An image capturing a succulent piece of barbecue chicken, slow-cooked to perfection in a rich, smoky sauce

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

This comprehensive guide provides a detailed recipe and instructions for preparing slow cooker barbecue chicken.

The history of the dish is briefly discussed, followed by a list of required ingredients and step-by-step instructions.

Additional cooking advice, particularly concerning temperature control, is also included.

The goal of this guide is to equip individuals interested in preparing this particular dish with the necessary tools to do so using a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Recipe History

The slow cooker barbecue chicken recipe has its roots in the early 20th century, when the electric slow cooker was invented. This device brought about a new era of home cooking, as it allowed for a more hands-off approach compared to conventional stovetops and ovens.

The low and consistent heat provided by the electric slow cooker made it possible to create a variety of recipes, including the barbecue chicken recipe. This recipe combines the convenience of slow cooking with the rich and tantalizing flavors of barbecue sauce, making it a popular choice for households looking for a tasty and effortless meal.


  • Chicken: Get the most flavor and tenderness from bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces.
  • Barbecue Sauce: Select a high-quality, smoky and tangy barbecue sauce.
  • Brown Sugar: Balance the savory flavors by adding a touch of sweetness with brown sugar.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Add depth and complexity with this umami-rich sauce.
  • Onion and Garlic: Aromatics provide a strong base of flavor.
  • Spices: Spice up the dish with a blend of paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.


To prepare a delicious dish, it is important to adhere to the instructions for making slow cooker barbecue chicken. Slow-cooking ensures a succulent and tasty chicken that is infused with the flavors of the barbecue sauce. Follow these steps for a successful outcome:

  • Prepare the chicken:

  • Remove any fat that is present on the chicken pieces.

  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and any desired additional spices.

  • Prepare the barbecue sauce:

  • In a bowl, mix ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, and any other desired seasonings.

  • Slow cook the chicken:

  • Place the seasoned chicken in the slow cooker.

  • Pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken.

  • Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours or on high heat for 2-3 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Cooking Tips: Temperature

Temperature regulation plays a critical role in attaining the best results when preparing slow cooker barbecue chicken. It is essential to maintain an even temperature throughout the cooking process to guarantee the chicken is cooked completely, tenderly, and full of flavor. The table below offers recommended temperature guidelines for different stages of cooking:

Cooking Stage Temperature (°F)
Preheating 300-350
Cooking 165
Resting 145
Serving 140

During preheating, it is important to get the slow cooker to the desired temperature range for even cooking. The chicken should be cooked at a temperature of 165°F to make sure it is safe to consume. After cooking, giving the chicken a few minutes to rest at a temperature of 145°F will help keep its juices and elevate the overall flavor. Ultimately, serving the chicken at a temperature of 140°F ensures it is at a safe and enjoyable eating temperature. By managing the temperature during each stage carefully, one can achieve perfectly cooked slow cooker barbecue chicken.

Final Thoughts

Achieving the best results when preparing slow cooker barbecue chicken requires precise temperature control throughout the cooking process. It is essential to maintain a stable and consistent temperature in order to guarantee that the chicken is cooked evenly and completely. Unstable temperatures can lead to undercooked or overcooked sections of the chicken, thereby affecting its flavor and texture.

To maintain temperature effectively, it is recommended to use a reliable meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. The ideal temperature for slow cooker barbecue chicken is around 165°F (74°C).

Additionally, it is best to avoid opening the slow cooker too often during the cooking process, as this can cause temperature fluctuations and extend the overall cooking time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Boneless Chicken Breasts Instead of Bone-In Chicken for This Recipe?

Using boneless chicken breasts instead of bone-in chicken for a recipe is a matter of personal preference. Boneless chicken breasts may cook faster and have a different texture, but can still be used in slow cooker barbecue chicken recipes with appropriate adjustments.

How Can I Make the Barbecue Sauce Less Sweet and More Tangy?

To make the barbecue sauce less sweet and more tangy, one can adjust the ingredients by reducing the amount of sugar and adding more acidic components such as vinegar or citrus juices.

Can I Cook the Chicken on High Heat in the Slow Cooker Instead of Low Heat?

Cooking the chicken on high heat in the slow cooker instead of low heat is not recommended. Slow cookers are designed for low and slow cooking, as high heat can result in overcooked and dry chicken.

Can I Substitute the Ketchup in the Barbecue Sauce With Tomato Paste?

Substituting ketchup with tomato paste in barbecue sauce is possible, but the resulting flavor and texture may differ. Tomato paste is more concentrated and less sweet than ketchup, so adjustments may be needed to balance the flavors.

How Can I Make the Chicken Skin Crispy in the Slow Cooker?

To achieve crispy chicken skin in the slow cooker, various techniques can be employed. These include browning the chicken skin before placing it in the slow cooker, using a wire rack to elevate the chicken, or broiling the chicken briefly after slow cooking.


Slow cooker barbecue chicken is a popular dish with a rich history. This recipe requires simple ingredients such as chicken, barbecue sauce, and spices.

The cooking process involves slow cooking the chicken in a crockpot for several hours, allowing the flavors to meld together. It is important to maintain the correct cooking temperature to ensure tender and juicy chicken.

In conclusion, slow cooker barbecue chicken is a delicious and convenient dish that can be enjoyed by all.

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