Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grilled Cajun Chicken Sandwich with Kickin' Slaw

About 7 years ago, every time that I was smoking barbecue, we would get a visitor.

"Sofa", a black lab, lived up the ridge from us at Penrose Farm, a beautiful sprawling horse farm.  She became a regular guest at our house.  She was my "barbecue buddy" and would just hang out while I smoked.  She would even spend the night sometimes.  But bright and early the next morning, she'd be at the door eager to head back to the farm to do her daily "chores" (it's a working horse farm).  Her favorite treat was the bone from a smoked pork butt. I think she came to our house not only for the food but also to get a break from all the dogs and horses at the farm.  We jokingly called her our "Not Our Dog".  

Sofa watching Trevor smoke ribs in 2009.

About a year ago, Sofa visited less and less frequently as her health declined in her advanced age.  Late last year her visits stopped altogether and I have missed having her around the grills.  Yesterday, the farm owner stopped by to let us know that Sofa had a peaceful passing yesterday afternoon. 

On to more cheerful subjects.  Lately I have been craving a spicy chicken sandwich and this is what I came up with for dinner last night.   I like using the boneless/skinless chicken thighs over breasts because they have more flavor and it's harder to overcook them.  Alexis was very impressed with these simple sandwiches and said it wouldn't hurt her feelings if I made them all week long. 

Grilled Cajun Chicken Sandwich with Kickin' Slaw
Source:  Nibble Me This

  • 8 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
  • 8 buns
  • hot sauce*
For the cajun bird rub
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp celery seed
For the Kickin' Slaw
  • 3 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced/chopped*
  • 2 Tbsp red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp celery, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp cajun bird rub
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Mix the Cajun bird rub together.  Reserve 1 tsp for the slaw.
  2. Place the cabbage, pepper, onion, and celery in a bowl.  Mix the remaining ingredients together for the dressing and pour over the veggies.  Toss to coat evenly.
  3. Preheat a charcoal grill to medium-high heat (400f).  Season the chicken thighs with the Cajun bird rub.
  4. Grill the chicken 4-5 minutes a side until they reach an internal temperature of 175f*.
  5. Brush the chicken with a light amount of hot sauce and serve on buns with the slaw.
  • Hot Sauce:  This sandwich was inspired by the way I used to have Backyard Burger make a chicken sandwich and they use a hot sauce called Miz Grazi's sauce that was hot and sweet.  Since I can't find that, I used Tiger Sauce and that was a pretty suitable replacement. 
  • Cabbage:  Use whatever texture you like.  I like a fine texture so I slice mine thin on a mandolin with a 1/2" cross cut so it's a combination of chopped and sliced.
  • Temp:  Take the temp in the thickest part of the thigh, not the skinny parts.

Instead of my normal "in process" cooking shots, I'll wrap this up with pictures of Sofa during some of her visits to our house.

Trevor and Sofa in our garage.  Dec 2005

BBQ isn't ready yet so Trevor is giving her some cheese.  Feb 2007

Sofa making herself at home in our bedroom.

Hanging with me in our guest room.  She WAS a guest.

Sofa in "the library".

Sofa started bringing a guest with her, Dually another dog from the horse farm.
She was a great dog (even if she wasn't ours), had a lot of love, and lived a dog's life.  God speed, Sofa.  You were the "best dog I never had".  


  1. Sofa knows where to find a welcome feeling and good food. I know it was sad o hear of her passing. Perhaps, another great lab from the horse farm will join you for a visit.

    Great Cajun sandwich.


  2. It was always a treat during our visits to see Sofa show up for her "weekend getaway". What a SPECIAL dog she was and we will miss seeing her. She's probably chasing Secretariat around heavenly pastures!


