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The Perfect Dish for Your Summer BBQ: Smoked Pulled Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

The Perfect Dish for Your Summer BBQ: Smoked Pulled Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Get ready for a mouthwatering meal with this smoked pulled barbecue chicken sandwich recipe from Rubs (Third Edition). The combination of spicy and tangy flavors make this dish a crowd-pleaser, perfect for any summer gathering. The marinade for the chicken breasts creates a depth of flavor that is enhanced by the smoky flavor added during the grilling process. Paired with a homemade barbecue sauce, this sandwich will be a hit with anyone lucky enough to try it. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to make this delicious meal.

Makes 4-6 Servings | Active Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 10 Hours


  • 2-3 cups hickory or oak wood chips
  • Cast-iron skillet

Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco™
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 2 to 3 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 hamburger buns

Barbecue Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup white onion, minced
  • ½ medium shallot, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Fresh sea salt 


  1. In a large bowl, mix the chili powder, cayenne pepper, Tabasco, and chile powder, then add the chicken breasts. Rub the spices over the chicken and then place the bowl in the refrigerator. Let marinate for 2-12 hours, the longer the better.
  2. An hour before grilling, add the wood chips to a bowl of water and let soak. At the same time, prepare your gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Place a cast-iron skillet on the grill while heating so that it develops a faint smoky flavor.
  3. When the grill is ready, at about 350-400F with the coals lightly covered with ash, scatter half of the wood chips over the coals and then place the chicken breasts on the grill. Cover the grill, aligning the air vent away from the wood chips so that their smoke rolls around the chicken breasts before escaping. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes on each side and then remove from the grill. Transfer the chicken to a large cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes, and then shred the chicken with a fork in each hand. Set aside.
  4. Scatter the remaining wood chips over the coals and add the clarified butter to the skillet. When hot, add the garlic, onion, and shallot and sauté until the garlic is golden and the onion and shallot are translucent. Add the crushed tomatoes, vinegar, honey, pepper, and salt and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the barbecue sauce has thickened. Mix in the chicken and reduce heat. Cook for 5 more minutes and then remove from heat.
  5. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes to properly absorb the sauce, then serve on warm buns.

This recipe pairs perfectly with a simple red cabbage slaw! Serve it on the side or in your sandwich for a delightful flavor combination. 

          Looking for more ideas to spice things up in the kitchen? Rubs (Third Edition) has over 175 recipes for rubs, marinades, glazes, and bastes that will help you create your own signature concoctions to wow your guests. The book also includes a guide to flavor profiles and the types of proteins on which each one works best, as well as directions for using the appropriate rub, marinade, glaze, or baste depending on how you are planning to cook your food. So fire up the grill and get ready to take your cooking to the next level!