Oh crockpot, my crockpot…
I think I’ve finally figured you out.
My crockpot has been a fairly consistent source of frustration in my life, with every chicken-less dish I’ve made in there turning out great and every chicken-full dish turning out dry, dry, dry, dry. But I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of it, and I’m a little embarrassed it took me this long to figure out.
See, whenever I cook chicken any other way (in the oven, on the stovetop, or poached in boiling liquid), I completely 100% disregard whatever cook time is in the recipe. Bake my chicken breasts 45 minutes? No thanks, I like food I’m capable of chewing. So instead of adhering to cook times, I usually get out my meat thermometer and start checking temperatures about halfway through the suggested cook time. Once that chicken hits 165, away it goes from the heat, and everyone is a happy, happy camper.
Why didn’t it ever occur to me to do this in the crockpot?
Well, for starters, because crockpots are supposed to be ultra-low-maintenance appliances that you can leave alone for hours and hours. What’s the benefit of a crockpot if you can’t load it up in the morning and come home to a delicious dinner at night?
Unfortunately, I don’t have the perfect answer to that question. I think maybe it just takes lots more practice and getting to know your specific crockpot. Mine is fairly new (about 3 years old), and I think it just gets much, much hotter than older crockpots.
For example, this recipe called for 6-8 hours in the crockpot on the low setting, and I know it would’ve turned out bone-dry in my crockpot. But yours might be different! I’ve included the original instructions and my changes (which resulted in delicious, moist, tangy BBQ chicken goodness) below.
Godspeed, crockpotters of America!
CROCKPOT BBQ CHICKEN TACOS WITH BLUE CHEESE SLAW (slightly adapted from Prevention RD)
Ingredients for the tacos:
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz beer
1 cup BBQ sauce
12 small corn tortillas
Ingredients for the blue cheese slaw:
2 and 1/2 cups cole slaw mix
2/3 cups plain Greek yogurt (or you can sub with mayonnaise in full or in part – I just can’t do mayo)
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 handful parsley, chopped
1. Combine chicken, beer, and BBQ sauce in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken in the crock pot with 2 forks. [Note: I cut the recipe in half and my chicken was perfectly cooked after 1 and 1/2 hours on HIGH.]
2. In large bowl, combine Greek yogurt and/or mayo, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and blue cheese, mixing well. Add cole slaw and parsley and mix well. Refrigerate several hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.
3. To serve, fill tortillas with chicken and top with about slaw. Serve immediately.
These were awesome, and my blue-cheese-loving husband particularly enjoyed them (although part of that might’ve been the fact that I wasn’t trying to feed him tofu or quinoa for once). Definitely let the cole slaw mix sit for awhile — not only does it help the flavors develop, it also softens the veggies so they’re more pliable and cole slaw-like.