There’s nothing better than a delicious twist on a classic dish, and this BBQ chicken version of a pulled pork sandwich definitely hits the mark. The chicken is saucy and rich, slow cooked in the oven with onions and garlic, but it’s the freshly made coleslaw that will really make your taste buds tingle. The jalapenos add the heat, the cilantro cools things down, and a squeeze of zesty, fresh lime helps bring out all the brightness and vibrancy of these flavorful ingredients.
This week’s dish: BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Jalapeno Cilantro Coleslaw
Why we like it:
This sandwich is perfect for a lazy weekend when you have time to let things simmer and slow cook to perfection. But don’t worry, this dish is totally worth the time it takes, and you’ll have plenty left over for later.
For the coleslaw:
3 cups green cabbage, shredded
3 cups red cabbage, shredded
2-3 jalapeno peppers
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
½ cup milk
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp white sugar
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the sandwich:
Drizzle of olive oil
6 chicken thighs
1 head of garlic
1 large onion, sliced
1 bottle of barbeque sauce
1 cup old or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 Kaiser rolls
Butter, for brushing on rolls
Start with your coleslaw so the flavors can mingle while you prepare the rest of the meal. You’ll need to shred your red and green cabbage, which can be done with a food processor, cheese grater, or simply with a good kitchen knife. If you want to skip the time, effort, and potential mess of shredding the cabbage yourself, head to our produce department and pick up a bag of prepared coleslaw mix, like the 3-color Deli Cole Slaw, Angel Hair Cole Slaw, or Old Fashioned Cole Slaw, all made by Fresh Express.
Combine the green and red cabbage in a large bowl.
Dice your jalapenos. If you hold the pepper upright by the stem and slice downward you can cut cleanly around the middle section and completely avoid dealing with the spicy seeds! Add the jalapenos to the cabbage.
Combine the milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and cayenne pepper, and whisk well.
Pour the sauce over the cabbage and jalapenos and stir well. Cover the coleslaw and keep in the fridge until the chicken is cooked.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and heat some oil over medium-high heat in an ovenproof pot. Prepare your garlic by cutting off the bottoms to make them easier to peel, but leave the cloves whole.
Thinly slice your onion and set aside.
Season your chicken with a little salt and pepper, and place the pieces in the pot, trying to brown all sides as much as possible.
Remove the chicken from the pot and pour out the excess oil and fat.
Add the onions and garlic to the pot, along with the barbeque sauce (hickory smoked sauce adds an extra rich smokiness to the flavor) and place the chicken back in the pot. Stir everything well so the chicken, onions, and garlic and coated in the sauce.
Place the lid on the pot and cook in the oven for about 1½ hours or until the chicken is falling off the bone and the sauce is bubbling. The cooking time can vary, so if you find the chicken isn’t falling apart after the time specified, turn the heat up to 400 degrees and cook for another 30 minutes or so. Remove the chicken thighs from the sauce and allow them to cool slightly before pulling the meat from the bone and shredding it with forks.
Return the chicken to the pot and stir back into the sauce. Place the pot back in the oven without the lid and broil on high for about 10 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. This will really make the sauce get gooey and sticky.
Remove the pot from the oven and set aside while you finish the coleslaw and prepare to build your sandwich. Grate your cheese and set that aside as well.
Roughly chop your cilantro, toss it into the bowl of coleslaw, and stir it in.
Slice your lime in half and squeeze the juice over the slaw. Mix well.
The final step is the rolls. You can serve them soft, but they are so much better toasted! Brush both sides with butter and place on a large baking sheet in the oven. Broil on high for a few minutes on each side to quickly toast them, but you MUST watch carefully. It only takes a few seconds to go from perfectly toasted to burnt.
Load the roll with a generous serving of the BBQ chicken, making sure to get some onions and garlic cloves as well. Sprinkle on some cheese, add a heaping forkful of coleslaw, and voila!
Your delicious BBQ chicken sandwich awaits!