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Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

1 Hr, 45 Mins


2 Quarts Cold Water

1/3 Cup Kosher Salt, plus 1 tsp

3 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

4 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

3/4 Cup Ketchup

1/4 Cup Apple Juice

1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar

3 Tbsp Jalapeño Jam

2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp Honey

2 Tbsp Molasses

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tbsp Hot Sauce

5/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Chili Powder

1/8 tsp Cumin

6 Slices Provolone Cheese

4 Martin's Sandwich Potato Rolls

2 Tbsp Butter, softened

2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

1 Red Onion, thinly sliced

4 Leaves Red Leaf Lettuce, washed and dried

Serves: 4


Step 1

Place one chicken breast in a resealable plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat pounder, rolling pin, or small skillet, pound chicken breast into an even thickness about 3/4-inches in height. Repeat with remaining 3 breasts.

Step 2

To make the brine:

In a medium bowl whisk together water, 1/3 cup kosher salt, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, and 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar until solids are dissolved. Place chicken breasts in brine and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken back in fridge until ready to grill.

Step 3

To make the glaze:

Whisk together ketchup, apple juice, cider vinegar, jalapeño jam, maple syrup, honey, 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, and garlic powder in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce has slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 4

To make the bacon rub:

Mix together 1 Tbsp sugar, chili powder, cumin, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Lay bacon out on a plate and sprinkle with rub on both side.

Step 5

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Lay bacon on cool side of the grill, cover, and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove to a plate and break bacon strips in half.

Step 6

Place chicken over hot side of grill and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until second side is browned. Move chicken to cool side of grill and brush all over with barbecue glaze. Top each chicken breast with one slice of provolone cheese. Cover and continue to cook until cheese has melted and meat register 160°F on an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of breast, about 5 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Step 7

Lightly butter cut sides of potato rolls. Place rolls over hot side of grill, cut side down, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute; transfer to a tray. Top each bun with a chicken breast, tomato, onion, lettuce, and bacon and serve immediately with remaining barbecue glaze.

Recipe and Picture by Joshua Bousel
of Serious Eats