BBQ Pulled Chicken

This recipe uses the bare minimum of liquid possible in a pressure cooker. Only ¼ cup of vinegar dilutes the ketchup to a point where it will create steam. The important thing is to not let that liquid evaporate before you get the lid on the cooker. When the cooker is coming to pressure, give the lid a firm push down as soon as you see or hear any steam releasing. Once it's sealed, you'll be all set. Just get ready for a delicious meal.

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BBQ Pulled Chicken

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 10 m
  • Total Time: 20 m
  • Servings:
    to 10


  • 6 strips bacon chopped
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Pre-heat the pressure cooker using the BROWN setting.
  2. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and save for another use. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the cooker, searing in batches until well browned on all sides. Remove the chicken to a side plate once browned.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pressure cooker and cook until tender. Add the dry spices and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine and scraping the bottom of the cooker to stir in any brown bits. Return the chicken to the cooker and lock the lid in place.
  4. Pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce the pressure with the QUICK-RELEASE method and carefully remove the lid. Remove the chicken to a side plate. Once cool, shred the chicken using two forks or by hand. Return the chicken to the sauce to coat or serve the chicken with the sauce poured over the top.
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Comments (10)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    This is the BEST pulled chicken recipe. Freezes like a dream. I put the bacon right back in after shredding!

    Miss you on qvc.

    1. Hi MaryAnn. I haven’t done it myself, but it is possible for sure. Cook the bacon and sear the chicken in a separate pan. Then add all ingredients to the crock pot and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or High for about 4 to 6 hours. Then, shred away and enjoy.

  2. 5 stars
    This is is my family’s absolute favorite pulled chicken, from anywhere…it’s better than any restaurant. Sometimes we have it on sandwiches but sometimes we put it on top of mac n cheese and it’s so indulgent but delicious. The bacon adds such a depth of smoky flavor to the sweetness of the sauce. If you haven’t already, make this now!

  3. I purchased your tongs. I previously had the silicone ones but food slips off those.
    I prefer your metal tongs but their is a flaw in the design. The arm of the tong is open, and food gets in there and is impossible to get out and clean. Can you please redesign these so the arm isn’t open?

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Kathy. I will give it some more thought and discuss with my manufacturer. The rationale behind the current design using bent metal is to keep the cost and the weight of the tongs down. Making the arms of the tongs solid would increase both cost and weight. The tongs are dishwasher safe and I have had no trouble getting them clean. I hope they continue to work well for you.

  4. There are only two in our house so this would make to much. To make half of recipe would I just half the ingredients? What about the cook time? We enjoy your recipes and books.

    1. Hi Micky. This recipe is not easy to half because the liquid amount would be way too low. In fact, with this recipe you have to keep your eye on the liquid and make sure to cover it with the pressure cooker lid before too much evaporates. I would make the whole portion and then just freeze half of it for another time.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this often. It’s become one of my favorite chicken recipes. When my first instant pot quit working my grandson biught me a new one so I could continue to make this chicken. My cookbook was destroyed by Hurricane Michael and I was so happy to find this particular recipe online. Thank you!

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