Hello, Hawaii, How Are You? Pulled Chicken

1 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup chili sauce (like Heinz)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup spiced ginger preserves
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon yellow hot sauce (I used Miss Hatties)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke
1 1/2 teaspoon Mexican hot chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground jalapeno
1 habanero pepper, seeds removed and chopped
juice and zest of one lime
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on low in the slow cooker 2 1/2-3 hours or 1 hour on high plus 2 1/2 hours on low. When done, meat should shred easily with a fork. Shred chicken with a fork. Toss to evenly coat with sauce. Serve on rolls.

My thoughts:

This is a pretty “quick” recipe as far as things in the slow cooker go. While you couldn’t quite work a whole day and come home to a completed meal, it is perfect for a weekend when you might spend just a few hours shopping, doing housework or better yet, lazing around not wanting to cook and still have a homecooked dinner. This Hawaiian-inspired pulled chicken is perfectly balanced between fruity sweet and spicy and it yields just right level of sauce. The pineapple-ginger-balsamic combo should become a new classic, it is that good.

I had actually never had pulled chicken before (sticking to my beloved pulled pork instead) but I am now a total convert and you will be too- who doesn’t love saucy, juicy chicken sandwiches? The first day I served them on big, sesame seed buns but the leftovers made a great sourdough-coleslaw-sharp cheddar-pulled chicken panino.

Side note:I used thighs from Just Bare Chicken which have a neat gimmick, each package has a number that you can use to look up the exact farm your chicken is from. Plus it is tasty!


  1. Looks delicious! Nom nom!

  2. I like pulled chicken almost as much as pulled pork but I’ve yet to find a sauce that I really like. This one looks very good. Your recipe is also a good one for me to try in my pressure cooker. If it works, I’ve found a great new quick and tasty summer party dish!

  3. Yum, I’ll be trying this one for sure. My husband will love it, I can already tell.

  4. man I need to get me a slow cooker.

  5. i like pulled chicken but it’s easy enough to make without a slow cooker too. this looks good, but then again i like anything with hawaii in the title!

  6. That looks sooo good!!!

    I look forward to your blog everyday!

    I have given you an award… you can pick it up here…


  7. Looks like good, sloppy eats. Tasty!

  8. This looks really good! I make pulled pork often (which is relatively unknown in Australia) but never pulled chicken. I’ll definitely be making this one!

  9. Just came back to say that I made this is the pressure cooker tonight. Didn’t change much about the recipe except to substitute plum preserves with 2+ teaspoons hot mango chutney and freshly grated ginger for the ginger preserves (because I didn’t have any)—otherwise, I followed your recipe. It took just over 4 minutes to cook and came out moist with a dynamite hot spicy sauce! Thank you!

  10. I’ve been trying to use my crock pot more and this looks sooooo good. Looks like I need to do some shopping during my lunch break today!

  11. Oh wow, what a great recipe. I love recipes that have a long list of spices and yummy-sounding ingredients. Thanks a bunch for this one!

  12. Yum – sandwiches sound awesome.

  13. This post gets an OM NOM NOM Nomination!

  14. Thank you for posting this recipe. I’m a chicken fiend and I’ve been wanting a pulled chicken recipe that was both spicy and sweet. This was it! I didn’t have every ingredient so I used what I had on hand. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs, habanero hot sauce instead of yellow hot sauce, regular paprika instead of smoked paprika, and apricot preserves with a little ground ginger instead of the spiced ginger preserves. I didn’t have a habanero pepper or ground jalapeno either, but it still turned out delicious. Next time I make it I’ll be sure to have all of the ingredients and see how much of a difference in taste compared to my patched-together one.

  15. Ha. Here it is 2012. Well, better late than never, eh? This is one of my son's absolute favorite meals. It's also one of the few slow cooker meals I actually like. Most excellent. Thank you.

  16. I can't believe it was 2009 when I posted this! Glad you've been enjoying it.