Hello and Welcome! We had a string of sunny days before the rain set in (thanks to Tropical Depression Fred), so we headed out to the grill for Hawaiian-Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches. Sesame teriyaki-marinated chicken thighs grilled and sandwiched with coleslaw and crispy onions, between a pillowy-soft Hawaiian sweet bun. These sandwiches require minimal effort; they are super flavorful and perfect after a day at the beach or by the pool. Plus, there is a possibility of leftovers, which work out just as well cold to pack along for the next day’s activities. So let’s do it!
To give these chicken thighs more bang for their buck, marinate the thighs overnight in a teriyaki-style marinade. I was hoping to find Soy Vay Island Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce, I was out of luck on that front, but I did find a similar sesame teriyaki marinade that worked out just fine.
Place the chicken thighs in a gallon size zipper bag and pour in about half the bottle of marinade. This is a 14 ounce bottle so I ended up pouring in about 1 cup of the marinade. We will use some of the remaining marinade to brush on the thighs and the buns, so be sure to reserve about 1/2 cup of the marinade.
An hour or two before you’re ready to grill, toss together one bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix and about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of your favorite coleslaw dressing. We really like the store-bought brand, Marie’s Coleslaw Dressing. Cover the coleslaw and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
Head Out to The Grill
Pull the bag of thighs out of the fridge then prep and fire up the grill. When the grill is ready to go, transfer the thighs from the bag of marinade to a plate or sheet tray and discard the bag of marinade. Have everything at the ready, grill-side: a landing tray for the cooked chicken, the remaining marinade (poured into a small bowl) with a brush for brushing on the marinade, and your grill tongs. Also don’t forget your meat thermometer!
We have the charcoal grill set up so that about 3/4 of the grill is direct heat, which is where we will do most of the grilling. The indirect side will keep some the faster-cooking smaller thighs hot while the others cook through. We will brush the thighs with more of the reserved marinade at the very end.
Grill the thighs for about 6-7 minutes on each side until they reach an internal temperature of 165-170. Don’t be afraid to move them around on the grill to avoid large flare-ups and to account for different sizes and thicknesses of the thighs. When they reach temp, move them over to the indirect heat and brush them with marinade. Close the lid for about 1 minute, flip the the thighs, brush on more marinade and close the lid for another minute. Then transfer the thighs to the clean plate or tray.
So we have our chicken ready, gather the coleslaw from the fridge, then we have Hawaiian sweet buns, which we won’t toast, so they stay soft and pillowy.
Hawaiian-Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Brush some of the reserved marinade on the bottom bun and lay a chicken thigh on top. Top the chicken thigh with a heaping spoon full of coleslaw.
Then, for extra crunch and onion flavor, top with crispy fried onions.
Place the top bun on top, and there you have it: Hawaiian-Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches! The thighs were perfectly cooked and the teriyaki flavor really comes though thanks to the overnight marinade and the caramelization of the marinade we brushed on while it was grilling. I love the cooling coleslaw and by all means, do not skimp on the crispy onions; the extra crunch and onion flavor they bring to this sandwich really makes it!
I am already thinking about when I can make this again! It was such a satisfying sandwich with harmonious flavors and a wonderful variety of textures. The mouth-full muffled “mmmm”s were all I needed to know this one is a winner. Consider it for any of your end-of-summer cookouts! For another vacation-friendly recipe, try the Foil Packet Fish and Summer Vegetables we made for our first Tybee dinner.
I am hitting the pause button on Pizza and a Movie this week, but we will back next week with an all new pizza and movie. Thank you for spending some time with me today, take care and be well! xo Kelly
Hawaiian-Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Sesame teriyaki-marinated chicken thighs grilled and sandwiched with coleslaw and crispy onions, between a pillowy-soft Hawaiian sweet bun.
- 6-8 Chicken Thighs
- 14-oz. Bottle of Sesame Teriyaki Marinade, divided
- 1 bag Pre-Shredded Coleslaw Mix
- 1/4-1/3 cup Coleslaw Dressing (like Marie's)
- 1 Package Crispy Fried Onions
- 1 Package (8 count) Hawaiian Sweet Buns (like Pepperidge Farms)
Marinate the chicken thighs overnight in a gallon-size zipper lock bag with 1/2-3/4 cup of the Sesame Teriyaki Marinade
A couple hours before service, thoroughly mix the coleslaw dressing in a mixing bowl with the bag of Pre-Shredded Coleslaw Mix, cover and refrigerate until service.
When the grill is ready, transfer the chicken thighs from the bag of marinade to a plate and discard the bag of marinade.
Grill the thighs over direct heat for about 6-7 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reads 165-170 degrees.
Transfer the thighs to the indirect heat side of the grill and brush one side with reserved marinade, close the lid for 1 minute. Flip the thighs and repeat.
Transfer thighs to a clean plate or tray.
Build the sandwiches by brushing the bottom bun with remaining, reserved marinade. Top with grilled chicken thigh, then coleslaw and then fried onions. Top with top bun.