This Cowboy Style Grilled Chicken Sandwich is over the top in both flavor and flair thanks to a saucy slather of BBQ sauce, maple peppered bacon, cheddar cheese, pickled jalapenos, and amazing homemade buttermilk onion rings. This monster of a sandwich beats any sandwich you could get from your local drive thru any day.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
The best way to make the most ultimate grilled chicken sandwich is start with a great protein and then build on layers of crunch, acidity, and a little sweetness to push it over the top. This sandwich has all of those elements (and then some)! I started with grilled chicken breasts seasoned liberally with my homemade Sweet BBQ Rub and basted with my Everything Sauce while they are still on the grill to get everything nice and caramelized. My Everything Sauce can be purchased from Patio Provisions, but if you don’t have any on hand, this Kansas City BBQ Sauce would taste great as well.
Next up, we add some medium cheddar slices for a perfect creamy and melty element to the whole bite. The crunch comes from simple (and AMAZING) buttermilk battered onion rings. Grilled maple peppered bacon brings a little sweet to the sandwich and pickled jalapenos bring that tangy heat. To finish, you need toasty buns and, of course, another healthy drizzle of BBQ sauce to tie all of those tangy, sweet, and savory flavors together.
How to Make a Cowboy Style Grilled Chicken Sandwich
This chicken sandwich is a meal worthy of your summer party. Grab your friends, some cold beverages, and use this epic sandwich as an excuse to get together (just don’t forget the napkins!). Even though there are quite a few steps to making this epic chicken sandwich, it’s totally and completely worth it. Here’s what you’ll need to do to make this sandwich (full instructions available in the printable recipe card below):
- Season and grill the chicken. Season all sides of the chicken with my Signature Sweet Rub. With your grill preheated to 450 degrees for 2-zone cooking, place your seasoned chicken breasts on the indirect heat side of the grill. Cook the chicken for 5-10 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Quick note: I cooked this sandwich on my Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, but you can cook this on any grill you have available.
- Make the onion rings. While the chicken is cooking. Make the onion rings by battering the onions and frying them in oil.
- Grill the maple bacon. Move the chicken to the direct heat side of the grill and place the bacon on the indirect heat side. Baste with maple syrup and grill until nice and crispy.
- Move the chicken to direct heat and sauce. Once your chicken reaches 145 degrees F, move them to the direct heat, baste with the BBQ sauce, and finish grilling until the temp reaches 160 degrees F (flip every 2-3 minutes). Add a slice of cheese to the top of the chicken and remove the chicken from the heat when it reaches its final temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Toast the buns. Finish up on the grill by placing your buns on the grill for 1-2 minutes.
- Assemble your sandwich! Building from the bottom up: Begin with the bottom bun, then add lettuce, the grilled chicken, some pickled jalapenos, the maple peppered bacon, buttermilk onion rings, and the top bun. I also like to spread some mayo on my top bun as well as an extra drizzle of BBQ sauce for added flavor.
More Grilled Chicken Recipes
If grilled chicken is your go-to for weeknight meals, check out these other delicious grilled chicken recipes from Hey Grill Hey. They’re quick, easy, and full of good chicken flavor.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich Recipe
Cooking dinner for your friends or family should be easy. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero, join my members-only group The Grill Squad for full access to all my meat, rubs, sauces, and meat buying masterclasses, podcasts, and so much more.
Need some rubs and sauces to go with this sandwich? Patio Provisions sells Hey Grill Hey Signature products for a great price. Best of all? They’re delivered straight to your door!
Cowyboy Style Grilled Chicken Sandwich
- 6 sandwich buns
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 6 slices medium cheddar
- 2 cups Everything Sauce
- ¼ cup pickled jalapenos
- 3 Tablespoons Homemade Sweet BBQ Rub (Link in recipe notes)
Maple Peppered Bacon
- 12 slices peppered bacon
- ¼ cup maple syrup
Buttermilk Breaded Onion Rings
- 2 whole sweet onions (cut into 1/2 inch rings)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Preheat the grill. Preheat your grill to 450 degrees F for 2-zone cooking, (one side with direct flame heat and the other side with no flames).
- Prep and grill the chicken. Season your chicken breasts on all sides with the Homemade Sweet BBQ Rub. Place on the indirect side of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 5-10 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees F.
- Baste the chicken and grill over direct heat. Baste the chicken breasts on all sides with 1 cup of Everything Sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce) and move them over to the direct heat side of your grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
- Grill the bacon. When you move your chicken to the direct heat, arrange your bacon slices on the indirect heat side of the grill. Baste the bacon with maple syrup and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside until ready to assemble your sandwiches.
- Add cheese and finish cooking the chicken. Add a slice of cheese to the top of each chicken breast and cook for 2-3 more minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees F internal temperature.
- Toast the buns. Toast your sandwich buns for 1-2 minutes over direct heat and set on your serving platter to assemble your sandwiches.
- Assemble the grilled chicken sandwiches. Place the grilled chicken breast on the bottom bun. Top each chicken breast with 2 slices of the maple peppered bacon, 2-3 onion rings, a few pickled jalapenos, and a healthy drizzle of additional BBQ sauce. Serve hot and enjoy!
Buttermilk Onion Rings
- Heat the oil. Preheat 6 cups vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.
- Batter the onions. Place the flour, seasoned salt, and paprika into a gallon zip top bag and toss to combine. Pour the buttermilk into a second zip top bag. Working in batches, place the sliced onions in the flour bag and toss to coat thoroughly. Move the floured onion rings into the buttermilk and toss to cover. Use tongs to move the onion rings back to the flour bag and toss until each onion ring is coated with onions.
- Fry the onion rings. Fry the onion rings in batches for 3-4 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove them from the fryer onto a paper towel so they can drain and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside until ready to assemble your sandwiches.
**This post was originally published in May 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.