It all started because I was craving a spicy barbecue chicken sandwich. I searched through Pinterest and couldn’t find what I wanted. All of the recipes called for cooked, shredded chicken to be tossed with barbecue sauce, similar to pulled pork. Tasty, sure, but not what I wanted. I decided to come up with my own spicy barbecue chicken sandwich recipe. It may be the best idea I’ve ever had.
Spicy barbecue chicken sandwich recipe
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- barbecue sauce (Bottled sauce is fine, but it is easy to make at home. I’m partial to Half Baked Harvest.)
- all-purpose flour
- Italian breadcrumbs
- oil, for cooking
- hamburger buns (I sometimes make King Arthur buns, but store-bought work fine.)
- lettuce, tomato, etc. for garnish (optional)
Step 1: marinating the chicken
The first time I made this, I just tossed three whole chicken breasts in a glass container and covered them with barbecue sauce. They turned out to be a bit big for sandwiches. To make them reasonable sized, butterfly each breast so that it is half as thick. If your pieces are really large, you can probably also cut them in half. Each breast will make 2 or 4 pieces, depending on size. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Step 2: breading the chicken
Set up a dredging station. You need two containers that are large enough to fit a piece of chicken. I usually use my 9-inch round cake pans. In one container, put about a cup or so of flour. In the other, about the same amount of breadcrumbs. You can always add more later if needed.
Take each piece of chicken out of the marinading container and dredge it through the flour, coating all sides. Repeat the process with each piece. Next, dredge them all through the breadcrumbs.
Step 3: cooking the chicken
Put enough oil in a skillet to cover the bottom about a half-inch deep and heat it to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook until the bottom is golden and crispy. Flip the chicken pieces and cook until that side is also crispy and the meat is cooked through. If you pounded the chicken flat in the beginning, this part will only take about 10 minutes. I check for doneness by cutting into a piece, but there’s probably a smarter way to do it.
If your oil is properly heated before you add the chicken pieces, they won’t absorb much oil. When the chicken is done, place the pieces on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any extra. For a healthier alternative, you could bake them in the oven.
Step 4: serving the chicken
Toast the buns until they are just starting to crisp. For each sandwich, layer a piece of chicken and top with the garnish of your choice. They’re pretty tasty on their own, but a little lettuce, tomato, and pickle is good too. Serve with vinaigrette coleslaw, homemade french fries, or your favorite picnic sides.
This is a bit more work that I like to do on a weeknight. It makes a great weekend supper though. Perfect for a lazy Saturday while watching a movie or football game. If you try it, I’d love to know what you think.
Edit: My recipe was featured in the August 2014 issue of All You magazine!