Smoky Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

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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
 
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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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Venison Steaks in Sweet-Sour Sauce

It’s no secret that I live with two men who love to hunt.  They expect me to cook up something wonderful with what they kill so I am always on the hunt for new recipes.  To be honest, I will not eat all cuts of wild game meat and when I do I prefer a sauce on it.  The sauce just seems to help cover up any wild taste that it may have.

This is a great recipe from Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin.  It was really easy and quick too, which I loved!  I used the back strap for this recipe and it is a recipe I will definitely make again!

 

Venison Steaks in Sweet-Sour Sauce
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 venison loin or large tenderloin (about 1½ pounds), trimmed of fat
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. seedless raspberry jam
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ c. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chopped shallots
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. hearty red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
Instructions
  1. Cut venison into 4 steaks and using a meat pounder, pound the steaks gently until each is about ¾-inch thick. Rub the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with the thyme. Arrange the steaks in a single layer on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours before cooking.
  2. Mix the ketchup, jam, soy sauce, and water together in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. When you are ready to cook the steaks, heat the oven to 160 degrees.
  4. Heat the peanut oil and 1 tbsp. of the butter in a large heavy skillet until hot. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper, place them in the skillet, and sauté over medium-high heat for 2 to 2½ minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to an ovenproof plate, leaving the drippings in the pan, and keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce.
  5. Add the shallots to the drippings and sauté for about 20 seconds. Add the vinegar and wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1½ minutes. Add the jam mixture and mix well, then stir in the remaining 1 tbsp. butter. Boil for 10 seconds, then strain through a fine strainer.
  6. Place a steak on plate, coat the steaks with the sauce, and serve.
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