If you’re familiar with New England vernacular, you’ve heard the term “wicked good” being thrown around a bit. Meaning insanely good, it’s a term I’ve been resistant to, being from “Lawng” Island, and all. And for years after I started attending college in Connecticut way back in the 90s, I couldn’t help but cringe when it emerged in conversation.
But despite my dislike for all things “wicked good,” I couldn’t come up with a better way to describe these BBQ Chicken Burgers. With an ingredient list that includes a homemade bbq sauce, cilantro, and scallions, my pal Josie completely outdid herself when she developed this recipe. If you want to go a step further with the recipe, Josie suggests adding some barbecued pulled pork which will add a touch of smokiness to the burgers (I foolishly didn’t think far enough in advance to take the pulled pork out of the freezer). Oh yeah…pulled pork inside a grilled chicken burger. Josie is from the South, after all, and I suppose she’s got some vintage cookbook about 101 ways to work with pulled pork floating around her kitchen just like I’m sure she’s got one with 101 ways to wield peaches. Regardless of where she got the brilliant idea for these burgers, I foresee them making the cut for my weekly menu at least 6 or 7 more times this summer.
I realize that ground chicken has a reputation for being dry when cooked but even with the addition of cornmeal to the chicken, these burgers retain plenty of their moisture while on the grill. If you’re worried, you can add a little extra bbq sauce; they will be almost too wet to put on the grill so be sure you oil the grates well and have faith that they’ll be great!
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 tbsp very finely chopped (or grated) onion
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Hot sauce, to taste
- 1 lb ground chicken
- ½ cup crumbled cornbread or ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 scallion, minced
- 1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Pinch cayenne
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2/3 cup chopped pulled pork (optional)
- 5 tbsp bbq sauce, divided
- Grilled red onion slices
- Sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
- Additional bbq sauce
- Hamburger buns
- To make the sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook the sauce about 7 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be reduced down to approximately 1 cup. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for about 1 week.
- To make the burgers: Heat the grill to medium-high.
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cornbread, scallion, cilantro, paprika, garlic, mustard, salt, cayenne, brown sugar, pork, and 2 tablespoons of the bbq sauce. Lightly but thoroughly mix with your hands to incorporate all the ingredients. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of bbq sauce to a small bowl.
- Form the mixture into 4 equal-sized patties. Brush the grates of the grill with olive oil. Place the burgers and onions on the grill, and cook the burgers 5-6 minutes, then flip. Turn the onions as well. Brush the cooked sides with half the reserved bbq sauce. After 3-4 minutes, flip the burgers again. glazing the other side with the remaining bbq sauce. Place a slice of cheese on each patty, and lay the buns, cut side down, on the grill. Close the lid and allow the cheese to melt and the buns to toast.
- Remove all the food from the grill, assembling the burgers as desired. Serve with additional bbq sauce if desired.