I haven’t made this recipe in a while, and I really don’t know why.
This Spicy Shredded BBQ Chicken is great. And it’s a Freezer Crock Pot meal, so you store them in the freezer, and then on the day you want to eat it, you just pull the bag out of the freezer and dump it into the crock pot.
A bit of work to shred it, but after that, you’re done!
And there’s leftovers, too. Can’t beat that!
This recipe makes two bags, but you easily can double or triple it and fill up your freezer.
But remember, it IS spicy. If you’re looking for a more mild version, go easy on the chili powder and consider using fewer green chilies per bag (the recipe calls for 2 oz) or splitting the 4 oz can between 4 bags instead of 2.
Here’s what I love about this (besides the ease of cooking and the leftovers): you just dump all the ingredients in a bag.
The prep is literally this: dump everything in the bag.
Make sure you write your instructions on your freezer bags first, before you fill them.
Then prop up the bags on the counter by folding the edges over themselves to keep it open.
Okay, okay…. there is ONE step before the dumping.
You do have to dice up the onions and garlic.
I use a garlic press and squeeze those babies right in the bag.
Chicken in the bottom and everything else piled in on top. You may have to cut one chicken thigh in half if you have an uneven amount in your package.
And I guess you could – theoretically – measure out everything, but when it comes to the tomato sauce and chilies, I just go ahead and dump or scoop what looks like half the can into each bag. It’s close enough.
After that, the easiest way to mix it up is to massage the bag gently with your fingers for a minute.
Then you’ll want to squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag.
Lay each bag flat in the freezer on a tray or large box or anything that will allow it to freeze flat. Smooth flat any lumpy sections that might be sticking up.
Check after a couple of hours. Once frozen solid, the bags can be stacked or arranged on a shelf in an upright position.
When you take the bag out of the freezer, run it under the cold water in the sink for one minute to break up any large chunks – making sure the bag is still sealed and no water gets inside.
Then dump it in the crock pot. Cover and cook.
You can flip the chicken over a few times and stir it, if you like.
Or you can just leave it and let it cook. It doesn’t need stirring. But I compulsively check on crock pot stuff if I’m home when it’s cooking. Especially if it smells good. ;)
Once it’s cooked, remove the chicken to a bowl or plate and shred it with two forks.
As you work, add the shredded chicken back to the pot.
It should shred easily, and it’s best to have it shredded finely so that the sauce can cling to all the tiny moist pieces, but even if you’re in a super hurry, you can still mush it up pretty quickly.
Doesn’t that look good? And it’s not even mixed in yet!
Stir the shredded chicken back into the sauce and set the crock pot to the “stay warm” setting until you’re ready to serve it.
And there are so many ways to serve it. I sometimes serve it by itself with rice on the side, or you could put it on the rice. You can put it on a salad, in a taco, on some nachos, or – like in the photo at the top of the page – in a hamburger bun.
If you put it in a bun, you’ll want to toast the inside of the bun to help hold in all the juicy goodness. Maybe even top it with a little cole slaw.
From one bag, we made a dinner of sloppy joes (in the hamburger bun I mentioned), and then the next day, I constructed some taquitos with the leftovers, pictured below. I put a little chicken and a little cheese in a 6-inch tortilla, rolled up 15 of them and put them in a 13-by-9-inch dish with some nonstick spray. Then I baked them at 375°F for about 20 minutes and we dunked them in a little dish of sour cream to eat. My kids devoured them.
(Oh… and I turned on the broiler for a minute and walked away. Don’t do that. Don’t ever walk away from an active broiler… just sayin’)
Here’s the recipe:
Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal
2 to 3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 sweet onion, diced
3 to 4 garlic gloves, diced or pressed
8 oz. can tomato sauce
4 oz. can diced green chilies, drained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dry powdered mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Label two gallon-sized freezer plastic bags with the instructions: Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken. Cook on low 5-6 hours (or high 3-4 hours). Remove chicken, shred, return to sauce, stir, serve.
Evenly distribute all of the ingredients between both bags; for example half the chicken (even if you have to cut one thigh in half), 4 oz. of tomato sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar, et cetera, in each.
Gently massage the bag to mix the ingredients and press out as much air as you can before sealing. Lay the bags flat in the freezer, on a box or tray, and allow to freeze solid. Then you can stack them or store them upright until ready to use.
When ready to eat, dump the contents of the bag into a crock pot. You can run the closed plastic bag under cool water in the sink for a few minutes to make it easier to break it up. Put the lid on the crock pot and cook for 5 to 6 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high.
Remove the chicken to a plate or bowl and shred it with two forks. Allow it to cool first, if you need to. Return the shredded chicken to the crock pot and stir well. Serve or put on the “keep warm” setting until ready to eat.
Serving suggestions: over rice, inside hamburger buns, inside tacos or burritos, on a salad, or all by itself.
This recipe makes two bags/dinners. Each bag serves 6 to 8 people.
To print the PDF version of the recipe, click here:
Shredded Spicy BBQ Chicken Crock Pot Freezer Meal