Looking for a unique chicken sandwich to make on the griddle? This Yard Bird sandwich is piled high with grilled chicken, homemade pimento cheese, and Alabama white sauce. Try this Yard Bird chicken sandwich for a true Southern griddle sandwich that is packed full of flavor!
My wife and I have one rule when we travel… We’re not allowed to eat at any restaurants that we can go to at home.
Traveling for us is the ultimate culinary experience, whether we’re going just a few short hours away or we’re dining on conch in the Bahamas. In fact, most of our trip planning time is spent on picking out which restaurants we want to eat at, and she always books our hotel based on the restaurants that are close by. For us, getting to experience new restaurants and cuisines is that important.
And our recent three day trip to Alabama was no different.
For a quick lunch, we stopped into a local fast casual restaurant. I ordered a burger which was okay, but my wife ordered the Yard Bird sandwich… which was totally out of character for her. I fully expected her to go for the lettuce-loaded grilled chicken Caesar option.
Her Yard Bird sandwich was so close to being fantastic. All of the ingredients, when read together on the menu, sounded like soul food on a bun. But the chicken sandwich was missing a little something.
So, of course, I had to try to make a bigger, better version with some of the same ingredients, but done my way. That’s how this Yard Bird sandwich recipe was born…
What is a Yard Bird Sandwich?
In the Deep South, “Yard bird” is a slang term for the domestic chicken… A bird that lives in your yard, hence the name. So a Yard Bird sandwich is a Southern chicken sandwich.
Beyond that, it really depends on who you ask… Some restaurants serve a simple, purist version of a Yard Bird sandwich with fried chicken and dill pickles, while others use grilled chicken and another Southern staple, pimento cheese.
Southern Yard Bird Sandwich Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make this version of the griddle chicken sandwich:
One thing that all restaurants do agree on… You can’t have a Yard Bird sandwich without the poultry. We used boneless skinless chicken breasts for our version of the Southern griddle sandwich, but boneless skinless chicken thighs would would well also. Or if you want to make this chicken sandwich even easier, you can substitute some cubed rotisserie chicken.
The Pimento Cheese
We chose to make our own pimento cheese, because it’s so simple to make and my wife loves to eat it plain with crackers as a quick afternoon snack. You can also buy your favorite pimento cheese from the grocery store if you wish.
Here’s what we added to our homemade pimento cheese:
- 3 types of shredded cheeses – sharp cheddar, pepper jack, and smoked gouda – The cheese blend that you use is completely up to you, but I would definitely recommend including a sharp cheddar in the mix.
- pimentos – Pimentos are actually a type of pepper, so if you can’t find jarred pimentos in the grocery store, you can substitute jarred roasted red peppers.
- cream cheese
- grated onion
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- diced jalapeños (optional)
The Alabama White Sauce
We already had all of the ingredients for a quick Alabama White Sauce on hand, so we just mixed up our own sauce for this Southern chicken sandwich. You can also buy a store-bought version of the mayonnaise-based white barbecue sauce, like Duke’s Alabama White Sauce.
If you’ve never had a white barbecue sauce (aka Alabama white sauce), it’s similar to a tangy coleslaw dressing. Most Alabama white sauce recipes start with a base of mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar, and most variations include mustard, some sort of sweetener like brown sugar or honey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
To be honest, I’m not a fan of Alabama white sauce on its own, and I wouldn’t choose it over traditional barbecue sauce for something like fried chicken tenders. But the flavors of the sauce when combined with the pimento cheese, grilled chicken, and Texas Toast are spot on for this yard bird sandwich.
These are the ingredients that we added to our homemade Alabama sauce:
- apple cider vinegar
- prepared horseradish
- Worcestershire sauce
- dijon mustard
- hot sauce
- lemon juice
- garlic powder
- brown sugar
- salt and pepper
The Bread and Toppings
The Yard Bird sandwich that we had at this particular restaurant was served on Texas Toast, another Southern staple. So that’s what we used as well. A good brioche bun would be fantastic with this Southern chicken sandwich also.
For the toppings, we added fresh sliced tomato, onion, and dill pickles. The raw onion perfectly complimented the other more fatty ingredients and gave the finished sandwich a bit of “bite”.
How to Make a Yard Bird Chicken Sandwich on the Griddle
This yard bird sandwich is super easy to make on the griddle. And to make it even easier, you can start off with store-bought pimento cheese or sauce. Then, this sandwich recipe really just involves cooking chicken on the griddle and toasting the bread.
Here’s how to make this Southern Yard Bird chicken sandwich, from start to finish:
Step 1: Make the pimento cheese and sauce.
Start by making the pimento cheese and Alabama white sauce well in advance so that the flavors have a chance to marry. I suggest making both the day before, and then storing them covered in the refrigerator overnight.
This homemade pimento cheese is easy to make… In fact, finding the jarred pimentos at the grocery store was the hardest part. Just combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
This homemade pimento cheese is delicious on a sandwich by itself, or as a cracker spread. And it’s probably a bit thicker than the store-bought pimento cheese that you find at the grocery store. That’s because the cheese will be heating up on the griddle as your chicken finishes cooking, and you don’t want all of the mayo and cream cheese to completely liquify and run right off.
