This isn’t a recipe for leftover BBQ chicken. It’s for excess BBQ sauce that’s so good that I wanted to devise ways to use it that didn’t necessarily involve grilling. And I came up with this sandwich filling that’s just perfect for summer.
But isn’t just a matter of stirring shredded chicken into BBQ sauce. The process involves a little more work than that to make sure that the shredded chicken meat isn’t just wet with sauce. That would be awful texture so we do things to prevent that from happening.
In this chicken BBQ sandwiches recipe, shredded chicken meat is cooked with onions and butter until the meat has absorbed the fat. The BBQ sauce is poured in and everything is cooked with some stirring until the sauce has been soaked up, the oil separates from the solids and caramelization is visible. By that time, you have succulent chicken rather than dry shreds.
You start with thinly slice onions that need to cook un butter gently just until limp.
The shredded chicken is added, more butter is thrown in, and the chicken cook with the onions until the pan juices have moistened those dry shreds of meat.
Now, that beautiful excess BBQ sauce. Pour it in and stir until every shred of chicken has acquired its color. That means the meat has already started soaking up the sauce. But you don’t stop there.
You keep cooking and stirring until the shredded chicken caramelizes and the solids have begun to separate from the fat. The ideal stage for me is when no sauce drips as you lift the chicken. Only fat (that’s butter) should drip off. That’s when the chicken is ready to be used as sandwich filling.
Chicken BBQ sandwiches
Chicken BBQ filling
- 500 grams skinless chicken breast fillets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 onions
- ½ cup butter - divided
- ½ cup BBQ sauce - store-bought or homemade (teriyaki sauce simmered until reduced by half is especially good)
- 8 ciabatta - mini baguettes are good too
- ¼ cup mayo
- 2 cups finely sliced lettuce
Cook the chicken BBQ filling
- In a large shallow pan, pour in enough water to reach a depth of three inches.
- Stir in the salt and bring the water to the boil.
- Slide in the chicken breast fillets in a single layer.
- When the water comes to a boil once more, set the heat to low, cover the pan and poach the chicken for ten minutes.
- Scoop out the chicken, transfer to a plate and cool for about ten minutes.
- Tear the cooked chicken breast fillets into shreds.
- Peel the onions and slice thinly.
- In a frying pan, melt half of the butter.
- Spread the onion slices in the hot butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, just until they go limp.
- Add the shredded chicken to the onions. Cook, tossing, until the chicken meat has absorbed the butter and pan juices.
- Add the rest of the butter and cook, tossing, until absorbed by the chicken meat.
- Pour the BBQ sauce over the chicken and mix well.
- Cook the chicken with the BBQ sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, and the oil separates from the meat.
Assemble the chicken BBQ sandwiches
- Toast the ciabatta and split each one horizontally.
- Spread mayo on the bottom halves and top with shredded lettuce.
- Take the top halves, place the upside down and spread chicken BBQ filling on all of them.
- Carefully invert the top halves of the bread on the bottom halves to complete the sandwiches.