Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with a cilantro and purple cabbage slaw

In college, my mom racked up enough points on her credit card that she was entitled to a free gift. She didn’t want anything from the gift catalog, so she offered it to me and said to pick whatever 500 points got me. Being me, I glossed over the off-brand Snuggies and walnut chess boards and went straight for the kitchen section. There, I found a pretty sweet deal: a slow cooker. 

I had just enough points. So I ordered it. A week later, my slow cooker came in the mail and the rest was history. Thanks, Mom! To this day I’ve used my slow cooker at least once a month. Slow cooking is, like, the most passive form of cooking, and yet it often yields the most delicious results.

My favorite thing to slow cook is chicken. It becomes this luxuriously juicy, flavorful meat that can be served in a variety of ways. Today I’m sharing a recipe for Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Pulled Chicken, and serving it with a cilantro purple cabbage slaw for crunch. I made this BBQ pulled chicken for a weeknight dinner, and loved how flavorful it was. And it made for fantastic leftovers, as well.

Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich on wire rack

How to make pulled chicken

Asian BBQ pulled chicken sounds super fancy, but literally all you have to do is put all the ingredients into a slow cooker and let it cook on low for 6 hours total. About halfway through the cooking process, the chicken will be cooked enough for you to shred it. To shred the chicken, you have two options:

Shred the chicken with a fork — This is the most straightforward method for making pulled chicken, and you don’t have to dirty any extra bowls if you stick to using just two forks. You’ll need a little elbow grease to shred the chicken, but it should take you no more than 5 minutes to do it.

Shred the chicken in a stand mixer — This sounds crazy, but hear me out! Transfer just the chicken to the bowl of a standing mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Then whisk the chicken for 20 to 30 seconds to shred it. Genius, right? You’ll have a few extra dishes this way, but it’ll save you a lot of time.

Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Assembling the pulled chicken sandwiches

Once the slow cooker Asian chicken has been cooked fully and is shredded, you can (finally!) assemble the pulled chicken sandwiches. To do so, you simply have to:

Toast the burger buns — I opted to grill my burger buns on the stove, but toasting them in a toaster oven or in an oiled skillet would also work. Toasting the buns not only adds extra flavor and texture, but I find that it also helps the buns hold together a little better. The BBQ pulled chicken is quite moist, so you need a sturdy bun when making pulled chicken sandwiches.

Top with slaw — The key to any pulled chicken sandwich (Asian BBQ chicken or not) is a healthy dose of cabbage slaw on top. The creamy, crunchy slaw goes perfectly with the rich chicken and makes for a gourmet home dining experience.

Add sliced jalapeños — The jalapeños are totally optional, but are a must for spicy food fanatics. Canned pickled jalapeños wouldn’t go amiss here either.

Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich with cilantro and purple cabbage slaw

OMG! OK, also my dear friend Davida of The Healthy Maven was kind enough to interview me for her podcast, That’s So Maven! We talked about how I started blogging full time, my thoughts on working for yourself, and some tips on how to run your own business. I’d absolutely love if you gave it a listen! I’ve been listening to all of Davida’s podcast episodes in the last few weeks, and I’m so impressed with her skills as an interviewer. Seriously, she is so talented. You can download the podcast episode here, or you can search on iTunes for “That’s So Maven episode 9.”

Happy almost weekend!

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Slow Cooker Asian Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

  • Author: Sarah Fennel
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

for the asian chicken

  • 3 pounds chicken breasts
  • 2/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sriracha
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

for the cilantro cabbage slaw

  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a slow cooker, mix all ingredients together, adding the chicken last. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours. After 3 or 4 hours, remove chicken from slow cooker and shred into pieces, either with two forks, or using this super easy method: place chicken into stand mixer with whisk attachment and turn on low speed. Chicken will shred within 20 seconds! It’s brilliant.
  2. Anyways. Place chicken back into slow cooker and continue to cook for another two hours. Chicken is done when it’s soft to the touch and not chewy at all.
  3. To make the cilantro cabbage slaw, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Can eat immediately, or place in a jar to pickle for up to a day (after that, the purple of the cabbage will release it’s color).
  4. To assemble the sandwiches, toast your favorite burger bun, then top it with the asian pulled chicken, cabbage slaw, and slices of jalapeños (optional)

More easy dinner recipes from Broma Bakery:

Spaghetti with White Wine & Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce

Avocado Basil Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Butternut Squash Lentil Stew

My Take On Ottolenghi’s Fattoush Salad

Lightened Up Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

14 comments

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Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
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I love how you added some Asian flavor to pulled chicken to make it more interesting. We love slow cooker dishes like this and my whole family will eat them which is a huge win when you have picky eaters!

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little black domicle blogger
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Morning-i look forward to your post everyday. not only for the fantastic recipes but also for your photos. the color combinations you present are music to my design ears! Food and decor have so many similarities especially when they inspire us to appreciate our surroundings everyday. i also use my slow cooker (that also sears) at least serval times a month. Bravo to you! -Laurel

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Laura | Tutti dolci
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Yes please, my weekend needs these killer sandwiches!

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Sarah | Well and Full
Reply

I need to invest in a slow cooker!! I would love to make this, but with jackfruit so it’s veggie 😉

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roni
Reply

Can I MAKE IT IN A POT OR SOMETHING? I DON’T HAVE A SLOW COOKER AND I REALLY WANT TO MAKE THIS recipe.
love from israel.

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi Roni! You can try making it in a pot on the stove over a low simmer. I have not done it with this recipe, but after researching online it seems like it should be possible. The recipe should only take 1-2 hours on the stove, so after an hour you should shred the chicken, then let it go for another 30 minutes once shredded and taste if the chicken is soft and stringy. If not, let it go for another 1/2 hour. Let me know how it goes!

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roni
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Thank you for your answer!
Will try and let you know.

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Erica
Reply

What barbecue sauce do you suggest using? I know there are many different kinds with many different spies/flavors and I don’t want it to overpower the Asian flavors that we add. Thank you!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi Erica! I’d use a standard one at the grocery store– one that is just generic will do!

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Cassandra
Reply

You can also use a hand mixer to shred chicken right in the slow cooker. No extra bowl to wash!

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Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

So true! A great time saver 🙂

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