What is up with beer and me lately?

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

I can’t get enough of the stuff.

If I’m telling the truth, I really enjoy cooking with beer much more than I like drinking it. I do like to drink it on occasion, but it’s not always my beverage of choice. However, when it comes to cooking with it?




Basically, I love replacing water with alcohol. Always and forever.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

And now… a peek into what a mess my kitchen appliances really are.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

You don’t even want to see my stand mixer. Or my toaster. Or my food processor. Or my fridge. Or my… everything. I’m a train wreck.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

Look at that bun. (Or bum, since that’s what I really just typed.) Don’t you want to do a big trampoline jump on it? So puffy and fluffy and fat.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this is the best chicken I have ever made in the crockpot. It might be the best chicken I’ve made, period. And… I make a ton of crockpot chicken. Like really, a ton.

People… I live with a man who seriously eats chicken at least five days a week for lunch and dinner. Sometimes I get insanely creative, but most weeks he gets the short end of the stick when I throw chicken in the slow cooker with, uh… nothing else, just so I don’t have to deal with making him something delicious only to stuff it in five giant tupperware containers. Maybe I do wish you could see my fridge.


So, I’m convinced it’s a combination of the perfect marriage between beer, spices (I freakishly love onion powder and smoked paprika together… give it a whirl) and sauce (Bone Suckin‘ is the best) that makes this so amazing. It’s a great meal for a crowd but if you’re smart, you’ll make a big crock for yourself and freeze a bunch for the days when wine drinking and pie eating takes precedence over dinner.

Or is that just me?

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken

serves about 8-10

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 large)

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

8 ounces of beer (I used a classic amber)

32 ounces of barbecue sauce

Season chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add to crockpot, then add beer and 24 ounces of barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours, tossing once or twice if desired. After 8 hours, shred and add remaining barbecue sauce. Toss chicken to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to absorb everything. Serve as desired.


1. I’ve found that *thinner* barbecue sauce works better (such as Bone Suckin’ Sauce) than thicker sauce (like Sweet Baby Ray’s). If you choose to use a thicker sauce, you may want to add a little more beer (or liquid) in order for the sauce not to burn and thicken on the edges of the pot. This is also the reason I don’t use my homemade barbecue sauce.

2. If you don’t want to use beer, you can try a ginger ale, chicken stock, or even water.

3. This makes a ton of chicken and I usually freeze immediately freeze a container for later.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

I wish I was sandwiched between those buns.

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476 Responses to “Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken.”

  1. #
    Erica Cooper — October 6, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    Ok, so I am a nerd and need to know what type of BBq sauce you used? I know you mentioned the brand but I am wondering was it a “sweet” sauce or more tangy? I have such a sweet tooth, I only have sweet sauces in my fridge. This http://www.sonnysbbqstore.com/cgi-php/store.php?search=yes&detail=yes&subcat=3&catname=Bar-B-Q Sauce&item_no=SONSBBQFS is what I LOVE and use. If you haven’t tried it, mmm you must!


    • Jessica — October 6th, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

      Hmm, bone suckin’ sauce is in a league of it’s own… I honestly think it is sweet with a big of tang. Kind of both!


  2. #
    Terry — October 6, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    I read recipe and immediately made it! Can’t wait til it’s done! I used some N/A beer cuz I want to drink my Blue Moon! :)



  3. #
    Diane — October 6, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

    All the questions about type of beer and type of sauce have been answered, but this PITTSBURGH girl wants to know what type of BUN is that…and which store did it come from??? I love puffy, fluffy, and fat buns!!


  4. #
    Niki — October 6, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

    Just want to say thank you! I can’t wait to try it..oh & my appliances can totally relate!


  5. #
    Heather — October 6, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

    I just did my first crockpot-chicken experiment a few weeks ago (it was used in enchiladas!) and it was AMAZING. Yours looks truly stellar. Replacing water with beer? I like the way you think.


