Tailgating. Eating outside before the game on a picturesque fall day is packed with fun. The air snaps with a cool breeze, but laughter and cheers chase the chill away. Grills fire up and smoke encircles everyone, friends and fans of the opposing team alike. Joyous expectations for great food and a winning score fill the air.
In Kansas City, this means the World Series is the universal favorite. The Chiefs rally at Arrowhead, and college ball is everywhere. I love it, and truth be told, while I am a sports fan, I am a bigger fan of the tailgate.
Grilled chicken sandwiches are always a favorite, but this Bacon Ranch Chicken Sandwich is truly a winner. Marinating the chicken in ranch dressing, buttermilk and hot sauce adds flavor and tenderizes the chicken. Pack the cooler with the toppings and everyone can make their sandwich as big and powerful as they like. Top it with the Parmesan Mayo and it is irresistible.
So, when is your next tailgate? Maybe it will have to be by the television, but that’s OK, too. I turn to these sandwiches whenever an easy, casual dinner is needed—big game or not. Now, let’s hear those cheers.
Bacon Ranch Chicken Sandwiches
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 10 to 12 ounces each)
1/3 cup bottled ranch salad dressing
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 sandwich or hoagie buns, split and toasted
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
Parmesan Mayo, see tip below
Pound chicken breasts until thin, about 1/2-inch thick. Cut each chicken breast in half. Place the chicken in a zip-top plastic food bag.
Combine the ranch dressing, buttermilk and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing mixture over the chicken. Seal bag and massage to coat the chicken evenly. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to several hours.
Drain chicken and discard marinate. Preheat grill to medium high or allow coals to burn down to a white ash. Grill chicken about 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown, meat is no longer pink and meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F. Place on serving plate and cover with aluminum foil; allow to stand 5 minutes.
Place a piece of chicken on each bun then top with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and Parmesan Mayo.
Makes 4 servings
Add sliced pickles, sliced avocado, or sliced cheese, as desired.
Parmesan Mayo: Blend together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon dill weed and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.