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Asian Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwich

The blend of flavors in this Asian Chicken Sandwich recipe is really delicious! It’s composed of grilled chicken marinated in a savory-sweet sauce, served on wheat buns, and topped with zesty coleslaw.

Asian barbecue sandwich on a white background.

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Here in the South, grilling outdoors is a year-round activity. Our grill sometimes sees more use than our oven, especially when the weather is warm. Although, we have been known to throw on a sweater and start up the grill even on cold days.

One of our favorite things to enjoy from the grill has always been chicken and, because I wanted to try combining grilled chicken with classic Asian flavors, I came up with this Asian Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwich.

And, if you like those classic Asian flavors, be sure to check out my Slow Cooker Asian Style Wings and the Asian Inspired Turkey Noodle Bowl!

It’s inspired by the coleslaw-topped barbecue sandwiches you find throughout the South, except this version has loads of Asian influence. Hope you enjoy it!

❤️ Why We Love This Recipe


🛒 Ingredient Notes


This post contains affiliate links. Lana’s Cooking is reader-supported and earns a tiny commission at no extra cost to you when you shop from our links.

I know it looks like a LOT of ingredients, right? Don’t worry. The majority of them are for the marinade and the coleslaw dressing.

For the Chicken and Sandwich:

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: I prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can also use boneless, skinless thighs if you’d rather. Either choice will be delicious!
  • Whole Wheat Sandwich Buns: These hearty buns provide a wholesome base for your sandwich, offering a slightly nutty flavor and added nutrition.
    For the Marinade:
  • Soy Sauce, Brown Sugar, Lime Zest and Juice, Honey, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Asian Hot Chili-Garlic Sauce, Garlic, and Salt. These ingredients make a marinade with many of the essential elements of Asian cuisine. You’ll love the mix of flavors!

For the Coleslaw:

  • Coleslaw Mix: A prepackaged combination of shredded cabbage and carrots, making coleslaw preparation quick and convenient.
  • Green Onions: Also known as scallions, these provide a mild, onion-like flavor and a pop of color to the coleslaw.
    For the Coleslaw Dressing:
  • Canola Oil, Fresh Ginger, White Vinegar, Dark Brown Sugar, Sesame Oil, Sesame Seeds, Black Pepper.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Asian Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwich


Place each chicken breast between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper and lightly pound them until they’re a consistent thickness.

👉 PRO TIP: Having the chicken breasts the same thickness throughout means they’ll cook through in the same time without one side being done while the other is still undercooked. Here, I’m using the flat end of a meat mallet, but you can use a weighty rolling pin or a heavy bottomed pan to do the same.

Marinate the Chicken

Chicken in a bag with marinade.

Combine the marinade ingredients and stir together until well mixed. Add the breasts and the marinade to a large re-sealable plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn occasionally to redistribute the marinade around the chicken.

Get it on the Grill

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium-low heat cooking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade. Reserve the marinade and set it aside. Grill until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Make the Sauce

Marinade being cooked down to a sauce.

Make a sauce for the sandwiches by straining the marinade through a fine-meshed sieve into a small saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat and cook until reduced to a thick, syrupy sauce (boil for a minimum of 5 minutes to make the marinade safe to serve).

👉 PRO TIP: If you are at all concerned about using the leftover marinade as a sauce, simply make twice the amount of marinade called for in the recipe. Reserve half of the marinade before applying to the chicken and then reduce it as instructed above.

Make the Asian Style Slaw

When ready to serve, prepare the coleslaw. Combine the coleslaw mix, green onions, and dressing ingredients in a large bowl and toss until everything is evenly combined.

Assemble the Sandwiches

Cut each breast in half cross-wise and place on a whole wheat bun topped with a spoonful of the sauce and a mound of coleslaw.

Asian barbecue sandwich on a white background.

🔀 Recipe Options and Variations


  • Protein Swap: Try using different proteins like pork, shrimp, or tofu instead of chicken for a unique twist.
  • Grilling Alternatives: If you don’t have access to a grill, you can also cook the marinated chicken in a skillet, oven, or on a stovetop grill pan. The key is to achieve that delicious charred flavor.
  • Coleslaw Crunch: Add extra ingredients to the coleslaw for additional flavors and textures. Consider tossing in shredded carrots, bell peppers, or chopped cilantro for a fresh twist.
  • Pickled Veggies: Pickled cucumbers or daikon radish can provide a tangy contrast to the sandwich’s rich flavors. They’re a popular addition to many Asian-style sandwiches.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Opt for gluten-free buns or lettuce wraps for a gluten-free version of this flavorful sandwich.

🍽️ How to Serve


The possibilities are endless! Consider serving the sandwich with sides like sweet potato fries, a cucumber salad, or even a side of pickled vegetables for a well-rounded meal.

  • Sweet Potato Fries: The sweet and savory combination of sweet potato fries pairs beautifully with the rich flavors of the sandwich. Season them with a touch of salt and your favorite spices.
  • Cucumber Salad: A light and refreshing cucumber salad seasoned with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds provides a refreshing contrast to the bold flavors of the sandwich.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Tangy pickled cucumbers, daikon radishes, or other pickled vegetables can provide a satisfying contrast to the savory and spicy components of the sandwich. 
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob: For a taste of Southern tradition, grill some corn on the cob alongside the chicken. Brush it with a mix of butter and your choice of seasonings.
  • Fruit Salad: A fresh fruit salad with a medley of seasonal fruits adds a touch of sweetness and freshness to the meal.

❓ Questions About Asian Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwich


Can I use bone-in chicken?

