Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Slow Cooker Sriracha & Honey BBQ Chicken

I remember the first time I laid eyes upon Sriracha Sauce, a spicy garlic chili sauce sent straight from heaven.  It was almost a decade ago, and I noticed bottles of it sitting on every table at the Dekalb Farmer's Market's cafeteria. Feeling adventurous, I squeezed a little bit onto some roasted eggplant I was enjoying.  I fell immediately in love.  It's spicy and garlicky, and adds the perfect amount of heat to pretty much any entree or side dish you can think of.  So when I saw a recipe for Slow-Cooker Honey Sriracha Barbecue Chicken from Foodie with Family, I made it immediately.  I altered the recipe just a tad, and I changed the way it was served in order to make it healthier and lighter.  The result?  A sweet and spicy barbecue that is easily made in your slow cooker.  Made with Sriracha AND easy to make? Score!

Slow Cooker Sriracha & Honey 
BBQ Chicken
Adapted from Foodie with Family
Serves 4-6

1 1/2  lbs Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Ketchup (preferably with no HFCS*)
1/3 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion OR 2 tsp Onion Powder
3 Garlic Cloves OR 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1-3 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce, depending on how spicy you like it (I do 3)
Outer Lettuce Leaves (or Tortilla Wraps)
1 Cucumber, diced
1 Cup of Carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/2 Cup Cilantro leaves, chopped


1.  If using raw onion and garlic:  In a blender/food processor (or in a medium bowl if you have an immersion blender), combine all the ingredients except the chicken.  Puree until sauce is smooth. Pour into the slow cooker.
If using garlic powder and onion powder:  In a slow cooker, combine all the ingredients except the chicken. Stir until mixed.  

2.  Add the chicken, and then turn to coat the chicken in the sauce.  Cover and cook on low. Stir every hour or so, so that it does not burn (see notes below if you can't do that step).  Cook for 6 hours.

3.  Using 2 forks, shred the chicken right in the slow cooker, and stir the sauce and chicken together.  If the sauce is runnier than you like it, uncover the slow cooker and turn the heat to high, and let the extra liquid cook off. Make sure to stir regularly.

4.  Serve the BBQ chicken on lettuce leaves (or tortilla wraps).  Top with cucumber, carrots, and cilantro.  Make sure to have paper towels on hand; it's messy! :)

Serving Size:  1/6th of Chicken, Cucumber, & Carrots put into 2 Lettuce Wraps
Calories: 315
Fat: 4
Carbs: 34
Protein: 36


* I urge you to use a ketchup that does not contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  I use Hunt's, but there are some other types out there.  Alternatively, you can make your own ketchup, if you have the time.

* If you are not going to be around to stir every hour, then I recommend adding half a cup of chicken broth during Step 1. Then when the time is up, let it cook a little longer uncovered (or transfer to the stove and reduce the sauce there).  You could also add chicken broth if you plan to be away for longer than 6 hours.  Please note that I haven't tried cooking it longer or not stirring, so I can't promise perfect results.  If you do try it, I'd love for you to report back in the comments and let me know how it worked!

* If you don't stir every hour or so, or if you let it cook for more than 6 hours, you run the risk of the sauce burning, if you don't follow my above tip of adding some chicken broth.

* To be honest, cutting the carrots into matchsticks was a pain. Next time I'm going to save time and buy the pre-cut carrots at the grocery store.  

* Alternatively, you could serve this on a toasted bun, in a more traditional BBQ way.  The original recipe was served on a toasted bun with a fried egg on top. Yum!

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