The “Other White Meat” ain’t got nothing on this pulled chicken sandwich.
One of the best barbequed chicken dishes has to be pulled chicken sandwiches. Although, I love a good pulled pork sandwich, now and then a pulled chicken sandwich topped with a spoonful of coleslaw really hits the spot.
The advantage to pulled chicken is the time involved in its preparation. Where a pork butt requires several hours to properly cook, a barbequed chicken breast needs only minutes.
Another advantage to pulled chicken sandwiches is the way in which they can utilize left over chicken. Store-bought rotisserie chicken leftovers are perfect. Here’s a little tip; remember all that meat left on the Thanksgiving turkey you threw out? Turkeys love to be invited to a barbeque, too.
Of course there’s the healthy eating issue as well. Some will argue that a grilled chicken breast is much more healthy for you than the “other” white meat. I was never one to get involved in the fat-free debate, yet as I try to age gracefully, I figured why not give it a try. I have to say, if done right, these pulled chicken sandwiches are mighty tasty! For an additional boost in flavor, mix a couple of boneless chicken thighs into the mix. Screw fat-free.
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Meat rub of choice
- Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
- Handful of wood smoking chips, hickory preferred
- Soak a handful of wood chips in water for 45 minutes.
- Trim the chicken of any excess fat. Using a meat tenderizing hammer, cast iron pan or a rolling pin, beat the breasts just until they're even in thickness. It's best to cover breasts with cellophane or place in a resealable freezer bag prior to flattening to avoid any splatter. The resealable freezer bag is best since we're going to add our marinade next. At this point, I like stabbing both sides of the chicken several times with a fork. This allows the oil in the dressing to better penetrate the meat for moisture and the herbs and spices add additional flavor.
- In a resealable freezer bag, add chicken and the Italian salad dressing. Seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes to a few hours. Turn a couple of times. A word of caution: Place marinating chicken in a baking dish or on a platter. Freezer bags have been known to leak. This is especially true if the breasts were flattened in it.
- Remove breasts from marinade. Lightly brush with olive oil.
- Liberally sprinkle both sides of the breasts with the meat rub. Return to refrigerator and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the grill for two-zone cooking (a hot side and a cool side) over high heat (about 450°F 235°C) Be sure your cooking grates are clean and well oiled.
- Spread the wood chips evenly over the coals or make a foil packet with pierced holes for the chips if using a gas or electric grill.
- When the chips begin to smoke, place the chicken breasts on the cool side of the grill for about 10 minutes, grill lid down. (This is the Smokin' part...Yum!)
- Move breasts directly over the fire. Grill for about 5 minutes or until breasts are evenly browned. Flip and repeat on other side. Continue to cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast registers 165°F (75°C). If the breasts begin to blacken before the desired temperature is reached, simply move them to the cool side of the grill to finish cooking.
- Remove breasts from the grill and allow to rest until cool enough to handle. Shred with two forks or pull by hand. They can also be finely chopped.
- Serve with buns, BBQ sauce and any other desired toppings.