The 4th of July isn’t complete without BBQ, and after returning from a trip to the South, which involved Central BBQ in Memphis, I needed some pulled chicken tonight. Instead of burning wood and smoking the chicken, which is the exact opposite of cooking with stored solar energy, I used my Sun Bucket as a slow cooker.
The Sun Bucket started at 631°F (333 C).
I had a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts so that’s what I used, though a few thighs in the mix would have been great. I heated up a tablespoon or so of olive oil and browned the seasoned chicken on both sides. It took about 3 minutes on each side to get nice and browned.
Next, I rustled up the old slow cooker and pulled the ceramic dish and lid out of the contraption. Any ceramic dish with a lid would have worked, but because I decided to cook 2.1 lbs of chicken at once, I needed a big dish. I set the ceramic pot right on top of the Sun Bucket and added the chicken, about 1 1/2 cups of a spicy prepared barbecue sauce, 1/2 C of water, and a 1/2 C of brown sugar, and put a lid on it.
My favorite part about this was how fast the glass lid steamed up. It fogged up as quickly as it does when slow cooking with electricity. I let the chicken and barbecue sauce sit atop the Sun Bucket for 3.5 hours. The sauce was hot and bubbly and reduced slightly over the course of the afternoon. When it was time to eat, I took the lid off the ceramic dish, and used two forks to quickly shred the chicken. It was falling apart and slightly gooey from the sauce.
Coleslaw is a traditional choice for topping pulled meat on a bun, but when we lived in Florida, one of our favorite restaurants used pickles instead. And that’s easier. For a 4th of July dinner, pulled chicken sandwiches and a few cool sides like creamy potato salad and a Greek farro salad made a casual dinner before heading out for fireworks.
All said and done, the Sun Bucket was used for just under 4 hours and cooked 2.8 lbs of chicken and sauce, for an approximate caloric value of 1900 calories.
Happy Birthday, America!