Thai Style: Mix 1/4 cup of honey, 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and chopped fresh mint.

Pork Variation

Use pork shoulder to make this recipe. Simply pat dry the meat, add salt and pepper, and follow the rest of the recipe to the letter.

One hour before the cooking time is over pull the pork apart with the help of 2 forks. Add a mixture of 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of chicken broth, and 1/4 cup of additional BBQ sauce and mix, leaving to cook on LOW for the remaining hour.

Serve this pulled pork on buns, with a side of sour cream potato salad, and a refreshing avocado and romaine salad.