Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

There’s something about this sandwich that just screamed picnic to me, so I packed this up with a honey-lime fruit salad and a honey mustard brussels sprouts slaw, and took it to a quasi-picnic at a brewery with my fiancee. It was amazing, and the extra chicken we cooked made a perfect lunch later in the week. The BBQ glaze is amazing, and would work just as well on pork or even fish. The bacon rub? Well, it makes bacon even better, and that’s saying something.

First place the chicken in a plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound flat with a meat pounder or small skillet (don’t use your nice rolling pin, this could break it), and pound the chicken breasts into an even thickness of about 3/4 inches in height.

Next, brine your chicken. Bring water, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to a simmer. Stir until all salt and sugar is dissolved, then let cool. Add chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from brine, rinse well, and pat dry with paper towels.

Finally, we get to the part where I started taking photos! To make the glaze, combine ketchup, apple juice, cider vinegar, maple syrup, honey, dark brown sugar, molasses, Worchestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and garlic power in a small or medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

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Meanwhile, mix together the sugar, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne for the bacon rub in a small bowl.

Prepare a 2-zone grill, with medium-high direct heat on one side. Place the chicken breasts over the direct heat for 3 minutes a side until browned. Place the bacon strips on the indirect side and cook until crispy.

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Once browned, move chicken breasts to indirect heat and brush with bbq glaze, then top with cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese has melted and the meat registers 160°F on an instant read thermometer set in the center of the breast, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

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Lightly butter the cut sides of your buns and grill them, briefly, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Top each bun with a chicken breast, bacon, tomato, and lettuce, and serve immediately with remaining glaze.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
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Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats
Course Sandwich
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Author Cooking Madly

Ingredients

  • For the Brine
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • For the BBQ Glaze
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic power
  • For the Bacon Rub
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 4 burger buns
  • 2 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 roma tomatoes sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 4 leaves lettuce washed and dried

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken in a plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound flat with a meat pounder or small skillet (don't use your nice rolling pin, this could break it), and pound the chicken breasts into an even thickness of about 3/4 inches in height.
  2. Bring water, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to a simmer. Stir until all salt and sugar is dissolved, then let cool. Add chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from brine, rinse well, and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Combine ketchup, apple juice, cider vinegar, maple syrup, honey, dark brown sugar, molasses, Worchestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and garlic power in a small or medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the sugar, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne for the bacon rub in a small bowl. Sprinkle rub on both sides of bacon.
  5. Prepare a 2-zone grill, with medium-high direct heat on one side. Place the chicken breasts over the direct heat for 3 minutes a side until browned. Place the bacon strips on the indirect side and cook until crispy.
  6. Once browned, move chicken breasts to indirect heat and brush with bbq glaze, then top with cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese has melted and the meat registers 160°F on an instant read thermometer set in the center of the breast, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Lightly butter the cut sides of your buns and grill them, briefly, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Top each bun with a chicken breast, bacon, tomato, and lettuce, and serve immediately with remaining glaze.

 

 

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