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Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich with pineapple, bacon and a sweet pineapple sauce
Try our Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich with pineapple, crispy black pepper bacon and a slightly spicy, sticky sweet pineapple sauce, all in one delicious bite!
Aloha! Nope, I’m not in Hawaii but wish I was right now. Does that count? Bucket list, bucket list, bucket list. In lieu of a fabulous vacation, we enjoyed a few quiet hours on the deck with this delicious Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich, a scoop of our favorite Super Cole Slaw and a nice, icy cold beer. If you feel like a little mini-staycation would help get you through the week too, I’ve got your menu all sorted out and ready to go!
How do you make a grilled Hawaiian chicken sandwich?
Let’s start at the top. We fried uncured, thick black pepper bacon ahead of time so it was ready to go when the chicken sandwiches were assembled. Yes indeed, bacon is perfect on this sandwich. You know, sweet and salty, they’re very good friends. Don’t skip the bacon!
Next we have grilled pineapple rings; is there anything better? Use fresh if you want, but for this recipe we use canned pineapple slices in 100% pineapple juice. Shortcuts are always great and I had another reason for using canned pineapple: the remaining 100% pineapple juice is the base for our spicy sweet Hawaiian inspired BBQ sauce.
Chicken thighs are slathered with the pineapple BBQ sauce and grilled until cooked though.
Use breasts if you want, but I would cut them in half (if large) so they’ll fit on a bun. Chicken thighs are the perfect size for a sandwich and cook up quickly on the grill.
Stacked with a thinner piece of chicken the sandwich is much more manageable to get inside your mouth! Once you have lettuce, tomato, chicken, onions, pineapple, and crispy bacon all piled up on a toasted bun, you’ll need two hands for sure.
Our simple sauce is made with pineapple juice, soy sauce, honey, fresh ginger, crushed red pepper flakes and your favorite thick bottled BBQ sauce.
Simmer the sauce for 20-30 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced by almost half. The pineapple juice intensifies as it reduces giving the sauce a rich, sweet and sassy profile. This sauce can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated until needed. I recommend making it the day before or morning you plan to use it so you can marinate the chicken for a few hours before grilling. If you don’t have time, it’s also fine to make it just before using, slathering on the chicken while grilled.
This superb sandwich is fun to make and seriously delicious to eat.
And while it may not be as good as sand between your toes, it’s a nice reprieve from the same-old everyday sandwich.
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Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or small bun sized boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple slices in 100% pineapple juice, drained with juice reserved for sauce
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup bottled BBQ sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
- tomato slices
- sliced red onion, grilled if desired
- Buns, buttered and toasted
- In a medium saucepan, combine the pineapple juice (drained from the can), soy sauce, BBQ sauce, honey and crushed red pepper if using. Cook over medium heat until the sauce simmers. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the sauce thickens slightly, darkens in color and reduces almost by half. Remove from the heat and add the grated ginger. Pour half the sauce into a jar or bowl for serving with the sandwiches. Retain the other half for basting the chicken while grilled. If making ahead, cool the basting sauce to room temperature then add about ⅓ to a large ziplock bag. Add the chicken to the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate until ready to grill.
- Preheat gas grill on high for ten minutes. Turn the heat down to medium. Oil or grease the grill grate using long tongs and clean paper towels soaked in vegetable oil.
- Grill the pineapple slices until charred and heated through, turning once. Remove to a clean plate. Grill the chicken thighs until well charred and cooked through, basting with the remaining sauce on both sides. If your grill is large enough, the pineapple and chicken can be cooked at the same time.
- To serve, top each bun with lettuce, tomato, chicken, grilled onion rings, pineapple rings and bacon. Pass with extra sauce for drizzling. Serve immediately.
Here are a few more of our favorite grilled chicken recipes you might like:
Our Orange Barbecue Grilled Chicken Recipe is deliciously different and a breeze to throw together in a flash. We love the bright orange flavor and the hint of ginger and pineapple juice in the sauce. It’s lip smacking good!
Grilled Chicken Skewers with a Sweet Sriracha Glaze ~ spicy and sweet is a fantastic combination but especially when slathered on tender chunks of grilled chicken. This simple, sweet sauce caramelizes the chicken, leaving it tender and juicy with a just a little hint of heat.
Have you ever wanted to make grilled skin-on, bone-in Barbecued Chicken without burning the outside while the middle is still undercooked? This recipe can help!
Here’s a link to my all-time favorite saucepan. I make everything in it and cannot recommend it highly enough! I especially love the pour spout. Click on the photo for more information:
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Looking for more Hawaiian inspired recipes? How about these thirst quenching Hawaiian Mimosas from Dorothy at Crazy for Crust. Also loving these Hawaiian Muffins from Mary at Barefeet in the Kitchen. Loaded with bananas, pineapple and coconut, they look fantastic! Finally, I think any of our barbecued recipes would be great served with this Tropical Fruit Salad from Sarah at Dinner at the Zoo. So pretty and refreshing, the perfect compliment to grilled meals.