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Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Pink Peppercorn Pickled Red Onions

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches. Braised in apples, onions and spices to form its own BBQ sauce, then served with freshly pickled, peppery red onions. A great recipe for game days, casual parties and any time you need to feed the crowd.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches close up photo on white plate

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches.

Spouse brought home a 7 pound stewing hen just because they were on sale last week. She then challenged me to make something edible of it.

I’m not a fan of these larger tougher fowls. But I have to say, this tweaking of my pulled pork recipe was a delicious and very economical dinner.

We served it over a couple of days to family and friends and they all loved it.

Pickled red onion in mason jar for Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Pink Peppercorn Pickled Red Onions.

The Pink Peppercorn Pickled Red Onions were delicious on this sandwich too. This is a quick pickling method that is meant to be used within a week or two of preparation.

They can be traditionally pickled in sealed and sterilized jars using the manufacturer recommended method to last much longer. It is a great condiment for sausages, hot dogs, hamburgers and even cold baked ham. 

The pulled chicken sandwiches were made on toasted artisan bread from our neighbourhood Georgestown Bakery. Most won’t have access to that but use any good quality bread you like.

Just get the best you can buy or make, wherever you are; this great sandwich deserves great bread.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches wide shot of full plate

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

2019 UPDATE: We are still making these delicious sandwiches on occasion, but now most often make them from chicken thighs or turkey thighs. This makes them particularly economical, as poultry thighs are often on sale and can be frozen until needed.

The freezing isn’t a problem when braising is the method of cooking. You may find that smaller chicken thighs will cook to tender faster. Just let “falling off the bone tender” as your guide to when they are fully cooked.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with picked red onion image collage with title text for Pinterest

 

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Originally published October 2011.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches close up photo on white plate
Yield: 12 or more servings.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Pink Peppercorn Pickled Red Onions

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches. Braised in apples, onions and spices to form its own BBQ sauce, then served with freshly pickled peppery red onions. A great recipe for game days, casual parties and any time you need to feed the crowd.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE PINK PEPPERCORN PICKLED RED ONIONS
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp pink peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns (optional, use only if you love strong peppery flavuor, the pink ones are mild enough to be eaten whole for most people)
  • FOR THE THE APPLE BRAISED PULLED CHICKEN
  • 6 to 7 pound stewing hen
  • ½ tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry thyme
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 ½ tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 medium sized onion chopped
  • 5-6 medium sized firm apples peeled and chunked
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 or more tablespoons hot sauce (adjust to taste)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika

Instructions

TO PREPARE THE PINK PEPPERCORN PICKLED RED ONIONS

Layer the sliced onions alternately with a sprinkle of pink peppercorns (and black peppercorns) in a jar.

Stuff as many onions in the jar as you can.

Bring the other ingredients just to just to boiling then pour over the onions and peppercorns.

Let cool for 30 minutes.

Carefully put the lid on and let sit for at least 24 hours. 

TO PREPARE THE APPLE BRAISED PULLED CHICKEN

Remove all the skin from a 6 to 7 pound stewing hen and cut it into 8 pieces; 2 wings, two thighs, two breast halves, and two drumsticks.

Combine the ginger, cumin, pepper, thyme, garlic powder, oregano and kosher salt.

Rub this herb and spice mix all over the surface of the chicken pieces. (You can do this step the day before and let the chicken marinate in the spices overnight if you like to really infuse the flavour into the chicken.)

Brown the chicken pieces in a little oil in a cast iron skillet for just a few minutes on each side. They do not need to be fully cooked in this browning process.

Transfer the browned chicken pieces to a covered roasting pan.

To the roasting pan, along with the browned chicken pieces, add the onions and apples.

Meanwhile mix together in a medium size bowl, the brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, pepper, apple juice, ginger, five spice powder and smoked paprika.

Pour all over the chicken, apples and onions in the roasting pan.

Cover with aluminum foil then the lid of the roasting pan.

Roast in a 300 degree oven for several hours ( approximately 3) until the meat is very tender and falling off the bones.

Remove the braising liquid to a saucepan, skim all the excess fat and reduce the liquid until it slightly thickens.

At this point, puree the sauce with an immersion blender or in a food processor to smooth it out and incorporate the cooked onions and apples.

Remove the chicken from the bones and pull it into small pieces.

Pour the sauce back over the shredded chicken and toss well to coat the chicken pieces in the sauce.

Serve on toasted bread with the picked onions.

Notes

2019 UPDATE: We are still making these delicious pulled chicken sandwiches on occasion, but now most often make them from chicken thighs or turkey thighs. This makes them particularly economical, as poultry thighs are often on sale and can be frozen until needed.

The freezing isn't a problem when braising is the method of cooking. You may find that smaller chicken thighs will cook to tender faster. Just let "falling off the bone tender" as your guide to when they are fully cooked.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1 serving

Amount Per Serving Calories 220Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 8mgSodium 1610mgCarbohydrates 50gFiber 5gSugar 39gProtein 4g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Dee Miller

Thursday 4th of July 2019

How small do you cut up the apples? Do they get incorporated into the sauce, blended with the liquid or are they chunky in the pulled chicken? And do you use an apple that keeps its' shape or one that softens and gets mushy,, like applesauce? Thanks for the great idea of adding apples and onions to a pulled meat recipe. Can't wait to try it.

Allie Murray

Tuesday 8th of July 2014

Could this recipe be done with a whole cut-up bone-in chicken? How would I adjust the cooking time?

Barry C. Parsons

Tuesday 8th of July 2014

IIFC The recipe calls for that.

Anonymous

Friday 23rd of March 2012

Do you think this could be done in a crockpot with chicken breast instead?

Barry C. Parsons

Monday 26th of March 2012

I would think that chicken breasts might be too dry.

Barry C. Parsons

Sunday 23rd of October 2011

About 24 hours.

Ali

Sunday 23rd of October 2011

Wow, so mouth watering. Never seen sandwich this good and full, really got me salivating. If am to prepare the red onion pickles how long will it take for it to be ready?

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