  6. #
    Bethany — October 6, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

    We LOVED this BBQ chicken! My picky 3 year old had 3 helpings. My husband that does not care for BBQ chicken – told me I can definitely make it again. Thank you!


  7. #
    Laura — October 6, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

    I made this for dinner today. It was pretty good but I think I should have used a different beer than PBR. :) That is what we had leftover from a bbq. I think I will make this again.


    • blastedgoat — October 26th, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

      LOL PBR is awesome but I agree, perhaps not the best for this application! I really need to try this chicken :D


  8. #
    Ann — October 7, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    Delicious! While we don’t have the same crock pot – I suspect we have some of the same goo on it! Mine is about 30 years old and such a work horse. It won’t go to the crock-pot store in the sky so I can get the big, jazzy model that you can sauté in the pot and then stick it in the mechanical apparatus….dang it!


  9. #
    shannon — October 7, 2011 @ 12:23 am

    Made this for dinner tonight and was so easy and tasted amazing. I used the Hot version of the Bone Suckin BBQ sauce which had nice flavor. Also once on the bun I added a few drops of sirachi chili sauce for some heat and the combo was fabulous. The boyfriend demanded this recipe be made on a weekly basis.

    Thanks for sharing it! :)


  10. #
    Kim in MD — October 7, 2011 @ 7:49 am

    Jessica- I wanted to let you know that I made this yesterday and it was absolutely delicious! It was so easy. It literally took less than 5 minutes to throw everything in the slow-cooker. I couldn’t believe how good it was! We like spice, so the next time I make it (and there will be many, many more next times) I am going to try the hot Bone Sucking Sauce or experiment with adding some cayenne or chipotles in with the chicken. That said, it was AMAZING! You are AMAZING! :-)


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 7:56 am

      Yay! So glad you guys liked it Kim! :)


  11. #
    Dalila G. — October 7, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    Thanks, this will be an easy and tasty chicken recipe for football Sunday’s!!


  12. #
    Stephanie — October 7, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    I want all of your homepage specials–now! Yum…
    PS–Saw this and thought of you: http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/Michael-Symon-Grilled-Bacon-Chocolate-Hazelnut-Sandwich?cid=facebook_chew


  13. #
    Samantha — October 7, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    Once again you deliver an awesome recipe that my kids devoured! This was so easy to put together and it was delicious! I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ and just added some more beer and it came out perfect.


  14. #
    Regina — October 7, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

    Made this tonight! DELICIOUS!!!!! I added some chili powder for some kick!


  15. #
    Kat — October 8, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    Well with a review like that, I think I’d better save this recipe for future use!


  16. #
    Tracy — October 8, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    I just turned on my crockpot to make this – can’t wait! Looks amazing!


  17. #
    Courtney — October 8, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

    This is about to get started having a party in my crock pot. Can’t wait to try it!


  18. #
    Emily — October 8, 2011 @ 11:13 pm

    JUST put this in the crock pot. I am not too much of a sweet person, so I used Stubbs Sauce and since it’s October, I used Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale. Let’s see how it turns out? I have an Apricot BBQ sauce I bought at the farmer’s market a while back too that I’m going to use tomorrow. I think it will pair nicely with the pumpkin beer. I have a human garbage disposal at home, so making a ton of food ahead of time is always good in my home. Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait for the chicken to be ready and to use all sorts of different beers and sauces, including yours! :)


  19. #
    Emily — October 8, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

    Oh, and my appliances are gross too. Even with fairly regular cleaning. :/


  20. #
    Dana — October 9, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

    I have this in the crockpot as I type. I cut the recipe in half, so I don’t think it’s going to need the whole 8 hours. The chicken was already falling apart at 5 hours. I used good ole Bud Light, so we’ll see what happens!


    • Jessica — October 9th, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

      Awesome – let me know! :)


  21. #
    Katy — October 10, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    I made this Saturday night and it was amazing! I used chicken stock instead of beer and it was so good! It taste even better left over too!


