I’m a little embarassed to admit it, but this recipe was inspired by a sandwich that I used to order whenever I ate at Red Robin (which was twice a week when I was in college… a million years ago). After I graduated and had to support myself on my meager wages as a wedding planner, I was forced to stop my over-indulgent bi-weekly dining habits, and learn how to feed myself. This teriyaki chicken sandwich was probably the first copycat recipe that I ever attempted, and because it’s so easy and delicious, it’s also the longest running copycat recipe that I’ve ever attempted. Over the years I’ve tweaked the teriyaki ingredients a little, but the other components (pineapple, Swiss cheese, and mayo) have all stayed the same. And you know what? Call me sentimental, but this oldie-but-goodie is still one of my favorites!
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich
- ⅔ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- ½ tsp dry ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 cup ice
- 4 (4-5 oz.) chicken breasts
- 4 good quality hamburger buns
- 4 slices swiss cheese
- 4 pineapple rings (fresh or canned)
- 3-4 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 4 crisp lettuce leaves (Boston, Bibb, or Butter works well)
- ½ red onion, sliced into rings
Make Teriyaki Sauce:
Set a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add soy sauce, molasses, oil, both gingers, garlic, and water, whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid begins to thicken, about 30-45 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove pan from heat and add 1 cup of ice to teriyaki sauce to speed up the cooling process.
To a resealable freezer bag or shallow dish, add chicken breasts and half of teriyaki sauce. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible, or tighly cover dish, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Reserve remaining teriyaki sauce for basting.
Lightly oil the grates of an outdoor grill and prepare for high heat. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess liquid, and place on the grate directly over heat source. Discard marinade. Grill for 4-6 minutes, occasionally basting with reserved teriyaki sauce, then flip chicken and cook for another 4-6 minutes on the second side, basting occasionally. Once an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the chicken breast reads 165°F, turn the grill off. Add a slice of swiss cheese to each chicken breast, cover the lid of the grill and cook until cheese is melted, about 1-2 minutes (if you’re using a charcoal grill, move the breasts to a cooler part of the grate after about 3-5 minutes of cooking, then add cheese and cook until melted). Transfer chicken to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
TO ASSEMBLE THE SANDWICHES
While the chicken is resting, turn grill to low and toast buns until slightly golden. Brush 1 side of each pineapple ring with a little oil, then place (oil side down) on the grill. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until warm and slightly seared. Slather mayo on the inside of the top-half of each toasted bun. To the bottom bun, add lettuce and chicken, then top with pineapple ring and a few slices of onion. Cover with the top-half of the bun.