BBQ Whiskey Chicken Sandwiches

A close up shot of a BBQ chicken sandwich.

A Taste of Wild - Blue Ridge Mountains

Jon and Aubrey return back east to visit Jon's family in North Carolina, cooking up all of his favorite Southern-inspired meals from his time growing up in the South.

BBQ Whiskey Chicken Sandwiches

Jon’s always going on about how cooking over fire is all about the “log placement” or “reading the flame” or finding the perfect point of heat. Yadda yadda yadda. Listening to him, you might think you’d need a college degree just to make a fire.

It’s not all hogwash, but I know a thing or two. If you have the right motivation, like perfectly cooking chicken for a delicious, whisky-fueled sandwich, building a great fire suddenly becomes real easy.

Barbecue is such an integral part of human culture that some scientists even credit it with creating humans. Stay with me. Apparently because human brains account for 20% of our total energy output, twice as much as primates, there are scientists who think that human beings became human beings only after we discovered cooking meat over fire. Not to knock vegetables, but it takes a lot more time eating raw foliage to get the same calories you can get from a thick and juicy slab of meat.

So you could say barbecuing is in our DNA, in a manner of speaking. I’m inclined to agree. There’s something deliciously primal about standing over a fire, tending to a rack of ribs or flipping hamburgers or watching the flames work their magic on a humble chicken thigh.

Vegans and vegetarians, turn back now.

Everyone else, bust out your favorite whiskey, we have some marinating to do. Whiskey adds a rich, complex flavor to chicken cooked over an open flame. With a bit of honey for sweetness, and salt and pepper for proper seasoning, you can make an inexpensive chicken thigh into an easy meal. Add a good quality bun, toppings of your choice, and a glass of whiskey on the side (optional) and you’re good to go. Just make sure your chicken thighs are boneless, both because they’re flatter and cook more evenly, and because nobody wants to bite into a bone sandwich.

When you’re cooking the chicken, keep an eye on it. While thighs are juicier and less prone to drying out than chicken breasts, you’ll want to make sure they’re cooking evenly and not getting too charred in any one spot. Depending on the intensity of your fire, you may want to rotate the thighs between a bit of an open flame and a more neutral, flame-free area on the grill. Ultimately, it’s up to you how crispy you like your thighs, but more time spent actively tending the barbecue is more time connecting with our ancient ancestors. Can you feel your brain getting bigger? 

BBQ Whiskey Chicken Sandwiches

BBQ Whiskey Chicken Sandwiches

Yield: 4 Sandwiches

For marinating chicken:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stem


  • Kaiser roll
  • ½ head iceberg, romaine or red leaf lettuce
  • 2-3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Mayonnaise
  • Bacon (optional)
  • Coleslaw (optional)
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Cooking Tools

  • One plastic bag


  1. In a small bowl, mix together whiskey, water, honey, black pepper, salt, garlic and thyme. Add the marinade and chicken thighs to a big plastic baggie. Leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.
  2. While the chicken is in the fridge, start a campfire or light your grill.
  3. Grill the chicken thighs over the campfire or on the grill, cooking each side for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and check doneness by inserting a thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165-degrees Fahrenheit or above to be safe.
  4. Assemble sandwiches with the hot chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo. If you have leftover coleslaw from the BBQ Pulled Pork recipe, it makes a wonderful side.  

Jon and Aubrey made their latest trip in a Thor Motor Coach Class B.

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