Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Slow down and stop to smell the BBQ chicken cooking
35 Ratings
100% would make again
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe
Photo: Michelle Sun/Tasting Table

BBQ chicken is one of the most underrated dishes when it comes to the world of barbecue. That is, until now. We love the way these chicken thighs tenderize as they simmer in the slow cooker. The chicken soaks up aromatic spices like cumin and smoked paprika, while Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar add tang to cut through the richness.

Serve the pieces whole if you like, but we recommend roughly shredding and serving over slices of soft sandwich bread with traditional sides like coleslaw, potato salad and, of course, extra hot sauce for that true barbecue heat.

Check out more of our favorite chicken recipes.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes


¼ cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika

½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1 cup ketchup

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons chicken stock

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon hot sauce

6 (3½ pounds) boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Bread (such as potato rolls), for serving

Traditional BBQ side, for serving


1. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, black pepper, salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and white pepper. Reserve half of the mixture and dump the other half in the base of a slow cooker.

2. To the slow cooker, add in the ketchup, vinegar, stock, and Worcestershire and hot sauces, and whisk until the dry and wet ingredients form a thick paste. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat completely with the paste. Evenly sprinkle the reserved spice mixture over the chicken, cover with the lid and turn on the slow cooker either to high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

3. Turn off the slow cooker and, using two forks, shred the chicken. Serve on potato rolls or on slices of white bread alongside traditional barbecue sides.

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