now that’s a mouthful: smokey bbq chicken sandwich topped with north carolina coleslaw

First off, I’m not from the South (obviously) and I don’t know a helluva lot about the art of barbecue. My first real taste of a Southern barbecued meal was at a BBQ joint smack dab in the middle of my old hippy/Italian neighbourhood, Commercial Drive. The food may not have been the most authentic as the pacific northwest is a bit off-course from Kansas City, the Carolinas, or any other territory that prides themselves on some sweet ol’ BBQ…but that ‘cue was tasty.

I may not have the history or even a smoker, but I’ve got gumption. I’ve tried (to great success, I might add) my hand at making pulled pork sandwiches and this weekend I wanted to recreate some of that taste in a new way. And it all started with an article in Bon Appetit and a recipe for North Carolina coleslaw. I made the slaw the night before, intending to serve it with some pan-fried cod. While it was okay as a side dish, the slaw really needed to be a part of something meaty and spicy to get things singing. So out from the fridge I pulled some chicken thighs, seasoned them and cooked them up in the remainder of the vinegary, spicy coleslaw dressing. After the chicken was cooked and well-sauced, I deboned them, shredded the meat and put them into hamburger buns. Of course, I topped them with the North Carolina slaw. Hot-diggity, this was a tasty sandwich!

32 comments to “now that’s a mouthful: smokey bbq chicken sandwich topped with north carolina coleslaw”

  1. 1
    VeggieGirl   July 7, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    That is one stacked sandwich! :0D

  2. 2
    Judith   July 8, 2008 at 6:33 am

    One thing you might try to recreate if you ever have the time is something called a “Pig in a Puppy.” It’s a famous sandwich at King’s Barbeque in Kinston, NC, where we (and every other family) always stopped on the way to the beach. I don’t eat meat anymore, but I still remember it well.

    What you do is make hushpuppy batter (you can find a recipe online but look for one that has sugar in it) and then deep fry the size of two hamburger buns, instead of in little balls. Make a sandwich with barbeque (our barbeque is always pulled pork, and if you really want it authentic look for an “eastern” NC sauce, made with vinegar) and slaw. It’s out of this world.

  3. 3
    Sew Bettie   July 8, 2008 at 7:37 am

    oh my gosh. that looks so delicious.

  4. 4
    Rachel   July 8, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Beautiful! I love cole slaw on a sandwich.

  5. 5
    erika   July 8, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    That looks delish. However, if I turn my oven on to 450, my smoke alarms start screaming at me. God I need to move…


  6. 6
    Dawn   July 8, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Ohhh that looks so good. I mean I just love it when people put coleslaw ON the sandwich or the burger. I always put coleslaw on my sandwich, never on the side.
    I wish my kitchen was cooler, I would sooooo make that. I am craving bbq anything with coleslaw. Nice job!

  7. 7
    Bijoux   July 8, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Although my chicken days are over, I have to admit, that burger looks really good!!

  8. 8
    Sara   July 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Looks great to me! I love BBQ, and am totally sure what we make and eat are nothing like the real stuff.

  9. 9
    Cakespy   July 8, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Now that is a SANDWICH. Damn!! Delicious!

  10. 10
    McAllie   July 9, 2008 at 5:14 am

    gosh… I am so hungry already. *drool*

  11. 11
    Little Wonderer   July 8, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    you make being a vegetarian hard 😛

  12. 12
    eatme_delicious   July 9, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    So a while ago you posted about using smoked applewood cheddar and I was intrigued! But then I couldn’t find that post again to see if you’d answered where I could find it. I should’ve just used google as I did now. Anyway! I found it at Safeway and it was really expensive ($5 for a fairly small piece) but I had to get it and WOW it’s so good. I’m going to have to see if Costco still carries it. So thanks for highlighting it. 🙂

  13. 13
    rhino   July 9, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    YUM! That looks awesome! I’ve had pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw before…I’ll have to try a chicken version.

  14. 14
    Jessica   July 10, 2008 at 5:19 am

    Sweet Jebus, that looks good.

  15. 15
    Monika Dubska   July 10, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Your blog makes me hungry >.< Love your posts!
    Monika xo

    p.s comment on my cbox if you like 🙂

  16. 16
    Hilda   July 10, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    OOh. Lovely recipies you have! I’m going to make that chick pea salad with lemon parmesan dressing right now!
    I just started a restaurant blog. It’s at
    I’m going to put a link to your site.