The white sauce is easy to make also. Just combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Or substitute your favorite store-bought white sauce… Heck, this griddle chicken sandwich would even be fantastic without a sauce!
Step 2: Prep the chicken.
When your pimento cheese and white barbecue sauce are done, it’s time to prep your chicken for the griddle.
Cut the breasts in half lengthwise, and pound them out with a meat mallet if needed so that the pieces are even in thickness and cook evenly on the griddle.
Then, season your chicken breasts with your favorite all purpose or chicken seasoning. You can also use a simple salt, pepper, and garlic blend. The other ingredients in this chicken sandwich have so much flavor that you don’t want to lose the taste of the chicken.
Step 3: Cook the chicken and toast the bread.
When the griddle is heated to about 350 – 400 degrees F, add a small bit of oil to the surface and start cooking the chicken breasts on the first side like this:
While your chicken breasts are cooking, add some buttered Texas Toast to the griddle so it can toast as well. Since this griddle chicken sandwich is pretty saucy with the pimento cheese and white sauce, I recommend toasting both sides of the bread so that it can stand up to the wet ingredients.
Cook the chicken on the first side for about 3-5 minutes, then flip to the second side and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or so. Then, add some of the pimento cheese and dome the breasts. *You can see my favorite melting dome here: 6 Flat Top Grill Accessories You Must Have for Your Outdoor Griddle
Allow the chicken to cook under the dome for another few minutes so that the cheese can warm up. Your chicken should look something like this:
Continue to cook your chicken until it’s cooked through (the USDA recommends 165 degrees F internal temp). That’s where a good instant read probe thermometer comes in handy.
Then, when the chicken is done, remove it from the griddle to rest for a few minutes, and you’re ready to build your sandwich.
Step 4: Build the Yard Bird sandwich and serve.
When all of the individual components of your sandwich are done, it’s time to make it!
We added the sliced onion and tomato to the bottom piece of bread for a bit of structure. One of the major problems with the yard bird sandwich that my wife had at the restaurant was that the ingredients fell right through the bottom piece of bread. The flavors were there, but the sandwich was impossible to eat. Our version was definitely better!
With the perfectly moist chicken, the warm and gooey pimento cheese, the tangy white barbecue sauce, and the bite from the raw onion, this griddle chicken sandwich was definitely a winner-winner chicken dinner!
Feel free to print the yard bird sandwich recipe down below, and then check out some of our other fantastic griddle chicken sandwich recipes:
- Fried Chicken Breakfast Sandwich – Easy Blackstone Griddle Recipe
- The BEST Chicken Caprese Sandwich – Easy Store-Bought Ingredients!
- Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese with Smoked Chicken
Yard Bird Sandwich with Pimento Cheese and White Sauce
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise and pounded out evenly
- your favorite all purpose or chicken seasoning or substitute salt, pepper, garlic powder blend
- 4 slices Texas Toast
- dill pickles, sliced onion, sliced tomatoes for topping
For the Pimento Cheese:
- 6 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 oz grated pepper jack cheese
- 2 oz grated smoked gouda or substitute extra sharp cheddar
- 4 tbsp butter room temperature
- 6 oz cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup jarred pimentos diced
- 2 tbsp grated onion
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
For the Alabama White Sauce:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tbsp dijon mustard
- ½ tsp prepared horseradish
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp hot sauce
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- ½ tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Make the pimento cheese by adding all pimento cheese ingredients to a large bowl. Mix together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. *I like to mix my pimento cheese with a hand mixer to make it easier.
- Make the Alabama white sauce by adding all white sauce ingredients to a bowl. Mix together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least an hour.
- Preheat griddle on low.
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with your favorite all purpose or chicken seasoning. *I used Heath Riles Chicken Rub, but you can also substitute salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- When your griddle is heated to about 350 – 400 degrees F, add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the griddle surface and use your spatula to spread it in an even layer. Then, place the chicken breasts down in the oil to begin cooking. Allow the chicken to cook on the first side for about 3-5 minutes, then flip to the second side.
- Immediately after you start cooking the chicken, add buttered Texas Toast to the clean side of the griddle to toast. Toast the bread on both sides until golden brown, then remove from the griddle.
- After the chicken has cooked on the second side for about 3 minutes, spread a good amount of pimento cheese on the top of each chicken breast. Place a melting dome over the chicken breasts to help the pimento cheese melt, and continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes covered. Once your chicken reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees F, remove it from the griddle.
- Assemble the Yard Bird sandwich. Place sliced tomatoes and sliced onions on the bottom piece of bread, then place the pimento-cheese covered chicken breast on top. Add Alabama white sauce and dill pickles, and top with the top piece of bread. Serve warm.
- The homemade pimento cheese recipe makes about 5 cups of pimento cheese, so you will have plenty leftover to use for a cracker spread or pimento cheese sandwiches.
Pinterest user? Save this Pin to your Griddle Recipes or Sandwich Recipes board to make for later: