Hawaiian Barbecue Sandwiches with Spicy Peanut Slaw

I’ve seen this “Hawaiian Barbecue” all over Pinterest, so I thought it’d be a good idea to try. The hubs and I both love pineapple, and how could you go wrong with a barbecue sandwich? I don’t think it’s possible!

For this recipe, I really didn’t want to spend the time and money to go out and get the Hawaiian Barbecue Sauce from Target that most people have used in this recipe. So, I did a little research and as it turns out Hawaiian “barbecue sauce” is really nothing more than teriyaki sauce (which was already in my fridge!). I had already made my Homemade Barbecue Sauce a few days earlier, so I thought it might be an interesting flavor to mix the two and achieve some sweet-spicy-saucy-goodness.

Hawaiian Barbecue Sandwiches

  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 cup Homemade Barbecue Sauce
  • 2-3lbs chicken (bone in, bone out, mixed pieces – however you like your chicken)
  • 1 can crushed pineapple in juice
  • Whole wheat sandwich buns

First, let me explain my chicken. I chose bone-in skin-on chicken breasts (I know, it’s almost unheard of) for two very GOOD reasons: 1) I actually wanted bone-in skin-off but those were looking a little sketchy at the store and 2) I learned from the Barefoot Contessa that bone-in is best for any long cook on chicken because it helps it stay moist (and the last thing I wanted was dry chicken). It really didn’t take me any time at all to take the skin off the chicken and clean it up a little, so the trade was totally worth the bargain for bone-in skin-on. Once I got it cleaned, I threw it right in the bottom of my crock pot.


I know, I don’t like looking at raw chicken either so let’s move quickly past that….

Next, I mixed up my Hawaiian barbecue sauce by combining my homemade sauce and teriyaki sauce. The amount of sauce depends on how much chicken you have. I used about 2.5lbs, so I needed 1 1/3 cups of sauce. To mix more or less for your recipe, just use the ratio of 30% teriyaki to 70% barbecue sauce.


Once you mix up your sauce, pour it right over top of your chicken in the crock pot then pour the whole can of pineapple on top of your sauce, juice and all. For canned fruit, I always prefer fruit packed in juice – I figure fruit’s sweet enough, why add syrup to it?

Give the whole thing a stir to make sure everyone’s becoming friends.


Let it go on medium to low for about 6 hours.

Here’s the main reason I chose bone-in chicken breasts….When I came back to the crock pot after about 5 hours, my chicken was incredibly juicy and I could literally pull it apart with just a fork. So if you’re using bone-in, just pull out the bones as you’re shredding the chicken. After I shredded my chicken I turned my crock pot down to warm until we were ready to eat.


Spicy Peanut Slaw

  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 Tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Any cabbage mix you like! (I used Napa cabbage and carrots, but you could try adding purple cabbage, edamame, or some bean sprouts.)

You want to start the slaw about an hour before you want to eat so that it has time to sit and the flavors to meld together. Shred your cabbage and carrots into a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix all other ingredients together to form the dressing. For the peanut butter, you can use crunchy or smooth – it’s whatever you have on hand. I used crunchy to add some peanut pieces to my slaw because I like crunchy things. Either variety you use, you can heat it in the microwave until it melts to make mixing easier. I just always throw it in and whisk it until it’s combined so that I’m not using an extra dish.


Once it’s mixed, pour it over your slaw mix and toss until everything’s coated. This dressing coats it lightly because the cabbage breaks down and makes the slaw wetter. After you toss it all together, taste to see if you need to add any salt and pepper.


Serve together and enjoy!


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