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These BBQ chicken tacos are topped with black bean & corn salsa for an incredibly easy (and delicious) dinner!
We love a good, simple protein that can be scooped into a tortilla + jazzed up with flavorful toppings, and we think this meal reigns supreme in that category! Tangy, spicy, sweet BBQ sauce (you pick your favorite kind, but we LOVE this homemade version) and chicken breasts (or thighs!) cook together until the chicken is perfectly shreddable, and is then scooped into tortillas and topped with the GOOD STUFF! What’s the good stuff, you ask? Black bean and corn salsa, that’s what! It’s truly the *perfect* BBQ chicken topper, and also tastes SUPER on a crunchy tortilla chip! Honestly, for me, eating it by the spoonful isn’t out of the question!
These no-fuss BBQ chicken tacos are easy enough for a weeknight dinner or a meal prep lunch (just wait to assemble the tacos until you’re ready to eat!), but crowd-pleasing enough to serve at your next family gathering! So, without further ado, we bring you everything you need to know (from ingredients to storage tips) about these flavorful tacos!
How to Make Easy Shredded BBQ Chicken
Well, folks, it’s EASY! I bet you could’ve guessed that though – we love easy over here! Instead of actually grilling the chicken, we’re going to make some simple shredded BBQ chicken. We’re giving instructions for the Instant Pot, slow cooker, and stovetop, so no matter what your preferred cooking method is, you won’t go without these tasty BBQ chicken tacos. To get started, all you’ll need are chicken thighs or breasts, and your favorite BBQ sauce.
What’s the best barbecue sauce to use for these tacos?
Any BBQ sauce will work here, and it’s up to you whether you want to make this an easy weeknight meal with pre-made BBQ sauce, or if you want to go the extra mile and use homemade! Either way, here are our favorite options:
- Homemade: Our Easy Homemade Paleo BBQ Sauce recipe
- Unsweetened: Primal Kitchen Foods Unsweetened BBQ Sauce
- Refined Sugar-Free: The Date Lady Organic BBQ Sauce
- Spicy: Annie’s Organic Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce
Should I use chicken breasts or chicken thighs?
The choice is yours! My personal preference is chicken thighs. Since they are higher in fat, they retain more moisture and don’t dry out easily. However, chicken breasts and tenders will also shred easily and taste great here as well – so use whatever you have on hand!
How to Make BBQ Chicken in the Instant Pot
We LOVE the Instant Pot, y’all! It’s quick, easy, and truly a lifesaver on busy nights. Here’s what you’ll need to do if you chose to go the IP route:
- Place the chicken breasts or thighs + BBQ sauce in the Instant Pot.
- Cook on high pressure. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, double-check that the pressure valve is set to ‘sealing,’ and set the IP to cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
- Shred the chicken. Once the time is up, manually release the pressure (turn the pressure valve from ‘sealing’ to ‘venting’), and remove the lid. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot, shred it with two forks (OR the paddle attachment on a stand mixer), and add it back to the IP to soak in all of the BBQ-y goodness!
Slow Cooker Method
This is a great method if you’re out and about for the day, or just prefer to let your kitchen slowly fill with the mouthwatering aroma of BBQ chicken (kind of kidding, but kind of not!)
- Add BBQ sauce + chicken to the slow cooker.
- Cook! Set the slow cooker to cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or high heat for 3-4 hours, until chicken pulls apart easily with a fork.
- Shred the chicken. Once it can be easily shredded, remove the chicken from the slow cooker, shred it with two forks (OR the paddle attachment on a stand mixer), and then add it back into the slow cooker with the BBQ sauce!
If you don’t have an Instant Pot or slow cooker (or if you just prefer cooking on the stovetop), don’t fear! We’ve got you covered with these stovetop instructions!
- Sear the chicken. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts or thighs to the hot pan, sear on one side for approximately 3 minutes, then flip the chicken over to sear for an additional minute on the other side.
- Cover with chicken broth + simmer. Cover the seared chicken with chicken broth, place a lid on the pan and let the chicken simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Shred the chicken. Pull the chicken from the liquid and place in a large bowl. Using two forks (OR the paddle attachment on a stand mixer), shred the chicken.
