Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hitting the Sauce

For those of you who follow my other blog, Season To Taste, I recently wrote about one of my favorite, simple, meals: pulled pork. Well, tonight when I looked into my refrigerator and saw two giant chicken breasts and half of a package of whole wheat hamburger rolls staring back at me, I decided that some "pulled chicken" was in order! I also had a few bottles of barbeque sauce that I needed to test out for Country Bob's who is doing some test marketing, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to pull some double-duty. Although this particular sauce seems to be better suited to beef, the slightly tangy but sweet taste would make a nice addition to my chicken as well.

Pulled pork couldn't be easier, it does take some time to cook (albeit unattended cooking, but some pre-planning is definitely necessary). Therein lies the beauty of "pulled chicken"... the entire dish is ready in under 30 minutes! By using boneless, skinless breasts, the cooking time is reduced significantly, and then all you need to do is shred it and add sauce. Tonight, I opted to bake the chicken in a 350 degree oven, because I already had it on for a pie I was baking. It took only about 30 minutes for the chicken to bake through, and it retained its juiciness. On other occasions I've opted to broil the chicken, which cuts the time down even more. However, with broiling (and especially grilling), the close proximity to very high heat will form a "crust" on the chicken, making part of it harder to shred. When it is baked more slowly, it stays "softer" which is a better consistency for the dish.

Once cooked, I used two forks to shred the meat apart, then added the sauce. For barbeque sandwiches, I prefer slightly thicker, sweet sauces, since you tend to use a decent amount in the dish. Sauces which are overly tangy or have too much of a "kick" will overpower the sandwich. This type of barbeque sauce is better for brushing on a whole piece of chicken, pork, or beef, since you will not need as much of it.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Serves 4
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half (about 1.5 lbs)
1 cup barbeque sauce
4 soft hamburger rolls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake chicken breasts for approximately 30 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink.
Remove from oven, and using two forks, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Place in a bowl, add the barbeque sauce, and stir to combine.
Serve on hamburger rolls.

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