Chipotle peppers are one of the easiest ingredients to use to turn ordinary food into something great. This Smoked Southwest chicken sandwich uses chipotle peppers two ways and is served on a toasted soft potato roll.
Disclosure: Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls sponsored this post. Opinions are my own.
I always keep a few cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce on hand. Adding one to two peppers to sauces and dips transforms them into a smoky sweet delight.
What is a chipotle pepper and why is it in adobo sauce?
Chipotle peppers are simply ripe red jalapeno peppers that are dried and smoked.
I know, the jalapenos you’re accustomed to are green, but think of them like tomatoes. They start out green, but when they’re allowed to fully ripen, they actually turn bright red.
The red ones are harvested and then dried and smoked. You can find the dried chiles pulverized into chipotle powder, which is great for rubs. Or you can pick up a can of chipotles rehydrated in a rich, red adobo sauce.
Adobo sauce is kind of like a Mexican barbecue sauce. It’s made with tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and spices, including chile powder and cumin. When the dried chipotles are canned in the sauce, they plump up and absorb all of those flavors.
You’re in control of the heat
This recipe uses canned chipotles two ways. First, you’re going to add a chipotle to a bottle of traditional barbecue sauce. Just pulse them together in a blender, until the sauce is smooth. Start with one chipotle, and if you decide you want a bit more heat, toss in another one.
The best way to balance out heat is with cream. So instead of smearing our Martin’s Famous Sandwich Potato Rolls with mayo, we’re going to make a chipotle crema by blending Mexican crema, vinegar, chipotles and salt.
Mexican crema is kind of like a cross between sour cream and heavy cream. If you can’t find it in the store, you can just use sour cream and thin it out with a little milk.
When adding the chipotles, again, start with one. Then add another if you like the extra punch of heat.
To add to the smoky flavor of the chipotles, we’re going to smoke a whole chicken.
Rub it down with a simple Southwest rub of salt, pepper, granulated garlic and cumin.
I used my Big Green Egg set at 275F degrees with the convEGGtor for indirect heat. You can just go with straight charcoal, or add a couple chunks of pecan wood.
Cook the bird, until the internal temperature near the thigh reaches 165F degrees.
Don’t worry about the skin. It doesn’t need to be golden or crispy. We won’t be using it for the final dish.
Place the whole bird in a pan, cover it with foil and let it rest for about 30 minutes. This will allow all of the juices to settle into the meat, making for a juicier sandwich.
Then, pull the chicken, discarding the bones, skin and excess cartilage and fat.
Toss it with that bomb chipotle barbecue sauce you made.
When it comes to sandwiches, bread matters
I’m kind of a bread snob when it comes to sandwiches. It’s really important to get the right filling to bun ratio.
If a bun is too dense, it overshadows the meat. If it’s too light, it can’t hold up to a killer sandwich.
I look for buns that are soft and fluffy, but hearty enough to hang on for the ride.
Martin’s is an American, family-owned and operated company that’s been using potato flour and wheat flour for decades to make rolls and bread. This blend creates that delicate balance I’m looking for when I build a sandwich.
They also sweeten their potato rolls with a little sugar and dry milk, and that hint of sweetness goes great with barbecue.
Watch the video above to learn more about this great American success story.
After you pull your chicken, remove the convEGGtor to set the Big Green Egg for direct grilling. Add the Martin’s Potato Rolls straight to the grill grate.
It will only take about 10-15 seconds for them to get toasted. You don’t need to add butter, because these buns already have a buttery flavor. We’re just looking for a little texture.
It’s sandwich building time
Pile that bottom bun with your chipotle barbecue chicken.
For texture, add some shredded lettuce and thinly sliced red onion.
Finish it off with a hefty smear of your homemade chipotle crema.
Grab a bag of tortilla chips, and call in the crowd.
Where to find Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls.
Martin’s Summer Sweepstakes featuring Big Green Egg
1st Place: one Large Big Green Egg® package consisting of one Large Big Green Egg, Nest™, mates, bag of organic lump charcoal, charcoal starters, grill gripper, and ash tool (approximate retail value: $1,200).
2nd Place: one MiniMax Big Green Egg package consisting of one MiniMax Big Green Egg, bag of organic lump charcoal, charcoal starters, grill gripper, and ash tool (approximate retail value: $599); and
3rd Place: The Big Green Egg Cookbook (approximate retail value: $50).
Southwest Chicken Sandwich with Chipotle Crema
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- 1 bottle barbecue sauce
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 cup Mexican crema
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 lb whole chicken
- 8 Martin's Famous Sandwich Potato Rolls
- 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl.
Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Place the ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Set aside.
Combine the ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Smoked Southwest Chicken
Pat the chicken dry. Rub all over with the Southwest Rub.
Heat the Big Green Egg to 275F degrees, using the plate setter to cook over indirect heat.
Place the chicken on the rack, breast side up. Smoke for about 2 hours, until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165F degrees.
Place in an aluminum pan and cover with foil. Rest for 30 minutes.
While it's resting, heat the BBQ sauce in a pot or microwave.
Pull the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Toss in the warm sauce.
Split the Martin's Potato Rolls and grill cut side down, until slightly charred.
Pile sauced pulled chicken on bottom bun. Top with shredded lettuce and sliced red onions.
Smear chipotle crema on top bun. Place on top.