  3. So sorry to hear of Sofa's passing, so sad. She was a beautiful dog. I have a special place in my heart for Labs.

    I had a yellow lab that came to visit whenever we had the grill fired up too. It turned out to be a neighbors dog and eventually split her time between our two families. If her real family wasn't home she got to where she would come over and bark at our back door and would also come over and wait for the boys to get off the bus everyday. The family moved away eventually :(

    Love the photos of Trevor too, amazing how fast they grow isn't it? Oh and the chicken looks awesome! I have always done chicken breasts, going to have to give the boneless skinless thighs a try for things like this.

  4. It's sounds like hers was a full dog's life, the freedom to roam and a supply of bones...
    An aside, great looking spice mix and meal.

  5. I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear doggie friend Sopha. It looks like she truly enjoyed her visits with your family.

  6. Geez, I come here expecting amazing food posts.. which I got, but I am going to be leaving in tears!! I'm sorry to hear about Sofa. I love that you made her part of your family!

  7. Could have used a Kleenex Warning label on this post! So sorry to hear about your good friend Sofa. Reminds me of our neighbors who have a "time-share" dog...lives with them for a few months at a time then goes to her other family! Sofa must have loved following her nose to your house - I'm sure there's BBQ in Dog Heaven - because there most certainly is in People Heaven!

  8. "Not our dog" was a wonderful pup. I know there's something about food in this post, but I can only remember Sofa.

  9. Hi Dan:
    I love your BBQ recipes and I also love old dogs so much that I dedicated a website just to them. Something about those gray muzzles and gentle faces that just pull at your heartstrings. Sofa looks like she fit perfectly into your family even though she was a "guest". I'm sorry to read that the old girl passed over. I'm sure she's running around on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

  10. It sounds like Sofa was an awesome dog! Sweet photos.

    I am loving these sandwiches and I just happened to have picked up chicken thighs today... I think I may make these SOON!

  11. You knew the way to Sofa's heart, Chris! Sofa definitely had great taste. She picked just the right place for her second home. A very sweet story. I know you will treasure those memories.

    Looks like an outstanding sandwich!

  12. Aww. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. She looks like she always had a good meal and enjoyed her stays :)

  13. Sure looks like she loved y'all. I had a black lab and a yellow lab - they've both passed now but they are the sweetest most gentle animals.

    Great looking sandwich Chris - I rarely by the popular boneless skinless breasts everybody loves, but I do love chicken thighs. Next time I see them on sale & stock up, I hope I remember this sandwich!!

  14. It's hard to lose a good BBQ buddy. Your sandwich looks very good

  15. Great post Chris, of course, you used the black dog crutch, still a wonderful post and sammy.

  16. Chris, I'm so sorry to hear about Sofa. I recently lost my childhood dog and miss him very, very much. I'm sure she loved the smells of all the delicious things on the grill and was glad to have a family like you to visit. :) These sandwiches look amazing though, and I cannot wait to try out the cajun rub! I usually use the store-bought stuff and this looks like it will be way better. On a side note, I had to pull a BBQ/Gilling blog media list at work today and guess who was on it? Y-O-U! It was funny for our paths to cross that way.

  17. Awww, this actually brings a tear to my eye. What a sweetheart Sofa was and I'm sorry for your loss. Trevor is a doll!!! I want a Sofa!!!!

  18. I'm sad to hear that Sofa is gone. What a great tribute to her. As for these chicken thighs, they sound exactly like my kind of food. I wouldn't mind eating them all week either!

  19. I don't know how to break it to you but that beautiful dog was your dog. I can tell by this sweet memorial. GREG

  20. Sofa was very smart....Your house has to smell amazing with all that food you make :) The slaw sounds delicious!

  21. I kind of wish I lived in a place where dogs and cats would just meander onto my property and make themselves at home. It would be kind of hard for them to get to the 12th floor, as it is now, though...

  22. This is such a sweet post, Chris. Sofa sounds like a really sweet,smart dog. The chicken sandwich looks amazing!

    Kim in MD

  23. Chris, I love the dog visitors you have. I think it might be time to get Trevor a dog, don't you think? My dog Haley is getting older and I can't even think about a time without her. Love the tribute to Sofa!


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