  22. #
    Annie K — October 10, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    Made your sweet potato and honey rolls sandwiched size on Saturday to go along with this chicken – AMAZING. both recipes definitely keepers! the only beer we had in the fridge was a raspberry wheat – which ended up complimenting the bbq sauce perfectly! thanks so much!


  23. #
    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — October 10, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

    I love cooking with beer!! That sandwich looks flavourful and mouthwatering.

    P.S. Glad to hear that you are going to Foodbuzz!!!! See you there!!!!


  24. #
    nicole — October 10, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

    I’m a longtime lurker and just wanted to pop in to say that every time I try one of your recipes it’s a hit in my house (your buffalo chicken pasta is the current frontrunner around here). I made this for dinner tonight and it was SO GOOD! We often have bbq chicken in the crockpot but it was always a matter of dumping in the chicken with some bottled bbq sauce and calling it a day. Between the added seasonings and the beer, this chicken was just so moist and delicious. For the record, I used Blue Moon White Ale and Sticky Fingers BBQ sauce. Aaaaand we have a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie cooling as we speak. Doesn’t get any better than that! Thanks for the wonderful recipes!


  25. #
    natalie (the sweets life) — October 11, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    ha I don’t like beer at all but I can’t get enough of beer pretzel dip, beer bread, etc…so I know I’d be all over this! Can’t wait to make it for a football party one of these weekends! (Although I’m also intrigued to try a version with ginger beer!)


  26. #
    Jackie — October 11, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

    My husband claims he hates everything about beer. I made this and after he finished raving over it and he had his second helping, I told him about the beer! He claimed he could taste the beer on his second serving. My eyes just rolled!


  27. #
    Robyn — October 11, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

    Hi, this looks delicious. Could you please tell exactly which Beer you used in the recipe. I don’t know much about beer and when I go to the liquor store it would be easier if I had a name, thanks:)


    • Jessica — October 11th, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

      I used an amber ale – I would just ask them for an amber ale when you go. :)


  28. #
    Robyn — October 12, 2011 @ 2:30 pm



  29. #
    Harald — October 12, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    That looks fantastic! BBQ sauce, beer and chicken, can it be better? :-)


  30. #
    Judy E — October 12, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

    Made it. Loved it! Having it for dinner again tonight. Sooooo easy!


  31. #
    Kat @ Living Like the Kings — October 13, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

    is it me or are you on a crockpot and beer kick? Cuz I love it. Keep it coming!


  32. #
    Jme — October 13, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    I made this chicken and it was so good! I froze some containers of it, that were left over. How would you suggest reheating them? In a pot on the stove?


  33. #
    dana828 — October 13, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

    Just made this today, and…wow! I used Sam Adams Octoberfest, and a Carolina-style bbq sauce (couldn’t find Bone Suckin’ Sauce). Love the fact that it makes enough to freeze!


    • Jessica — October 14th, 2011 @ 6:52 am



  34. #
    KatieRK — October 15, 2011 @ 11:08 am

    i am thinking about making this tomorrow but am going to cut it in half…should i decrease the cooking time? Thanks!


  35. #
    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — October 15, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    Mmmmm, I love using beer with slow cooking/braising as well. Usually I’ll browse the “fancy” beer selection at Whole Foods for a flavored beer. I recently paired beef with an espresso porter – very delicious. I saw a pumpkin beer somewhere (TJs maybe?). I’m thinking that might go well with the chicken.


  36. #
    Jess McG — October 16, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    I made this earlier this week for my boyfriend and I and we loved it! His words, “This is a flavor explosion!” I used some leftovers in a quesadilla and wowzers, with some cheddar and brown rice between a tortilla, YUM!


  37. #
    Jenn @ Baking Jenn's Blog — October 17, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

    YES. Crock pot chicken is incredible and this looks WONDERFUL. Definitely adding it to my “must try” list!



  38. #
    Adelita — October 19, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    This may be a dumb question but can I throw in frozen chicken breast?


