A Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken Sandwich to Mix Up Your Cookout Menu

Last Update: June 8, 2022

A char-grilled burger stacked high with all the accouterments is a summer cookout standby. But when planning your summer menu, don’t forget about the chicken sandwich, which is sure to be equally welcome at your patio table. 

In this BBQ chicken sandwich recipe, a simple shortcut — Primal Kitchen’s Hawaiian-Style BBQ Sauce — drenches every bite of pulled chicken in tangy flavor while keeping it delightfully juicy (i.e. no dried-out chicken breasts here). A bright, crisp cabbage slaw with cilantro and lime, which can be served on the side or piled inside the sandwich as a filling, provides a counterpoint of freshness to balance everything out.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwich Recipe

Yield: 4 sandwiches
Active time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour


2 Thrive Market Organic Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Thrive Market Organic Tomato Paste
2 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1 bottle Primal Kitchen Hawaiian-Style BBQ Sauce
4 Alvarado Street Bakery Sprouted Burger Buns
4 tablespoons Thrive Market Avocado Oil
1 sweet vidalia onion
Woodstock Organic Bread and Butter Pickles, to serve


Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat. 

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Once the pan is heated, add a tablespoon of olive oil, then the chicken. Sear for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove the chicken breasts and set aside. 

Lower the heat to medium-low and to the same pan add the apple cider vinegar and tomato paste, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the BBQ sauce and stir to combine. Add back in the chicken breasts and turn over a few times to coat in sauce. Cover the pan and keep the sauce at a low simmer (no big bubbles).

Let cook for 18-22 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads an internal temperature of 160 F. Once chicken is fully cooked, turn the heat off, remove the chicken, and place it on a large plate or cutting board. Put the lid back on the pan to keep the sauce warm. 

Once chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, use either two forks or your fingers to shred. Add the shredded chicken back into the pan with the sauce, stirring to fully coat and warm it through.

Lightly toast the burger buns until just warmed through and still soft. 

To serve, top bottom half of buns with shredded chicken, thinly sliced sweet onion, and bread and butter pickles. Spread mayonnaise on the other half of the buns before assembling sandwiches. Serve with spicy lime slaw on the side (recipe below).

Spicy Lime Slaw Recipe


For the slaw

½ large green cabbage
3 jalapenos (or to taste) 
¾ cup cilantro, leaves picked from stems
4 green onions

For the dressing

1 lime, zest and juice 
1 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
2 teaspoons Thrive Market Organic Robust Maple Syrup 
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Cut the head of cabbage in half and finely shred using a mandoline or sharp knife. (You’re looking to get 5 cups’ worth.)

Thinly slice the jalapeno. For less heat, slice the jalapeno in half lengthwise and remove the inner membrane and seeds before thinly slicing. Slice the green onion. 

To make the dressing, in a large bowl add the lime zest and lime juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, grated garlic, and salt. Give it a good stir to combine, then whisk in the olive oil. 

To the large bowl with the dressing, add in the shredded cabbage, jalapeno, cilantro, and green onion, giving it all a good toss to fully coat slaw with the dressing. Serve immediately, or cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the cabbage to soften slightly and the flavors to meld. 

Recipes courtesy of Aubrey Devin

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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