Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw | thepajamachef.com
Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sauces

Sweet ‘n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw

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.

Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw | thepajamachef.com

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.

Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw | thepajamachef.com

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 | thepajamachef.com

one year ago… 1970s Style Tacos
two years ago… Honey-Lime Fruit Salad
three years ago… Sweet and Spicy Blueberry Pork

Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print


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.

Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches {Repost}

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. Last fall, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!


from July 14, 2011…but BBQ is good in January too, for a taste of summer, of course 🙂

About a month ago, my parents, sister, sister’s boyfriend, [edited to add…they got married on December 28, 2012… YAY!] and grandfather came for a visit. Yup, that’s right–seven people in a two bedroom, 1000 square foot apartment. Pure craziness, at least in terms of space. As I do with any visitors, I wanted to be sure to prepare a fantastic dinner that everyone would love, but with several caveats: we couldn’t grill out (apparently outdoor grills in “multi-family dwellings” are now illegal in the state of Indiana) and I didn’t want to spend all night in the kitchen.

So what’s a girl to do?

Use the crock pot, of course!

When Ben and I got married two years ago, I was a total crock pot skeptic. I thought crock pots were for lazy cooks and that nothing good ever came out of them. I vowed I would never use the crock pot we received as a wedding gift (in fact, we only registered for it at Ben’s insistence). I totally ate my words on that one! Aside from my KitchenAid mixer (fortunately inherited from my grandmother), my crock pot is probably my most-used kitchen appliance. I love it for making soups, applesauce, and large hunks ‘o meat.

As I was brainstorming what to make, I kept coming back to this recipe I had seen on Tasty Kitchen for Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches. The combination of sweet pineapple with vinegary, tomato-y BBQ sauce intrigued me to say the least. So I threw the ingredients together in my crock pot, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches | The Pajama Chef
And “the best” delivered. Many a sandwich were devoured by all that night, and the sweet yet savory BBQ just couldn’t be beat. This is definitely a recipe to make again and again. It’s so easy, so delicious, so tasty, so why wouldn’t you? Enjoy!

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches [from MyRetroKitchen via Tasty Kitchen]
click to print


  • 3 pounds boneless chicken, thawed
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 – 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 – 18-20 ounce bottle BBQ sauce [I used KC Masterpiece]
  • hamburger buns


Place chicken in bottom of crock pot. Cover with onions. Drain pineapple, reserving juice (see note) and add over top. Pour in BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. About an hour or two before it is finished, shred chicken with two forks, stir to incorporate the sauce, and let cook for the rest of the allotted time.

Serve on hamburger buns. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, try these: they are quite easy and really tasty! Enjoy!


For an extra sweet sauce, the recipe recommends a BBQ sauce like Sweet Baby Ray’s (which is so great) and the addition of up to 1/2 cup of the reserved pineapple juice. I didn’t add any juice to mine and it was plenty sweet for us, but others might feel differently. I just chose to drink the juice! 🙂

Shared with the Made with Love Linky Party and Weekend Potluck.

Sew Chatty

Beef, Main Dishes, Recipes

Not Your Summer Camp’s Sloppy Joes

Up until this past spring, I had a strong dislike for Sloppy Joes. I liked them well enough growing up, but working at a summer camp for two years–aka two summers’ worth of kid food–kind of killed any liking I had for childhood staples like Sloppy Joes. I had visions of salty, goopy, ketchup-y, messy sandwiches that came out of an industrial food service can. Don’t get me wrong, not all food at Camp T was bad. Some was pretty darn good! Others though, I chose to load up on the salad bar and PB&J and pray it was my night off so I could get some real food for dinner.

However, my distaste for Sloppy Joes changed after my mom mentioned she was making them and my sister said how good they were. After getting over the initial shock [if you knew my mom you’d be surprised to know she was making Sloppy Joes], I promptly got the recipe, made it for myself, and was hooked.

Not Your Summer Camp’s Sloppy Joes

This Sloppy Joe recipe is sweet and savory and fast, perfect for a busy night. I love the slight crunch of the green pepper, and think this could be veggied-up some more… I just haven’t tried yet. Ben loads it up with extra hot sauce; I like mine as is. This is a great base recipe for Sloppy Joes that works as is or can be adjusted to meet your tastes. Enjoy!

Not Your Summer Camp’s Sloppy Joes

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

from The Neelys


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 green or red pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce [I use Sweet Baby Ray’s original–different kinds of BBQ sauce would give it a different flavor profile.]
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce


In a large skillet on medium heat, cook peppers and garlic in oil for about 3 minutes or until they are just getting soft. Season with a dash of salt and a generous amount of pepper. Add beef and cook through. Drain well. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Simmer about 10 minutes or until thickened. If needed, add a pinch of flour or cornstarch to thicken sauce to your liking.

Question of the Day: What was your favorite school lunch growing up? I bought lunch a few days a week, and breakfast for lunch day was always one of them! Sloppy Joes was not. In fact, I would always bring my lunch on Sloppy Joes day. If my school made Sloppy Joes this way, there would have been no contest. 🙂