Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ Chicken Recipe
Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ Chicken Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ Chicken Recipe

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I live in Georgia, but I appreciate the tangy, sweet taste of Carolina barbecue chicken. In fact, my sons are more likely to show up to dinner if they know I'm serving this slow cooker recipe. —Ramona Parris, Canton, Georgia
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. Cook: 4 hours
MAKES:6 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. Cook: 4 hours
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium chicken base
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split, optional

Nutritional Facts

1/2 cup (calculated without buns): 134 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 63mg cholesterol, 228mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 0 fiber), 23g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat.


  1. In a small bowl, mix the first six ingredients. Place chicken in a 3-qt. slow cooker; add vinegar mixture. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender.
  2. Remove chicken; cool slightly. Reserve 1 cup cooking juices; discard remaining juices. Shred chicken with two forks. Return meat and reserved cooking juices to slow cooker; heat through. If desired, serve chicken mixture on buns. Yield: 6 servings.
Editor's Note: Look for chicken base near the broth and bouillon.
Originally published as Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ Chicken in Taste of Home Everyday Slow Cooker & One Dish Recipes Annual 2014, p72

Blush Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a blush wine such as White Zinfandel or a Rosé.

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Momof4.5 User ID: 6560778 266252
Reviewed May. 23, 2017

"I didn't have chicken base, so I used a packet of chicken bouillon instead. I subbed black pepper for the red pepper because my kids don't like it too spicy. They loved it!"

HEXA User ID: 7635575 264688
Reviewed Apr. 15, 2017

"This is great; that's all there is to it. Being Canadian, I was a little leery of cooking meat in vinegar- I had never heard of it! But I trusted the reviews and went ahead. Next time I will ad more spice, not less like some other reviewers. The cole slaw on top is a must - really a great combination of flavours! Hubby has mentioned that meal every day for a week!"

bbowner User ID: 7655829 256029
Reviewed Oct. 27, 2016

"I used a pork loin with half apple cider vinegar and half white vinegar, brown sugar and 1 tsp chicken bullion and 1 tsp beef bullion, it cooked for 6 hours and was delicious"

sugarboz User ID: 3316695 238526
Reviewed Dec. 1, 2015

"I made this recipes last night for supper. I'm from Eastern NC and we do love our vinegar bbq! I deviated using brown sugar and cider vinegar, and boneless skinless chicken thighs. It was a little sweet for my taste, but added a little more vinegar. I might cut back a little on the amount of brown sugar next time. Thanks also to ryan0705 for your hints ~ Also, it was too late to use my crock pot, so I slow cooked in the oven at 275 degrees F for 3 hours, and while I was pulling apart the chicken, I simmered down the liquid."

muffbear74 User ID: 209131 227783
Reviewed Jun. 11, 2015

"easy and a nice change from traditional BBQ"

ryan0705 User ID: 3574117 225871
Reviewed May. 4, 2015

"This is a NC recipe. But my mother used brown sugar, cider

vinegar and smoke flavoring all to taste. You cook the chicken
just until done and remove it then cook the juice etc. down
until it's kinda like a sauce then add meat back in.. It's really
good but the same recipe used for pulled pork is alot better.
With pork leave the meat in while cooking juice down. Try it
you'll love it. Mom always served slaw and dill pickles on a
warmed bun with optional hot sauce. SUPER GOOD!"

justmbeth User ID: 1196484 225688
Reviewed Apr. 30, 2015

"chicken had good flavor but the chicken turned out mushy. I think I did 2 things that contributed to the chicken beig over cooked. (1) I set the crockpot on a timer for cooking later in the day while I was at work. The chicken probably started cooking while sitting in the vinegar mixture. (2) I cooked the full 5 hrs. Next time I will cook immediately and monitor the progress."

lmmanda User ID: 1101093 223924
Reviewed Mar. 31, 2015

"A different spin on BBQ that I had never experienced, I only cooked the chicken about 3 hr 15 min since my crockpot cooks faster than most recipes call for, very tasty but a little drier without the BBQ sauce."

darkkitten2003 User ID: 8089267 221909
Reviewed Mar. 3, 2015

"Put this in the slow cooker yesterday morning, really, really good. I have never had Carolina vinegar bbq before, but had heard of it, and wanted to try it, this is definitely a keeper! I doubled the recipe, and followed it exactly, really delicious, but not quite as flavorful as I was expecting, although still awesome! Not going to double it next time and see if there's a difference. So good, I brought some for lunch today!"

luigimon User ID: 1692040 221522
Reviewed Feb. 27, 2015

"I made this twice, and the first time was great, the second, not so good. I used bone in breasts both times, but I used more chicken the second time and didn't add to the liquid. Still good, and I will make it again."

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