Smoked Turkey Barbecue Sandwiches Recipe

A hot, zingy Carolina-style sauce complements the turkey and crunchy coleslaw.

Open smoked turkey barbecue sandwich topped with coleslaw.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why This Recipe Works

  • Smoked turkey works as a leaner and smokier stand-in for pulled pork while preserving the sandwich's flavors.
  • Our coleslaw delivers cool crunch without watering down the sandwich.

Carolina-style barbecue means pork, but smoked turkey is a winning stand-in when dressed in a punchy vinegar- and chile-based sauce. Sandwiched in a chewy-sweet potato roll with a creamy layer of coleslaw, it makes a well-balanced and simple substitute for the Southern classic. (If you're looking for more ways to jazz up that smoked turkey, use it in place of bacon in a collard greens braise or toss it in a pot of red beans and rice.)

November 2014

Recipe Details

Smoked Turkey Barbecue Sandwiches Recipe

Active 30 mins
Total 45 mins
Serves 8 sandwiches

A hot, zingy Carolina-style sauce complements the turkey and crunchy coleslaw.


  • 1 cup cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Frank’s)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 pound smoked turkey, pulled or chopped

  • 8 steamed or toasted potato rolls

  • Creamy cole slaw


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together cider vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and salt until sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes.

  2. Heat turkey in a microwave or in a foil-covered skillet in the oven or toaster oven until warmed through. Transfer turkey to a bowl. Add sauce a few tablespoons at a time, tossing with your hands after each addition and tasting until desired level of acidity and heat is achieved.

  3. Split open potato rolls, add a small handful of turkey, then a small handful of cole slaw. Serve immediately.


The Carolina-style barbecue sauce recipe makes more than you need; leftover sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for months.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
336 Calories
10g Fat
46g Carbs
15g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 336
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 36mg 12%
Sodium 1499mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 17mg 85%
Calcium 116mg 9%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 468mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)