Black Pepper BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Poblanos


When I grill something for dinner over charcoal I feel bad letting the coals go to waist, so I try to plan ahead and grill a second item to use up that heat. Even if there is only enough heat to leave grill marks or kiss the items with a little BBQ flavor they are intended for another meal and can be reheated until they are cooked through. This sandwich was birthed from one of those second grill sessions, the chicken got some grill marks but didn’t cook through, but that worked out fine because I wanted to reheat it for lunch and this way the chicken wasn’t overcooked and dry. The BBQ sauce is packed with the spiciness of black pepper while the other components of the sandwich help balance the heat. Sharp vinegary red onions, earthy roasted peppers and creamy cheese to mellow the impact of the black pepper heat.


Black Pepper BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Poblanos


Black Pepper BBQ Sauce (makes 2 cups)

  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • ¼ c water
  • ½ c ketchup
  • ¼ c molasses
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. cumin

Pickled Onions

  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ c red wine vinegar
  • ½ c warm water
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced


  • 6 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 c black pepper BBQ sauce


  • 1 c black pepper BBQ sauce
  • 1 c mayo
  • Hoagie rolls
  • Roasted poblano peppers
  • Sliced monetary jack cheese


Black Pepper BBQ Sauce

  1. Add oil to a small pot and heat on medium heat, add the onions and garlic, sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Puree the sauce with a stick blender or in a blender.
  4. Let cool before using the sauce as a marinade on the chicken.

Pickled Onions

  1. Mix together everything for the pickled onions pressing down the sliced onions below the surface of the liquid. Let marinade for at least 4 hours.


  1. Mix together 1 cup of the cooled BBQ sauce with the chicken thighs, let marinade at least 8 hours, best overnight.


  1. Cook the chicken, grilled or broiled, your choice, when the chicken is cooked slice into strips.
  2. Mix together the remaining cup of BBQ sauce with the mayo.
  3. Preheat the broiler to high.
  4. Spread both sides of the hoagie roll with the BBQ mayo sauce and stuff the rolls with chicken, pickled red onions, roasted poblano peppers and top with the sliced cheese.
  5. Place under the preheated broiler for about 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted.

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