Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken

8 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes

Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken is made in the crockpot with chicken broth, red pepper flakes, sugar, and vinegar. Perfect to serve in sandwiches!

If you’ve tried our classic Shredded Chicken or BBQ Shredded Chicken, then this is yet another simple and tasty Chicken Recipe that you can use for weeknight meals and tasty sandwiches.

Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken in sandwich bun with coleslaw


Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken is cooked slowly in the crockpot. That way it has plenty of time to absorb all the flavor from the tangy sauce. All you have to do is whisk together the simple vinegar sauce and pour it over the chicken to cook. While the slow cooker is going, the chicken will absorb all the juices and tangy flavor around it. Once it’s done you have fabulous food with a tender, juicy texture ready to go!

Use this easy chicken recipe to make the perfect North Carolina-Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwich. It’s super easy after you shred the flavorful chicken to serve it in a hamburger bun for a filling and family-friendly meal. Spoon any extra tangy sauce over the shredded chicken and top off the buns with Coleslaw. The cool and creamy coleslaw and the tangy chicken make a great flavor combo, so this is sure to become one of your favorite chicken sandwich recipes ever. 

Ingredients for Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken in prep bowls

To turn North Carolina Chicken into an easy meal prep recipe, you can cook the Shredded Chicken in your crock pot with the 5-ingredient sauce up to a few months in advance. Then just let the dish cool to room temperature before you seal it in a ziplock freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months. BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken is a great option for meal prep, because all you have to do is reheat the already cooked chicken in the slow cooker and you have an easy dinner. 



  • Prep time: If your chicken thighs are frozen, take them out of the freezer in advance and let them thaw in the fridge.
  • Vinegar mixture: Whisk together the chicken broth, white vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and salt to make the warm vinegar sauce. 
  • Cook time:  Add the chicken to the slow cooker and pour the vinegary sauce over the top. Cover with the lid and let the chicken cook on low for 6 hours, or set it to high heat for 3 hours to give it a shorter cooking time. 
  • Shred chicken: Use two forks to easily shred the chicken mixture. Then serve Shredded BBQ Vinegar Chicken over buns with any extra sandwich fillings you want. 

Ingredients for Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken in slow cooker


  • Vinegar: Instead of regular white vinegar in the tangy sauce, you can use apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or rice wine vinegar.
  • Brown sugar chicken: To give the recipe a darker sweet flavor, you can replace the granulated sugar with brown sugar in the warm vinegar sauce. 
  • Spicy North Carolina Chicken: To make a delicious spicy sauce for the Vinegar Shredded Chicken, you can whisk in hot sauce or a bit of cayenne pepper with the tangy sauce. 
  • Seasonings: There are a variety of other flavors you can add with seasonings like black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, celery salt, onion powder, or dry mustard. 
  • Sauce additions: To add some mix-ins to the delicious sauce, try mixing in some Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, mustard sauce, or ketchup. Another great addition to the tangy sauce is barbecue sauce. Either mix in your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce recipe or make your own Homemade Barbecue Sauce recipe for the Carolina BBQ Crockpot Shredded Chicken.


Instead of the slow cooker version, you can follow a few easy steps to make it in a pressure cooker.

  • Place the chicken in the pressure cooker.
  • Whisk together the quick, five-ingredient sauce and pour it into the instant pot over the chicken.
  • Seal and cook at high pressure for a 5-minute cook time.
  • Let the chicken rest while the pressure naturally releases for 8 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
  • Use two forks to shred the chicken, and then serve BBQ Vinegar Chicken over buns.



  • Serve: You shouldn’t leave Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken at room temperature for more than 2 hours. To keep it out during a party or potluck, return meat to the crock pot after shredding. Keep the slow cooker on low so the chicken stays warm. 
  • Store: Let the chicken cool down to room temperature, then put it in a ziplock bag or another airtight container to keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
  • Freeze: You can also freeze the Vinegar BBQ Chicken for up to 6 months.

Shredded Ingredients for Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken in slow cooker

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Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken

Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken is made in the crockpot with chicken broth, red pepper flakes, sugar, and vinegar. Perfect to serve in sandwiches!
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs , boneless skinless (about 6 thighs)


  • Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and mix well.
  • Cook on low heat for 6 hours or on high heat for 3 hours.
  • Use two forks to shred the chicken.
  • Serve on buns.


Calories: 245kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 585mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken

Carolina BBQ Vinegar Shredded Chicken collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I am blown away by how easy and how good this recipe is to make. I’m feeding extra mouths for the week and this meal is my ace in the hole.

    As a Virginian, I gotta recommend good slaw as well

  2. This is a wonder, simple recipe that captures the goodness of eastern NC BBQ. This BBQ goes great with copycat KFC slaw. For added enjoyment, add Texas Pete to BBQ before serving. This is absolutely the best meal!