Ben and I are big barbecue fans. Seriously, major barbecue fans. It’s one meaty dish we can both agree on. Ben loves a good brisket or pulled pork while I’m more partial to chicken but occasionally can be swayed to a more “hearty” meats. In our four years’ of married life, we’ve enjoyed barbecue in many, many ways… at restaurants, homemade, semi-homemade, and store-bought. Homemade has always been the best, because seriously. Indiana. Not exactly a state renowned for its barbecue. BUT wait. I just realized that my homemade might not be quite as good as what’s available locally anymore. Even though this homemade Sweet ‘n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw is pretty darn fabulous.
Why, you ask? Because Ben and I are moving down south! To Nashville, Tennessee. On Friday! As in, later this week. Ahhhhhh. [Cue frantic packing… because who is ready to go any sooner than they have to be? Not me. Ha!] Now, I know that the politics of barbecue, or barbeque, or BBQ, or whatever you call it run deep, and vary by region, cooking method, etc. And I realize that true barbecue connoisseurs might not consider this “real” barbecue because it’s made in just an hour or so, in the oven. To them I say “bah.” Or rather, Ben says “bah.” I just say it’s good. It’s sweet, spicy, and utterly addicting. If I do say so myself, adding an apple to the chicken as it cooks was an utterly genius move.
Speaking of moves, we’re moving because I accepted a position earlier this month at a university library in Nashville. It’s been a crazy few weeks of packing, finding a new apartment, trying to sublet our current apartment, saying goodbye to friends and family and our favorite local Bloomington spots, and a myriad of other details… some fun and others not so fun. But we are so excited for this new adventure. There’s no one I’d rather share it with than this guy!
Ben is simply the best. 🙂 As is this barbecue. If you make it, don’t forget the slaw. It’s the perfect tangy, crisp accompaniment to the sweet ‘n spicy chicken. Kinda like I am to Ben. Or he is to me? I’m not quite sure that comparison is valid, but my mind is muddled from all this packing. So there you have it. Our big move, aka the reason I haven’t been blogging much lately. I have a few posts scheduled over the next couple weeks so I shouldn’t disappear for long, and then once we are settled and have the kitchen ready to go, things should be back to normal here. 🙂 If you have any Nashville recommendations, be sure to send ’em my way. Have a great week! Enjoy!
Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw
for the chicken
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small apple, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 pounds chicken thighs
- 6 ounces BBQ sauce of choice [I used a local Spicy Apple BBQ Sauce, but for something similar you could use this recipe]
- freshly ground black pepper
- extra sauce for serving
for the slaw
- 2 cups red cabbage, chopped/shredded
- 2 cups green cabbage, chopped/shredded
- 1 small apple, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2 stems basil, leaves torn [~ 1/4 cup]
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- a couple dashes Sriracha
- freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in an oven-proof Dutch oven or pot with tightly fitted lid. Add onion and apple and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for another minute. Add chicken and BBQ sauce and toss to coat. Season with pepper. Remove from heat, cover, and place in oven for 90 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the slaw. Toss together cabbages, apple, celery, and basil. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, and Sriracha. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture [you may not need it all] and season with pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When chicken is done cooking, shred with two forks carefully in the pot, or remove to a cutting board to shred. Return chicken to pot and then serve with slaw and extra BBQ sauce as desired.
Note: For more tender chicken, reduce heat to 200 degrees after it has fully cooked and leave chicken in oven, covered, for another hour. The chicken is still delicious after 90 minutes but it does shred a little easier later on.