This eastern North Carolina-style chicken barbecue recipe is vinegar-based, a far cry from the sweet tomato-heavy sauces from the western part of the state. Double the recipe to make a big batch, perfect for game-day parties and potlucks.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2015


Recipe Summary

40 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place chicken in a medium skillet or large saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, turning once or twice, until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, 12 to 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, crushed red pepper, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the sauce to a large bowl. Cover the pan and set aside.

  • Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces with two forks. Stir into the sauce in the pan until well combined. Cover and let marinate for 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the sauce in the bowl; whisk in buttermilk, mayonnaise, celery seed and pepper. Add coleslaw mix and toss to combine. Serve the chicken on buns (or rolls) with the slaw and any extra sauce on the side.

Nutrition Facts

327 calories; protein 28g; carbohydrates 32.4g; dietary fiber 3.2g; sugars 13.8g; fat 7.6g; saturated fat 1.7g; cholesterol 68.7mg; vitamin a iu 4913.9IU; vitamin c 28mg; folate 78.7mcg; calcium 143.5mg; iron 2.5mg; magnesium 50.5mg; potassium 571mg; sodium 824.3mg; thiamin 0.3mg; added sugar 8g.

Reviews (6)

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7 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 6
Rating: 1 stars
Vinegar was overwhelming! Luckily we put a small sample of chicken in a container with a little sauc Luckily we put a small sample of chicken in a container with a little sauce rather than messing all the chicken up. Usually your recipes are great. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Vinegar-soaked Chicken - Yuck! This recipe will make your entire house stink like vinegar. Also reduced vinegar does not thicken so the so-called BBQ sauce was extremely runny. You might as well just poor some vinegar on your chicken because that's what it tasted like. The coleslaw was good but I would only made a 1/2 a batch. Cons: stinky bad-flavor runny Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Vinegar was wicked rugged I made this and the vinegar was overwhelming. Maybe because I left it on low while I finished up some other things to get dinner together? Will not make again to find out. My husband ate one bite and said don't be mad but I can't eat this. Plus the coleslaw wasn't that great either. Pros: Good to use leftover chicken/turkey Cons: Yucky Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Maybe Cajun? If you leave out all the pepper you might get a little close to North Carolina barbecue. This is not it. North Carolina barbecue is so good and it looks like it is still a secret. Thank goodness. Pros: Chicken Cons: Pepper pepper Read More
Rating: 1 stars
overcooked? Any tips to keep the juices in the meat? Pros: ok barbecue taste Cons: chicken dried out Read More
Rating: 1 stars
CONS: Not Heart Healthy This NOT a heart healthy recipe! The Cholesterol and sodium are way off for a heart healthy recipe. It needs to by 50 mg or less in cholesterol and 500 mg or less for Sodium. I don't why you would put this in the heart healthy category. Read More