I was not introduced to real barbecue until a few short years ago. I think the first true pork bbq sandwich I ever had was on my first trip the the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Truth be told, I was not that impressed. I think it was the ridonculously vinegary sauce. I love a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, but whatever I had was not enough sweet and too much tang.

Anyway, last year, Nick decided that it would be a good idea to build a smoker. Needless to say, we had many months of great summer BBQ’s with a variety of smoked foods, including multiple pork butts. So this is what really ignited and cemented my love of smoked food and true barbecue.

Unfortunately, pork butt is not a lean cut of meat. In fact, part of the reason why the pulled pork is so good is because slow cooking it upwards of 10 hours allows all the fat to melt into the meat, making it extra tender and flavorful. So when I saw Ellie Krieger make some delicious looking pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches I knew I had give them a try. Could I satiate my cravings for good barbecue in a healthy way. Barbecue purists would say no, but I say yes.

Ellie uses a store bought rotisserie chicken and a quick homemade barbecue sauce. I added some homemade coleslaw to them and served them on some homemade rolls. This was unbelievably good. They can’t compete with a real pulled pork sandwich, but they are a great easy weeknight healthy alternative. I will be making these again and again.

Follow up:

I slightly adapted Ellie’s recipe for the bbq sauce. Her original recipe did not call for salt or sugar in the sauce. ??????. It really needed it.

I added salt to taste and between 1/4 - 1/2 cup of sugar. When I make this again, I will also reduce the amount of molasses, but this is just a personal preference.

The homemade rolls I made, you can find here. The recipe was from King Arthur Flour. I think they really took this sandwich to the next level. I was also happy to have the homemade rolls, since I was already using a store bought chicken. I like to have as many homemade components to my meal as possible. The best thing about these rolls is that you can freeze the raw dough until you are ready to bake them.

The coleslaw I made was based on an Ina Garten recipe, which I adapted sightly to make it healthier. This recipe make A LOT of coleslaw, next time I will halve or even quarter this recipe.

Homemade Coleslaw
Recipe by Ina Garten, adapted by Sara at Imafoodblog.com

  • 1 pound white cabbage
  • 3/4 pound red cabbage
  • 5 oz shredded carrots
  • 7 oz non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light or canola mayo
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  1. Cut the cabbage in small chunks. Slice the cabbage using the slicing blade attachment of your food processor, place the cabbage into the feed tube horizontally. This makes the slicing process so much easier.
  2. Combine your sliced cabbage and shredded carrots in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, mayo, mustard, sugar, vinegar, celery salt, salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the dressing onto the cabbage and mix. Chill until ready to serve.