Cooking through the USA: North Carolina

Last night (New Year’s Eve) we started our 2015 family cooking challenge: cooking through the USA. I plan to make and rate one key recipe from each state. We started with my home state of North Carolina. I made pulled chicken barbecue sandwiches with slaw and they got rave reviews (recipes all found online and slightly adapted). The sauce was really easy and tasted very authentic to me.

I used chicken but you can also use pulled pork for a more authentic sandwich. I poached the chicken first, but you could probably also grill it. I’ve gotten the best results from poaching the chicken in the slow cooker. I add all the pieces of a whole chicken, bone in and skin on, to the slow cooker along with a cup of water. Cook on low about 6-8 hours. The meat falls off the bone and does not dry out at all. Shred the meat, discarding the bones and skin. The liquid can be strained and frozen as a base for soups and such. Extra meat can also be frozen for tacos.

Here is the sauce recipe I adapted, which I found at a great site called AmazingRibs.com through a quick online search. It is very easy to throw together. I subbed apple cider vinegar for the apple juice for a more authentic taste. You can up the amount of hot sauce or red pepper flakes if you want, but my family doesn’t like it too spicy. I whisked all the ingredients together and boiled it briefly to thicken a little, then mixed some with the shredded chicken and put the rest in a squeeze bottle so everyone could add more sauce if they wanted. Serve on white sandwich or hamburger rolls with slaw and/or pickles.

For the slaw, I adapted this recipe from Mark Bittman. As you can see, it’s a super-simple recipe. I omitted the BBQ sauce and lightened the dressing with half sour cream in place of the mayonnaise. The cabbage, onions and pickles need to be finely because the slaw is going on top of the sandwich.

If you got the slow cooker going in the morning, you could easily make this recipe on a weeknight. Hope you enjoy it! Sorry there are no pictures–maybe next time.