Secret Recipe Club: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Classic BBQ Chicken Sandwiches filled with tender pieces of shredded chicken in a tangy vinegar-based North Carolina style barbecue sauce.

Happy Labor Day to my friends (and family) in the US! But that's not the only thing we're celebrating today. The first Monday of a the month means it's also time for another installment of The Secret Recipe Club. Every month I'm assigned a new food blog from which I choose a recipe or two to cook and share here in my cocina on reveal day. This month my assignment is Cupcake Muffinwritten by Sara who has been blogging for 8 years. One thing that really stood out to me about Sara's well-written blog is a list of menus that she's currently cooking her way through. The list of menus was recently given to her by her mom, but they were originally written by her great-grandmother, and has been passed down from generation to generation. Isn't that incredible?!

In the 8 years she's been sharing recipes, Sara has amassed quite an extensive collection of recipes from which to choose. Everything looks and sounds so delicious it was difficult narrowing my choices down to just one recipe. A few that caught my eye were her Zucchini-Sweet Potato Quick Bread, Oatmeal Griddle Cakes w/ Honey Greek Yogurt, Jam & Honey Muffins, and Apple Cinnamon Flapjacks (perfect for fall)

I ended up choosing these North Carolina Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches because it sounded like my kind of laid-back Labor Day meal. BBQ chicken sandwiches are always a hit with my family, but most of the time I take the easy route and use bottled barbecue sauce. But the main reason I wanted to try this recipe was because of the vinegar-based BBQ sauce. Years ago I attempted to make a cooked vinegar BBQ sauce recipe that ended with disastrous results, and completely turned me off from wanting to try again. But this sounded like just the recipe to redeem myself and maybe even change my mind about this kind of BBQ sauce.

I ended up making a few changes to the original recipe, like substituting pickled jalapeño juice for some of the apple cider vinegar to add a little spice because I had to omit a few spices that I couldn't find here in town.

I am SO glad I tried this recipe. The sauce was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, and oh-so-deliciously tangy! It reminded me of all the finger-lickin' good barbecue I used to eat at the Labor Day cookouts I attended with my mom when she worked as a grill master. I poured the sauce over shredded chicken breast, but next time I'm going to bake it over chicken thighs or drumstics and eat them whole.

Thank you, Sara, for sharing this recipe that completely changed my mind about vinegar-based BBQ sauces.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (North Carolina Style) 
(recipe adapted from Cupcake Muffin)

For the sauce:
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup pickled jalapeño juice
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 4 cups shredded chicken breast (cooked)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Hamburger buns
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced tomato 

Prepare barbecue sauce in a medium bowl by mixing together the cider vinegar, pickled jalapeño juice, ketchup, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cumin, chile powder, thyme, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and barbecue sauce and cook until sauce begins to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes.

Ladle shredded chicken on toasted hamburger buns. Garnish with sliced avocado and tomato. Enjoy!

Receta en español

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