Carolina Grilled Chicken Burgers

These Carolina grilled chicken burgers are not your usual flavorless, dried-out burgers. It’s super juicy, flavorful, and easy to put together. Never be afraid to grill a chicken burger again.

Grilled Carolina chicken burgers on a black plate.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

As with all things, it’s the taste of the food that drives us. And these burgers deliver. Furthermore, while we all have grilled burgers, we usually keep it to ground beef.

What’s nice about the chicken is that is a bit more friendly calorie-wise as well and has lower saturated fat and cholesterol. So for those looking to trim a bit off but still enjoy an amazingly tasty burger, look no further.

Also, as chicken is a very versatile meat, it takes to the flavors that you add perfectly.

This recipe will give you excellent instructions on how to properly grill a chicken burger without destroying it on the grill due to the tender nature of the patty as well as share an incredible BBQ sauce and slaw that makes this a perfectly delicious meal off the grill.

We take our burgers pretty seriously over here so you can trust me when I say that this is a good burger! For some sides with this burger, we suggest our Macaroni Salad, our Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites), or some Grilled Corn On The Cob. You can also just go with some potato chips to keep it real simple. Who doesn’t like some chips with their burger?

Ingredients Needed

Nothing out of the ordinary here. As earlier mentioned, this recipe has a Carolina barbecue sauce as well as an ancho slaw to accompany the burger. These are not mandatory but are recommended. By all means, use your favorite sauce and toppings.

Ingredients for a Carolina barbecue sauce.
Carolina Barbecue Sauce Ingredients
Ingredients for ancho slaw.
Ancho Slaw Ingredients
Ingredients for chicken burgers with Carolina bbq sauce and ancho slaw.
Chicken Burger Ingredients

For full ingredients and amounts, see the recipe card below.

How To Make Carolina Barbecue Sauce

This Carolina BBQ sauce rocks. It’s super tangy and goes very well with the grilled chicken burger. And it’s so easy to put together. You can make this up to two weeks ahead of time. Just keep it refrigerated until you use it.

All you need to do is add the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, shallot, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes in a saucepan.

Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it cook and thicken for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ingredients in a sauce pan to make Carolina barbecue sauce.
Barbecue sauce cooking in a sauce pan.

When it’s thickened up, give it a taste and add any salt and pepper to your preference. Set aside until you’re ready to use.

Showing the thickness of the sauce on the back of a spoon.
If it makes a line with your finger and doesn’t fill back in, it’s ready.

How To Make Ancho Slaw

This slaw is amazing. You can just eat this alone. Its clean and crunchy texture with a hint of heat is a perfect addition to the tender burger and tangy barbecue sauce.

Thinly slice the cabbage (or chop) as well as the celery. Add them to a large bowl with the matchstick carrots and set aside.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, ancho chili pepper, and sugar in a separate bowl.

Vegetables for ancho slaw.
Wet ingredients for ancho slaw.

Add this wet mixture to the vegetables and mix to coat well. Add any additional salt and pepper to your taste.

Ancho slaw dressing.
Ancho slaw mixed in a bowl.

Allow this to sit in the fridge for 15 minutes before using.

pro tip

As far as this slaw goes, you will want to make this right before putting on the burgers. Over time, the cabbage will release moisture and the slaw will become more wet. This is something that should not be prepared way ahead of time. I will say I was eating on it three days later, though 🙂

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Preparing The Chicken Patties

If you take anything away from this recipe, it’s these directions. As chicken is so versatile, you can modify this recipe to all sorts of flavor variations. I don’t know about you, but grilling ground chicken can sometimes end in disaster due to its tender nature.

But, if you follow these guidelines, you’re gonna nail it every time.

Add the ground chicken, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper to a large mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients gently.

Ground chicken with other ingredients in a glass bowl.
Raw chicken burger mixture.

pro tip

Use some disposable nitrile gloves, because this can get messy.

Shape into 6 patties and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread apart. Yes, it will feel much looser than working with ground beef, but this is what is going to give you that super moist chicken burger. You can do it!

A raw chicken burger patty in a black gloved hand.
Six chicken burger patties.

Refrigerate these ground chicken patties for at least 30 minutes before grilling. When you’re about ready, and the grill is ready, remove the patties from the fridge.

Using a pair of scissors, cut the parchment paper in such a way that each patty is sitting on its own piece of paper. This will aid us in placing them onto the grill grate without smashing them through the grate.

Grilling The Chicken Burgers

Get your grill going with two zones. The direct heat should have a decent heat, about medium-high with the indirect zone having no charcoal.

Liberally oil the grate on the side over indirect heat. Gently place as many burgers on the grate over indirect heat (I did three at a time) then rotate the grill grate over the direct heat.

Grill the burgers until the internal temperature of the chicken burger reads 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. This should take roughly 5 to 6 minutes on each side.

