BBQ Pulled Chicken

2 reviews

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Ready to take simple smoked chicken thighs and turn them into something completely amazing? This BBQ pulled chicken makes for the most amazing BBQ sandwich and is ready in an hour or less!

Pile of BBQ pulled chicken on a serving platter with text overlay - BBQ Pulled Chicken.

BBQ Pulled Chicken

Looking for a quick and easy way to make smoked chicken? This BBQ pulled chicken is perfect when feeding a smaller group of people and makes for a great weeknight meal.

Smoky, juicy chicken thighs are perfect for shredding and coating in sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. Piled onto buns for epic sandwiches, spread onto a saucy crust for BBQ chicken pizza, or loaded into baked potatoes, this BBQ pulled chicken is one of the most versatile dishes you can pull off of your smoker.

Chicken thighs being seasoned with Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub.

Ingredients for Pulled BBQ Chicken

You only need 5 ingredients to make this pulled BBQ chicken. Talk about easy! Here’s what you’ll need to grab before you dive into making this recipe.

Sweet Rub, Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce, and Everything BBQ Sauce are all available for purchase in the Hey Grill Hey Store. You can also make your own Sweet Rub using my recipe for Best Sweet Rub.

If you don’t have either of these BBQ sauces listed above, you can use your favorite or browse my collection of Homemade BBQ Sauces to make your own from scratch. This recipe is really versatile, so feel free to make it your own!

Seasoned chicken thighs on the grill.

How to Make BBQ Pulled Chicken

Ready to sink your teeth into some amazing (and easy to make) pulled chicken? You bet you are! Here’s how to do it make BBQ pulled chicken.

  1. Preheat. Head on out to your patio and fire up your favorite smoker. I like to cook these chicken thighs on my pellet smoker for ease and convenience, but you can use whatever you have available or whatever smoker you prefer. Preheat to 275 degrees F.
  2. Season. Coat the chicken with avocado oil and then season on all sides with Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub.
  3. Smoke. Place the seasoned chicken thighs directly on the grill grates. Close the lid of the smoker and smoke for around 45 minutes. These thighs are done when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 175 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh.
  4. Rest & Make BBQ Sauce. Remove the chicken from the smoker and rest for 10 minutes. Make the sauce by mixing BBQ sauce with 2 Tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Trust me. This butter and BBQ sauce combination is to die for.
  5. Shred. Shred the chicken by hand or with a hand mixer. Pour the buttered BBQ sauce over the chicken and stir to coat the chicken well.
  6. Serve. Dig in! You can eat this pulled chicken just as it is, or pile it high on toasted buns for incredible BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches. For an added flavor bonus, make some Candied Jalapenos and add these to your sandwich.

Smoked chicken thighs being shredded by a hand mixer.

BBQ pulled chicken in a mixing bowl.

Tips for Making Pulled BBQ Chicken

In case you’ve never made pulled BBQ chicken before, I’ve compiled a few tips for making this chicken to set you up for success.

  • Go boneless. Buy the boneless, skinless thighs for easier prep, seasoning, smoking, saucing, and shredding. The bone-in, skin-on thighs are definitely cheaper, but you’ll have to remove the skin and debone the thighs yourself.
  • Cook to temperature. Chicken is technically safe to eat at 165 degrees F, but the ideal temperature for shredded chicken thighs is 175 degrees F. This higher temperature makes for a better texture that shreds more easily. Be sure to use a reliable meat thermometer to track your chicken as it cooks on the smoker.
  • Shredding hack! Use your hand mixer to quickly shred your chicken thighs. It works much faster than forks, but it can be a bit messy. Use a really deep bow and keep your mixer at the lowest speed.

BBQ pulled chicken sandwich next to corn on the cob.

More BBQ Chicken Recipes

Want to add more BBQ chicken recipes to your meal plan this month? These are some of my top recipes from here on the Hey Grill Hey site.

BBQ Pulled Chicken Recipe

Follow the recipe, and let’s make some really good food! Hey Grill Hey is here to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a BBQ hero. Head on over to Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube! for more behind-the-scenes action!

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BBQ Pulled Chicken

By: Susie Bulloch
3 from 2 votes
Ready to take simple smoked chicken thighs and turn them into something completely amazing? This BBQ pulled chicken makes for the most amazing BBQ sandwich and is ready in an hour or less!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings6 people



  • Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F.
  • Season. Drizzle the chicken thighs with the avocado oil and rub all around to thoroughly coat the thighs. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with the Sweet Rub.
  • Smoke. Set the chicken on the smoker and cook for around 45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees F.
  • Rest. Remove the hot chicken to a large mixing bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Heat the sauce. While the chicken rests, heat the Apple Jalapeno BBQ sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the 2 Tablespoons of butter and whisk to combine. My Everything BBQ Sauce also tastes amazing on this chicken!
  • Shred. Using a hand mixer on low speed, shred the chicken into strands. Add in the heated sauce and butter mixture.
  • Enjoy. Serve immediately on toasted buns for sandwiches.


Sweet Rub

Apple Jalapeno BBQ Sauce


Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 225mg | Sodium: 724mg | Potassium: 701mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 408IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

5 Reviews

  1. Savanna says:

    So delicious and easy!

  2. Barbara says:

    Amazing!!!Used vegetable oil instead of avocado oil.Made your rub . And used your Kansas city sauce!!!! It took about 1.25 hrs for chicken to reach temperature. Put it in crockpot on keep warm. It was a hit!!!! Definitely making again.

    1. J.R. says:

      but only 1 star?

    2. Michael says:

      Dang Barbara, I wonder what a five-star review looks like from you.

    3. Jesse says:

      I dont think Barbara understands how the star system works.