Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Open-Faced Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Recipe updated June 2015

Call this a modified (or deconstructed) southern barbecue sandwich—open faced, instead of on a bun; chicken, instead of beef or pork; and coleslaw on the side, instead of mounded on top. The key here is delicious homemade barbecue sauce and slow-cooked chicken thighs tender enough to pull into juicy shreds and toss with the bold, spicy sauce.

Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients in the sauce. They’re simple, common, and every one worth it.

The coleslaw side is optional, but for a recipe, check out Southern Beef Barbecue Sandwiches with Creamy Coleslaw. 

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chile, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp bottled hot sauce
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 3 lbs)
  • 4 3 X 4-inch pieces of focaccia, each halved horizontally and toasted
  • coleslaw, for serving (optional)
Chicken Thighs Ready to Braise
Sliced Focaccia Ready to Toast
  1. Preheat the oven to 225° F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven (or large, deep, ovenproof skillet with a tight-fitting lid) over medium heat and add the oil. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and onion and sauté 3 minutes. 
  3. Add the next 10 ingredients (through cumin) and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring well to combine, 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken thighs, nestling down into the sauce. Cover the pan and braise in the oven 2 hours.
Garlic, Jalapeno, and Onion
Sauce Beginning to Cook 
Nestle the Thighs into the Sauce 
After 1 Hour
Braised Chicken in Sauce
  1. Transfer the chicken thighs to a large plate, letting excess sauce drip back into the pot. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Allow the barbecue sauce to cool as well. Pull the meat from the bones into shreds. (Discard bones.)
  2. Skim as much fat as possible from the cooled sauce. Return the shredded meat to the pan and cook over medium heat 10 minutes to reduce the sauce and thicken a bit. 
Let the Chicken Cool
Shredded Chicken Returned to Sauce
To serve, place 1 piece of toasted focaccia on each of 4 plates. Spoon barbecue chicken on top of each and serve with coleslaw alongside, if desired.

Open-Faced Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

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