  17. 17
    kickpleat   July 10, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    indeed it is, thanks veggiegirl!

    mmm, love the sounds of that, judith! i’ve never had a hushpuppy before.

    thanks, sew bettie!

    coleslaw on a sandwich, is great rachel! glad you approve.

    yikes, erika! i just like to cook fast…this would work well at lower heats too!

    dawn, our place is pretty lucky. as long as it’s not sweltering outside we can cook just fine. currently, the weather outside is beautiful and summery…not sweltering.

    bijoux, no more chicken? so sad!

    so true, sara. but this is pretty tasty too!

    damn right, cakespy!

    shonna, usually i do eat vegetarian-like but i have been posting some very meaty posts lately!!

    mcallie, licking the screen won’t help!

    glad you could find it, eat me! mmmm, applewood smoked cheddar. yum.

    rhino, the chicken works really well!

    thanks jessica & monika.

    hilda, that salad is the bomb! enjoy 🙂

  18. 18
    aforkfulofspaghetti   July 11, 2008 at 4:11 am

    I’m off to find a bigger mouth… 😉

  19. 19
    Mari   July 11, 2008 at 9:07 am

    This is not what I need to be looking at when my stomach is growling for dinner! I NEED to have this sandwich!

  20. 20
    Coraircate   July 12, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    My mom WILL make this. xD

  21. 21
    Kali   July 12, 2008 at 11:37 am

    After introducing my Canadian fiance’ to Southern BBQ here in Atlanta, every time he visits, he wants it! And judging from your delicious handiwork, it won’t be so hard for me to recreate the experience when I move to Quebec!

  22. 22
    pfirsch   July 13, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Judith, when I saw “King’s Barbecue”, had to post a comment! Even though I live about 20 minutes east of King’s, I have never had a “pig in a puppy.”

    Eastern NC barbecue sauce is made with vinegar, salt, pepper with NO sugar or tomatoes of any kind, and as Judith said, it IS out of this world!

  23. 23
    EAT!   July 13, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I love all barbecue!! The more stacked on the sandwich and the messier the better.

  24. 24
    cinderelly   July 13, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    this is one of my weaknesses…pulled pork sammich! (i ate pulled pork nearly everywhere we went last year on a trip to memphis.) that sandwich looks just divine.

  25. 25
    kickpleat   July 13, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    aforkfullofspagetti, haha! good luck 🙂

    Mevrouw Cupcake, it’s a good sandwich for dinner!

    kali, good luck in quebec-ifying your southern heritage!

    I am Coraircate, well whoever does make this sandwich will have a pretty lucky household!

    pfirsch, well then, i should head down to north carolina, stat!

    eat, i couldn’t agree more!

    cinderelly, pulled pork is good…pulled chicken…as good! better even (maybe)!!

  26. 26
    Sara   July 18, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Mmmmmmmmm, this looks incredible!

  27. 27
    Kandice   July 19, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    This looks like a rockin’ sandwich. Wow. I am a new fan of coleslaw so a bit obsessed! 🙂

  28. 28
    kickpleat   July 24, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    thanks sara, it’s pretty tasty!

    kandice, i’ve been obsessed with coleslaw, so no worries 🙂

  29. 29
    dynagrrl   August 24, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I made a variation of this on vacation a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing! The photo I took was terrible, but I had to post it anyway. Keep the recipe’s coming! Thanks!!!

  30. 30
    Zannah   October 27, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Ohhh … om nom nom. I was born and raised in North Carolina, and let me tell you, the debate over the “right” way to make a bbq sandwich rages on. Pfirsch’s recipe, the Eastern variety, is the one I prefer – but it does have sugar in it! Apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, red pepper, a dash of hot sauce, and brown sugar, with the pork cooked for at least six hours over hickory chips. Top it with cold coleslaw, slap it in a bun, and serve it with sweet iced tea. Dude. Doesn’t get any better.

    And hushpuppies? Are divine with pork. You can find mixes and recipes online, if ever you want to try them. Calabash style are savory, with onions in the mix, or you can go with slightly sweet varieties which work brilliantly with fried or spicy food.

  31. 31
    Robert   February 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I made this. It’s a fantastic recipe, and I loved the cool taste of slaw against the spicier chicken. I’d suggest backing off on the hot pepper flakes, maybe 2t instead of 1T? Bottom line is that this is another pleat-tacular that should go into the book you’ll eventually publish.

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