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Smoky, Pulled Chicken Barbecue Sandwiches with Poppy Seed Ranch Slaw

Smoky, Pulled Chicken Barbecue Sandwiches with Poppy Seed Ranch Slaw


For the poached chicken:

  • 1 4-pound whole chicken

  • 1 onion, halved

  • 1 leek, quartered and rinsed

  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped

  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped

  • Bundle of thyme and parsley

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 5 to 6 whole black peppercorn

  • Salt

For the slaw:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 1/4 cup tablespoons super-fine sugar

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon celery salt

  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons poppy seed

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dill, chives and parsley

  • 1 small (3/4- to 1-pound) white cabbage, quartered, cored and very thinly shredded

  • 1 small red onion finely chopped or grated

  • 1 carrot, grated

For the smoky barbecue sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or hot paprika

  • 3 tablespoons pourable light brown sugar (I use Domino, in the yellow box with a pour top)

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar (I use Braggs)

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon smoked soy sauce, shoyu or tamari

  • 1 cup tomato sauce

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken poaching liquid/stock

  • 8 soft rolls

  • Bread-and-butter pickles


To poach the chicken, place all ingredients into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, turning occasionally. Let cool in the poaching liquid.

Remove chicken and discard skin and bones. Pull meat using fork tines or your fingers to finely shred.

Strain chicken poaching liquid and reserve about 1 1/2 cups. Refrigerate or freeze remainder for other uses.

While chicken poaches, whisk up slaw dressing in a large bowl. Add cabbage, onion and carrot, toss with dressing and chill.

For barbecue sauce, heat oil, 2 turns of the pan, in deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook to soften. Add dry spices and toss 1-2 minutes; add liquids and simmer 15 minutes to thicken a bit. Add in pulled chicken and toss to coat.

Serve chicken piled on soft rolls topped with slaw and pickles.