Sweet and Spicy Chicken Sandwiches | Grilling

Joshua Bousel

It's common to find me lamenting the all too often dry and flavorless skinless boneless chicken grilled breasts (I put my stock in juicy thighs). I hardly ever give chicken breasts a thought when planning barbecue menus, but while down in Alabama last fall, pitmaster Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q served a sweet glazed chicken breast sandwich that was so stellar that it made me question my stubborn avoidance of this piece of poultry.

The recipe for these impressive chicken sandwiches may seem to have a lot of ingredients and steps, but the entirety isn't all that bad and it's all well worth it. First, the brine ensures the breasts are moist, then a barbecue glaze gives them their sweet and spicy character. Sugar and chili-rubbed bacon is the icing on the cake, adding a bit of crispness and saltiness. Put these all together on a buttered and toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, and onion, and I dare anyone to say a bad word about them.

Even after over-stuffing myself with one of these sandwiches, ribs, and smoked pork shoulder, I couldn't resist the draw of eating a second at a barbecue last weekend—they're really just that good, and that's saying a lot coming from a guy who's usually a chicken breast naysayer.