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Usually I will just cook it and then tear it to pieces using two forks, but this is still pretty time consuming. Are there any secret ways to easily do this?

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7 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Once it's cooled down some, I switch to using my hands ... expecially as it helps to find any bones, globs of fat, etc. I find it goes much faster, particularly if you're dealing with anything other than boneless breast meat.

... but it shreds easiest while it's still warm, so if I'm doing a fair bit, I'll break a bit apart using forks, let that cool, break some more apart with a fork, then shread the first bit before it cools too much, repeat. (so basically, I have one set broken down somewhat to cool faster while I'm shreding an already-cooled off bit).

update as justkt mentioned, the cooking method matters -- roasting and other high heat methods are going to cook the outside faster than the inside. I typically poach my chicken if I'm going to be shreding it -- bring water to a boil, add chicken, bring back to a boil, turn to low, then leave for an hour or two ... the low temp gets it all nice and tender, while the boiling kills surface bacteria.

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Sometimes getting your hands dirty is the best way! –  Chris Sep 14 '10 at 14:46
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Boiling the chicken is the easiest cooking method to prep for shredding. Searing and baking make it a lot more difficult.

I too go with a combination of the two forks and hands (depending on what seems easier at the moment) method.

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Good point on the cooking method -- I poach mine. –  Joe Sep 14 '10 at 21:16
    
@Joe - noticed a related question says to simmer in a crock pot on low, which sounds similar to your method. –  justkt Sep 14 '10 at 22:09
    
Similar, but I like to start it boiling, to kill surface bacteria. The low heat, however, gives you a wider range to keep from overcooking the chicken, so it comes out soft & easy to shred. –  Joe Sep 14 '10 at 22:36
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I just use my hand mixer while it's still hot takes me about 30 seconds!

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That sounds like a novel approach. Would you mind sharing specifics Kristi? –  hobodave Oct 11 '12 at 5:27
    
Presumably fairly similar to Bri's suggestion of using a stand mixer. –  Jefromi Oct 12 '12 at 18:07
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I recently picked up a pair of Bear Paw Meat Handlers and they actually work quite well for this if you can't wait for the meat to cool down. Hope this helps someone!

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i read a chefs reply on another site suggesting you use a stand mixer. put the meat in with the paddle attachment and pulse for a few seconds at a time til shredded

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If I'm shredding it for soup (mmm, tortilla soup), I just use a stick blender.

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Boil the chicken and then shred it with two forks.

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There are already two answers which say this. –  Jefromi Oct 12 '12 at 18:06
    
The original question even says this.... –  Abe Miessler Mar 1 at 7:46
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