Smoky Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

smoky-barbecue-chicken-sandwich-33

Like most southerners, we enjoy us some good barbecue around our house. Greg smokes a Boston butt that would win first place at barbecue cook-offs everywhere. Wes enjoys smoking ribs, and his method is flawless. Savannah and I have several homemade barbecue sauce recipes that we keep on hand too.

Barbecue chicken is not one of our specialties, though. That is, until recently when I tried a new barbecue sauce recipe. It’s a smoky sauce with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that tastes amazing! It is the number one flavor that I am craving these days.

We have been eating this sauce on everything since I saw Valerie’s Home Cooking.  We have had it on Barbecue Nachos, barbecue burgers, barbecue shrimp, and on these delicious Barbecue Grilled Chicken Sandwiches.

Another important step, not to be skipped, in making these mouth-watering sandwiches is the brining of the chicken. In my opinion, there is no better Thanksgiving turkey than a brined turkey. I don’t fry chicken often but when I do you can bet I will brine it first.

The salt in a brine allows the chicken to retain moisture. A couple of things to remember when you brine chicken are first, try to use kosher salt or sea salt. Also, do not brine the chicken over two hours. It can get rubbery when overbrined.

 

Smoky Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • Brine:
  • ¼ c. coarse salt
  • ¼ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 20 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 c. hot water plus 3 c. cold water
  • 1 lemon, thinlhy sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a cleaver
  • Smoky Barbecue Sauce:
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 lg. or 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • ½ c. molasses
  • ⅓ c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, seeded and roughly chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grilled Chicken:
  • 2 lg. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half vertically, then cut into thin cutlets, horizontally
  • 4 lg. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Buns
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced Colby Jack cheese
  • Additional Barbecue sauce, if desired
Instructions
  1. To make the brine: Place the salt, brown sugar, and peppercorns in a large glass bowl and add hot water. Whisk until the salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Stir in the cold water and let cool to room temperature. Pour the brine over the chicken and stir in the lemon slices, onion, and garlic. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let stand in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning the chicken once of twice.
  2. To make the barbecue sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook about 30 seconds. Add ½ c. water and the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, chipotles, a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store the sauce in the refrigerator.
  3. To grill the chicken: Preheat the grill to high. When ready to cook, brush the grate with oil. Arrange the chicken on the hot grate and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F. During the last 2 minutes or so, start basting the chicken on both sides with barbecue sauce. Remove chicken from grill and assemble sandwiches right away.

 

 

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