    • Jessica — October 20th, 2011 @ 8:11 am

      Ideally you want the chicken to be thawed. Maybe thaw it overnight in the fridge, then throw it in? If it’s frozen it may release a lot of water and not yield the same result.


  39. #
    Linda Rowan — October 22, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    Jessica, I will send you a recipe that was given to me by a friend from Philly. It is just Sausage and sauerkraut, with beer, but is great!


  40. #
    Jenni B — October 25, 2011 @ 11:27 am

    I made this last weekend for our pumpkin carving party, and it was a hit! I don’t think it could’ve been any easier to make. I felt like one of those infomercials, “set it and forget it”. I didn’t have time to prep anything and this made entertaining a breeze. By 8 hours, the chicken was falling apart (the sign of all that is good). Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m definitely making this one again.


  41. #
    Kate — October 25, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

    HELP! I am making this for a cooking club tonight! I put it on low this morning at 6:15am. I just got home (been almost 7 hours) and it smells great, BUT it is crazy watery!! Is my crock pot not heating up enough?? I just turned it on high in hopes that it will boil down, but it doesn’t seem to be boiling too quickly. Any suggestions?? They would be greatly appreciated!!


    • Jessica — October 25th, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

      Did you made any changes or add less chicken/more liquid?? I would turn it to high too and see what happens!


      • Kate — October 25th, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

        i followed it exactly! But, turning it on high seems to be working! I just shredded the chicken and it seems much thicker. My roommate taste tested it and said it is delicious! thanks for your quick response!! LOVE your blog!

  42. #
    Sarah — October 26, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    Can’t wait to try this out!! It is crockpot season after all! If you are in need of a good drink and have beer on hand already, check out: http://sarahsjoys.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/ginger-rum-shandies/


  43. #
    Peter D — October 26, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

    Always looking for new ways to expand my meagre cooking range, this sounds ideal.


  44. #
    AiXeLsyD13 — October 27, 2011 @ 8:45 am

    This looks delicious!

    It reminds me of a Pittsburgh tradition… Chipped Ham BBQ. It’s just Coca~Cola, Heinz Ketchup, and Chipped Ham. Maybe some relish if you’re fancy.

    I think I’m gonna try this for the weekend!


  45. #
    Huffygirl — October 27, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    Sounds delicious. I am going to try it. Nice that you could be Freshly Pressed by proxy!


  46. #
    Stafferty — October 27, 2011 @ 10:58 am

    I just tried this with bourbon and some extra chili spices and it was amazing. (added 1tspn Cumin, 1 tspn chili powder/ Used 4 oz Bulliet bourbon/4 oz Sam Addams Light for beer, 24 oz Sweet Baby Ray’s because I like my pulled chicken a little dryer). I also added a lb of pre cooked, crispy bacon because bacon makes everything better.

    Great football food.


  47. #
    newsy1 — October 27, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    I make something similar with brisket of beef but I never thought of using chicken. Can’t wait to try this, thanks.


  48. #
    Rachael C. — November 2, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    I’m halfway through making this on a cold snowy day in Boulder, CO and I can’t wait to eat it tonight! Smells amazing! I used Sweet Baby Rays and Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale!


  49. #
    Julia — November 3, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    Jessica, I wanted to let you know I’ve made not 1, but FOUR batches of this in the last week. Ok, not JUST for my family, for an event.

    Anyone reading this, this is a GREAT recipe!!!! My ONLY suggestion: know you crockpot! My crockpot cooked this, on low, in 3.5 hours. So if your chicken turns out dry (which happened my 1st batch), it’s not the recipe, it’s your crockpot. The remaining 3 batches were, as my husband described, “melt in your mouth, deeeelicious!”


  50. #
    Theresa — November 4, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

    This sounds soooo YUMMY and I’m so glad you gave a substitute for beer !!!! (I want to send the recipe to my daughter who’s pregnant) She loves cooking in her crockpot and is always asking me for new recipes. (and to think she never ever would cook with raw meat before much less eat it…lol ) Thanks again and will definitely try the beer version for my hubby. :)



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