How to Make Black Bean and Corn Salsa
This is, essentially, a chop, slice, and mix situation! Here’s what you’ll need:
Black Bean & Corn Salsa Ingredients
- Black Beans – rinse one can of black beans, and…
- Corn – …one can of corn!
- Red Onion – then, finely slice a ¼ cup of red onion, and…
- Jalapeno – …finely chop 1 jalapeno.
- Cilantro – chop up ½ cup of cilantro, and…
- Limes – …juice two limes!
Combine all of the prepared ingredients in a bowl, add a pinch of sea salt, and mix well!
How to Assemble BBQ Chicken Tacos
I love these BBQ chicken tacos on a toasted tortilla (I just used the flame on my stovetop for this). Once toasted, scoop in some shredded BBQ chicken, top with the black bean & corn salsa, and enjoy!
How to Heat Tortillas
For this recipe, we chose to use corn tortillas, but you can absolutely use flour tortillas or our favorite grain-free tortillas from Siete Foods! Whichever method you choose, here’s how to heat your tortillas.
- Open Flame Method: This is our favorite method because A – it produces beautiful tortillas and B – the flavor of flame-heated tortillas can’t be matched! For this method, heat your gas flame to medium heat, then place the tortilla directly over the flame for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the tortilla is browned and begins to fluff up, then flip and heat for an additional 30 seconds.
- Pan-Heated Method: If you don’t have a gas range, don’t worry – you can still get great tortillas! For this method, place a cast iron pan or comal over medium-high heat and let it heat for 3-5 minutes. Once you’re ready to warm the tortillas, reduce the heat to medium and place one tortilla on the pan. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the tortilla is browned and begins to fluff up, then flip and heat for an additional 30 seconds.
You can also use a regular pan here, but cast iron helps you get those crispy browned bits that make tortillas so yummy!
These modifications result in an equally tasty end product, so feel free to adapt as needed!
Slaw Instead of Salsa
Instead of topping your BBQ chicken tacos with the black bean & corn salsa, you can use slaw as a topper! Here are a few of our favorites:
Feel free to top your tacos to your liking! The options are endless, but here are some guaranteed-to-be-delicious ideas:
- Cubed Avocado
- Grilled Veggies
- Queso Fresco
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Sour Cream
- Diced Tomatoes
- Shredded Lettuce
Make BBQ Chicken Bowls Instead of Tacos
If you are out of tortillas, or would just prefer to eat this burrito bowl style, scoop your BBQ chicken onto a bed of white rice (here’s why we choose white over brown!) and top with the black bean & corn salsa and any extra toppings of choice!
How to Store BBQ Chicken Tacos
The shredded BBQ chicken and black bean & corn salsa should be stored separately in airtight containers (these glass ones are our favorites!) in the fridge. Stored this way, the BBQ chicken + salsa should stay good for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to eat, assemble the tacos + enjoy!
Just for You
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For the BBQ Chicken:
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders, or thighs
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- Salt to taste
For the Black Bean & Corn Salsa
- 1, 15- ounce can black beans rinsed
- 1, 15- ounce can corn rinsed, or 1 3/4 cup fresh or frozen and defrosted corn kernels
- 1/4 cup red onion diced
- 1 jalapeno de-seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro chopped
- 2 limes juiced, about 4 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 to tortillas warmed (we used corn)
- Lime wedges
- Make the BBQ ChickenInstant Pot Method:Place the chicken, 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in the Instant Pot, then seal the lid and set to cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. Once the timer goes off, manually release the pressure and remove the chicken from the liquid, then shred with two forks or the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Mix the chicken with the remaining 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce, add salt if needed, and set aside.Slow Cooker Method:Place the chicken and BBQ sauce (the full cup) in a slow cooker and set to cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4, until the chicken pulls apart easily with a fork. Once done, shred with two forks or the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, add salt if needed, and set aside.Stovetop Method:Place the chicken in a large skillet with matching lid and cover with 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce, then add water until the chicken is just covered (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups). Turn the heat to medium and place the lid on the skillet. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes, until chicken pulls apart easily with a fork. Remove the chicken from the liquid and shred with two forks or the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Toss with the additional 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce, then add salt if needed and set aside.
- Make the black bean and corn salsa: Add all of the salsa ingredients to a small bowl and stir until fully combined.
- Place chicken in a warmed tortilla, then top with the salsa and serve with lime wedges!