While I do recommend boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs for quicker and more even cooking, you can certainly use bone-in chicken. You’ll need to remove the bones before assembling the sandwiches. Keep in mind that bone-in cuts may require a longer cooking time on the grill.

How spicy is this sandwich?

The spice level in this sandwich is fairly mild but may be adjusted to your preference. You can increase the spiciness by adding more hot chili-garlic sauce or crushed red pepper flakes. On the other hand, you an reduce or eliminate these ingredients for a no-spice version.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Absolutely! The chicken can be marinated up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill.

How do I make sure the chicken is completely cooked?

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should reach 160 degrees F. Make sure the grill is preheated to medium-low heat for even cooking.

Lana Stuart.

More Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

Asian barbecue sandwich on a white background.

Asian Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwich

Savor the delicious blend of flavors in this Asian Chicken Sandwich with grilled chicken, sweet-savory marinade, and zesty coleslaw!
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 sandwiches
Calories: 795kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

For the sandwiches:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 whole wheat sandwich buns

For the marinade:

  • cup soy sauce
  • cup brown sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Asian hot chili-garlic sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger about 1-inch
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the slaw:

  • 1 pound coleslaw mix
  • 3 large green onions thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Lightly pound the breasts between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper until they are a consistent thickness.
  • Combine remaining ingredients, except buns, and stir together until well mixed.
  • Add the prepared breasts and the marinade to a large re-sealable plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn occasionally to redistribute the marinade around the chicken.
  • Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium-low heat cooking.
  • Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade. Reserve the marinade and set it aside.
  • Grill until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
  • Make a sauce for the sandwiches by straining the marinade through a fine meshed sieve into a small saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat and cook for at least 5 minutes or until reduced to a thick, syrupy sauce.
  • When ready to serve, prepare the coleslaw. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss until everything is evenly combined.
  • Cut each breast in half cross-wise and serve on a whole wheat bun topped with a spoonful of the sauce and a mound of coleslaw.

Notes

  • If you are at all concerned about using the leftover marinade as a sauce, simply make twice the amount of marinade called for in the recipe. Reserve half of the marinade before applying to the chicken and then reduce it as instructed above.
  • Having the chicken breasts the same thickness throughout means they’ll cook through in the same time without one side being done while the other is still undercooked. You can use the flat end of a meat mallet, a weighty rolling pin, or a heavy bottomed pan for this task.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 795kcal | Carbohydrates 93g | Protein 38g | Fat 31g | Saturated Fat 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat 24g | Cholesterol 70mg | Sodium 2695mg | Fiber 7g | Sugar 32g

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally sponsored by Tyson Foods and published on September 9, 2014. It has been updated with additional information.

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25 Comments

  1. Sarah Walker Caron (Sarah's Cucina Bella) says:

    Love the flavors and textures of this fab grilled chicken sandwich. YUM!

  2. Paula - bell'alimento says:

    Loving this grilled chicken sandwich! Great flavors Lana.

  3. Rebecca {foodie with family} says:

    YUM! I love everything about these sandwiches! Slaw, Asian flavours? Yes, please!

  4. Jane Maynard says:

    looks delicious, lana!

    and I think I might need to tuck that coleslaw recipe away for other uses, too! yum!

  5. The slaw looks mouthwatering piled on top of that chicken! My parents grilled year round too. They run out in the winter, start the grill, run in, run back out, put water needed to be cooked on there and watch from inside.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Your parents sounds just like us, Susan!

  6. Mmmmmm amazing and what great flavors!! I could do this in my kitchen… no need for a grill! Perfect sandwich!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Of course you could, Jamie, but the flavor that the grill imparts is hard to beat!

  7. Carol at Wild Goose Tea says:

    Goodness when you set out to make a sandwich, you don’t stint. This is wild. Asian fusion with barbecue—-brilliant. Geez it looks sooooo good.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      You know, I’m not crazy about cold cuts and I really despise a wimpy sandwich. This one really satisfies!

  8. Angela {Mind Over Batter} says:

    Pity I can’t grill year round, otherwise this delicious sandwich would be on dinner rotation. Yum!

  9. I am so glad that you included pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness. That makes the cooking process so much easier. I use my rolling pin, and just a couple of whacks will do the job.

    Tyson products are the best! Always ensured to be fresh and free of additives. I love knowing that I can trust anything with the Tyson label.

    Miss P

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      The pounding makes a huge difference in the way they cook, doesn’t it?

  10. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    This sandwich looks flavorful and super delicious. It’s a great change up to the normal weekday recipe.

  11. Colleen (Souffle Bombay) says:

    Oh good heavens that slaw is calling my name! Yummmm!

  12. Kim Beaulieu says:

    This is incredible. I want to cook it right now and it’s 4 am. Totally acceptable right.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Totally, Kim. Who doesn’t cook barbecue at 4 a.m.?

  13. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    Oh, Lana…it’s way past dinner time, but all I want is one of your sandwiches! Just fantastic!!

  14. christine says:

    I’m loving that slaw and the Asian flare going on here

  15. Ginny McMeans says:

    Loving that sauce and slaw. I will be making it ASAP! Thanks!

  16. Martha @ A Family Feast says:

    Looks delicious! Love the Asian twist you’ve put on this recipe!

  17. Lauren Kelly Nutrition says:

    This is my kind of sandwich! Great flavors!

  18. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says:

    Love the Asian twist on the BBQ chicken!!

  19. Heather // girlichef says:

    Yum, just thinking about the amazing flavor in this sandwich has my mouth watering in anticipation! I grill year-round, too – even in the snow.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      My mouth’s watering even now remembering this sandwich, Heather. Yum.