Friday, October 1, 2010

Smoky Mountain Chicken


"Two men allegedly "got to drinking" and ended up running naked through the Tiger Haven sanctuary after they were fired from their jobs there" - Knoxville News Sentinel 9/29/10

Only in East Tennessee. I love this region but damn we have our share of yahoos. At least they are entertaining. But fortunately, there are also a lot of great things about living in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

One of them is Smoky Mountain Chicken sandwich, an item commonly found on menus around the area. It's actually rather simple - a hickory grilled chicken breast topped with some type of cheddar cheese, bacon, and a sweet & smokey bbq sauce. Simple like a damn good burger.

Smoky Mountain Chicken Sandwich

2 ea chicken breast, boneless, skinless, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
2 tsp poultry seasoning (I used Perfect Poultry Rub but even salt and pepper works)
4 slices bacon, cooked
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup BBQ sauce

I think the key to getting this one right is the "hickory grilled" part, because the spirit of this sandwich to me is something you could cook on a campfire in the Smoky Mountains. So tonight I cooked on my Fatboyz Fire Pit.

I started a batch of split hickory in my charcoal starter....

And then dumped the hickory into the fire pit to get a good base of coals.

Earlier, I baked a batch of bacon on my Big Green Egg until it was crisp.

Seasoned both side of the breasts with the rub and then cook them over the hickory coals, flipping every 5 minutes until done. This is the tricky part because I was cooking over an open pit. On the Big Green Egg, I would have had more control and would have known exactly how long to cook them. But fire pits aren't a controlled environment like the Egg or a closed grill so wind, air temp and things like that affect the cooking times. Tonight it took about 30 minutes to get them to 160f internal.

Once almost done, top each with two pieces of bacon and some cheddar cheese. I just used a plain sharp cheddar tonight but any cheddar will do. Some places use monterey jack. Cook until the cheese melts.

To make it melt quicker, invert a 1/2 steam pan, baking sheet or foil tent over the chicken.

Top with a sweet and slightly smoky barbecue sauce. What better one to use on a Smoky Mountain chicken sandwich than Smoky Mountain Smokers bbq sauce made by Joe and Voncile Amore over in Sevierville?

Smoky Mountain Smokers is an award winning competitive bbq team and just the nicest people you could meet. I like this sauce because it boasts a range of flavors, not just sweet and ketchup base like many sauces do. Good enough to buy by the gallon.

Typically, I would serve this with a side of slaw and fries, but tonight dinner was just a quickie after Trevor's football practice so I just served them with chips.

So it's a slow night....anyone want to "get to drinking" and run naked through a tiger farm?


  1. That sandwich looks and sounds perfectly delicious - and I love the night shots of the grill.

    I might get to drinking and run naked, but I don't think I could get drunk enough to run through a tiger farm . . . even with my clothes on.

  2. This chicken is making me want to move to Tennessee. And as a tried and true New Yorker...I never thought that would ever come out of my mouth..err...fingers. Awesomeness.

  3. Tigers are a lot smarter than the average human, no matter where he resides.
    Just sayin'.

  4. omg that Sandwich looks great! Great photos of the flames. I love the part about the chicken being pounded so thin. I just don't order chicken sandwiches around here because it's always a fat piece of meat that just doesn't seem to work on a bun and it's hard to eat. And LOL about your yahoos and the "got to drinking" part. LOL over Vickie's comment. Don't think I've ever seen a gallon of BBQ sauce. It must be gooooo-ood!

  5. I'd love to get to drinking but running naked through a tiger farm sounds like a ton of work!!!
    The sandwich looks and sounds delicious!

  6. Looks great Chris and one of bevs favorite grilled meats

  7. Drinking and getting naked might go hand and hand. Getting naked with tigers, not so much! Sounds like everyone is okay though.

    That is one killer chicken sandwich!

  8. OMG this chicken is calling my name - I'm drooling!!!!!!

  9. I love the phrase "got to drinking." It implies such initiative and purpose. And I really do like the look of your new fire pit/grill.

  10. Yahoos in EVERY region Chris...EVERY region of the country.

  11. Vickie:
    You're right, that is a whole other level of "drunk"!

    If you're ever passing through, you have an open invitation.

    Calvin and Hobbes taught me that life lesson!

    Lea Ann:
    Getting them even is critical if you are cooking them on a camp fire. I can get away with not doing it on the Egg.

    I don't know about a lot of work....a lot of stupidity maybe!

    It was just fun doing it open pit style.

    I concur!

    It can't be calling your name, I killed it already! ;)

    I know, that was my favorite part of the whole article - that turn of phrase.

  12. ha ha ha ha!! That's hilarious! Crazy, but hilarious. And this sammich is killer! I love the Nibble Me This in your chimney(??)...awesome =)

  13. You are a maker of magic Chris! You make something simple look like it's the most delicious thing on the planet! I know you are going to link this one up to Tailgating Time (nothing like using a little force - and you wouldn't want me to cry - also inserting some guilt ;-)
    I'm only on my first cold one but I'll get back to you after a couple more on the tiger farm thing.

  14. I love, love, love the shot with the fire and the Nibble Me This... it would make a cool header picture.

    I also love this chicken sandwich! Everything is better with thick bacon. YUM.

  15. Melted cheese and bacon are reasons enough to keep living,so I don't plan on any tiger showdowns currently.

  16. This sounds like a hearty, stick to your ribs kind of sandwich! Lovin on it!

  17. Great post! The chicken looks incredible, and I love your custom firepit! I don't think I could get drunk enough to run through a tiger farm!

    Kim in MD

  18. Holy crap that looks awesome! I would run naked through a tiger farm for one. Sounds like a crazy-fun time down there. Oh, I love the photo of the Nibble Me This logo with the flames.

  19. As long as I am not banned from reading your blog on this darn diet I have to go on, I will be fine, or throw me on the green egg and call me smoked!


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