We love pulled pork, a straightforward way of making even the least appetising cut of the most environmentally friendly mammal meat absolutely delicious. But chicken is even less burdensome for the environment than pork, and cheaper too. Can you do the same thing with chicken? (SPOILER: Of course you can.)
I started by rubbing a whole chicken with the same rub I use for pulled pork: brown sugar, salt, freshly ground black pepper and smoked paprika, in a ratio of something like 40:20:1:1.
Then I laid it in a baking tray, on a double-wide sheet of strong foil (made by bonding two regular-width sheets together). I put it upside down from the way one usually roasts a chicken — that is, the same way up that it stands in life, with the back facing upwards and the breast downwards. That was so the breast, which can dry out, would remain marinated in juices throughout the process:
I wrapped the chicken loosely in the foil, allowing plenty of space inside the package for air to circulate, but ensuring that the package was tightly sealed everywhere so no moisture could escape:
It went into the oven a low temperature of 140 degrees C, just before 11am. (Looking at this photo, it’s clear that our poor oven desperately needs cleaning.)
Then I walked away for eight hours, and did a day’s work.
When I returned, around 7pm, I removed the package from the oven and opened it, to find the chicken intact and swimming in its own juices:
I drained off most of the juices into a cup, then transferred the chicken out of its package into one end of a good-sized a glass dish. Then I just started pulling it apart with a pair of forks. It was marvellously tender, so the process was extremely easy. The skin had become delicious, so it all went in along with the flesh. There was a lot of it. I was left with a small plate of bones (which will go on to become chicken stock and then possibly risotto):
I poured some of the reserved liquid back into the dish of pulled chicken meat, along with a squirt of BBQ sauce, a blob of peri-peri sauce, and a dash of liquid smoke, then mixed it all up. The remaining liquid is in its cup in our fridge, and will certainly get added to some forthcoming dish. We ate the pulled chicken with coarsely mashed potato and pickled vegetables:
It was as delicious as I’d hoped: we will certainly do it again.
There was a lot left over — enough to fill two large-sized Chinese takeaway tubs, and we are only beginning to work our way through it. I leave you with this BBQ chicken pizza that I made the next day.
In conclusion: slow-cook your chickens like pulled pork!