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Barbecue Your Chicken -- In the Slow Cooker

It's too hot to do much outside, including standing around a hot grill waiting for your chicken to cook. Instead, why not turn on the slow cooker and leave your chicken inside to melt into tender, moist, delicious "barbecue" without all the heat and the fuss (and the bugs)? This recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which stand the heat and slow cooking time far better than chicken breasts. Rather than dousing the chicken with barbecue sauce during the cooking process, add the sauce later, after the chicken has cooked. You can serve one or two sauces on the side, letting your family and/or guests add the amount of sauce and level of heat they prefer. Cooking the chicken without the barbecue sauce also allows you to use the leftover chicken for other dishes--like chicken pot pie later in the week. Don't get the idea, though, that the chicken will be bland without the sauce. The thighs, even without the traditional grill and barbecue sauce, are great--savory, subtly spiced, and with a bit of smoke flavor.

Slow Cooked "Barbecued" Chicken Thighs

Slow Cooked "Barbecued" Chicken Thighs -- Serves 8+

2 1/2 - 3 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs

3-4 tablespoons of minced dried onions

3-4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper

2 teaspoons of dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of reduced sodium chicken broth (or 1 teaspoon of reduced sodium "Better Than Bullion"

dissolved in 1 cup of water)

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons of liquid smoke

Coat the inside of a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and set it on high. Trim off any large pieces of fat from the chicken and arrange the thighs in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle on the minced dried onions, brown sugar, garlic powder, lemon pepper, dried parsley flakes, and salt. Pour in the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar and add the liquid smoke. Cover the slow cooker and cook the chicken on high for 4-6 hours or until fall-apart tender. Shred the chicken with two forks or tongs and let it sit in the juices in the slow cooker for at least 5 minutes. Serve the chicken on buns, rice, mashed potatoes, grits, polenta, or whatever you'd like, with or without barbecue sauce.

Slow Cooked "Barbecued" Chicken Thighs

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