Photo: Raymond Hom; Styling: Pamela Duncan Silver
Hands-on Time
20 Mins
Total Time
40 Mins
8 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

Dinner guests are guaranteed to be impressed with this deceptively easy Pulled Chicken Sandwich recipe, which includes a seven-ingredient rub and a simple 15-minute sauce that comes together while the chicken grills. Serve on buns, over fresh greens, or on top of a baked potato for a filling dinner.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Step 2

To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients; rub evenly over chicken. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 180°, turning occasionally. Let stand for 5 minutes. Shred with 2 forks.

Step 3

To prepare sauce, while chicken grills, heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and next 5 ingredients (through ground red pepper); cook 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken; cook 2 minutes.

Step 4

Place 1/3 cup chicken mixture on bottom half of each bun; top each with 2 pickle chips and top of bun.

Chef's Notes

The chicken and sauce can be made up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

Also appeared in: Cooking Light, June, 2006

Ratings & Reviews

Where's the slow cooker version?

August 28, 2016
This recipe is promoted under Cooking Light's "100+ Slow Cooker Recipes." Yet the recipe says nothing about cooking it in a slow cooker.... Am I missing something here?

Tried and true!

July 06, 2015
We've made this easy recipe several times and it's always a favorite for the whole family. The sauce is amazing - sweet and spicy! I followed the recipe exactly as written, but prefer to use chicken breast. We like it best on Hawaiian rolls and serve it with cole slaw and potato salad. It's even great as leftovers. :)

OxyJen's Review

August 10, 2014
I made this almost exactly to the recipe. My only substitutions were dijon mustard (~2 tsp) in place of dry mustard and a clove of minced garlic instead of garlic powder for the sauce (if you do this, put them in when you add the ketchup and other wet ingredients) and I used bakery fresh kaiser rolls instead of hamburger buns. My entire family (kids age 8 and 5, plus two adults) loved these sandwiches, and that's rare.

brenro's Review

July 05, 2014
Just wow. I wasn't expecting this to be this good and it was absolutely fantastic and so easy. I topped the sandwiches with the tequila slaw with lime and cilantro from the August 2013 issue instead of the called for pickles. This is going into our regular warm weather weekday rotation.

1emeraldcook's Review

May 17, 2014
Very nice BBQ sandwiches. Internal temp of 180 degrees is way to high. USDA in 2006 said that internal temp of 165 degrees produces a much juicier piece of chicken and is safe at that temp. I did my thighs over indirect coals for 25 min and then placed over direct coals for about 90 sec each side. The sauce and rub does have some wonderful character about it. Don't forget get the pickles!

daneanp's Review

April 15, 2014
Fantastic flavor! The whole family loved this meal. I only needed enough for 3 so I halved the chicken but kept the sauce as written so the chicken was really coated well. Tater tots and sliced tomatoes and avocado complimented the meal.

WildGirl89's Review

March 09, 2014

ahatfield's Review

February 20, 2014
I can't rave about this recipe enough. I tripled it for a large party, and I did not change a thing, and it was perfect. The thigh meat is so tender and flavorful, and the rub and sauce are fantastic together. I served it on handburger buns with Wickles and a spicy slaw (also from CL). The leftovers were great, and it froze wonderfully. As the recipe suggests, it's also great on potatoes - that's how the frozen leftovers ended up being repurposed.

sukeedog's Review

February 15, 2014

AngelGunn's Review

November 17, 2013