Chicken burgers cooking on a charcoal grill.
Grilled chicken burgers on the grill.

note

When flipping the burgers, really press your spatula close and hard to the grill grates so you can get under that burger without tearing the tender sear of the burger.

Remove the burgers onto a surface and toast your buns then assemble your burger.

Buns being toasted on the grill.
Optional, but go the extra mile!

Assembling The Chicken Burgers

The fun part! Building and eating the burger!

Liberally add some of that Carolina barbecue sauce to the bottom of the bun. Next, add that perfectly grilled chicken burger on top of the sauce.

Next, top with that crispy, crunchy ancho slaw. Optionally, toss on a couple of dill pickles and place the top of the burger right on the top.

Grilled chicken burger with Carolina barbecue sauce and ancho slaw. on a black plate.

Serve and enjoy with any of your favorite sides.

I guarantee you the eyebrows will go up in surprise on that first bite. Each component of this burger goes perfectly with each other which makes each bite better than the next.

I ate on these leftovers over the next few days until they were gone. And it was amazing, and I wasn’t sorry.

These burgers will add a whole new column of fun things you can do on your grill. Mix up the flavors and have a ball!

Tips

  • Use a disposable glove when shaping the patties. The meat is loose and wet and the gloves will help immensely.
  • When flipping the burgers, use a swift, firm motion and get under the burger. It doesn’t take much to tear the sear. It won’t detract from the taste, but you want those beautiful grill lines.
  • Make the slaw right before you plan on doing these burgers. They will release additional moisture over time and you might not like that.
  • If you don’t have ancho chile powder, you can use regular chili powder. It will be a touch spicier, though. Adjust accordingly.
  • If you don’t have a Thermo-Pen (instant-read thermometer), get one. One of the best tools in your grilling and BBQ arsenal. Makes a great gift, too!

Variations

  • The chicken patty itself is very mild, relying on the Carolina BBQ sauce and slaw to add those additional flavors. Feel free to add additional spices to the ground chicken mixture to your preference.
  • This recipe contains a Carolina BBQ sauce recipe which is very tangy. Do you have a favorite BBQ sauce? Use that instead.
  • Raw or grilled onions would be amazing on this burger.

Other Delicious Burgers and Sandwiches

Grilled Carolina chicken burgers on a black plate.

Carolina Grilled Chicken Burgers Recipe

Savor the flavor with these juicy Carolina grilled chicken burgers! Tangy BBQ sauce and crunchy ancho slaw make them a summer grilling hit. Easy and delicious!
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Course: Grilling, Main
Cuisine: American, Grilling
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 616kcal

Ingredients
 

Chicken Burgers

  • 2 lbs Ground Chicken
  • 1/3 cup Mayonaisse
  • 1 tbsp Ground Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • 6 Hamburger buns

Carolina Barbecue Sauce

  • 3/4 cup Ketchup
  • 1/3 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Ground Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Shallots diced fine, about 1 shallot
  • 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes less, to reduce heat, if you like.

Ancho Slaw

  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 3 cups Napa cabbage Shredded or chopped thinly
  • 1/2 cup Carrots Matchstick sized
  • 1 rib Celery sliced thin

Instructions

Carolina Barbecue Sauce

  • Add all ingredients into saucepan. Bring to a boil
    3/4 cup Ketchup, 1/3 cup Apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup Ground Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp Brown sugar, 2 tbsp Shallots, 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • Reduce to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until thickened.

Ancho Slaw

  • Slice, or chop, cabbage thinly and add to a large bowl
    3 cups Napa cabbage
  • Slice the celery rib thinly and add to same bowl.
    1 rib Celery
  • Add the carrot matchsticks to the same bowl. Set aside
    1/2 cup Carrots
  • In another bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, ancho chili powder and sugar.
    1/2 cup Mayonnaise, 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp Ancho chili powder, 1 tsp Sugar
  • Add the mayonnaise mixture to the vegetables and mix to coat well. Set aside.

Chicken Burgers

  • Add ground chicken, mayonnaise, stone ground dijon mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper to a bowl and gently combine well.
    2 lbs Ground Chicken, 1/3 cup Mayonaisse, 1 tbsp Ground Dijon mustard, 2 tsp Kosher salt, 1 tsp Black pepper
  • Shape into 6 patties and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

Grilling / Assembly

  • Cut the parchment paper in such a way that there is a separate piece of parchment for each burger patty.
  • Set the grill going with a medium high heat with charcoal on one side of the grill.
  • Liberally oil the side of the grill grate not over direct heat and gently place burgers on. Rotate the grill grate over direct heat.
  • Grill until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F. Cook in batches if not all burgers can fit.
  • Toast the burger buns on the grill, optionally.
    6 Hamburger buns
  • Add Carolina BBQ sauce to the bottom of the bun. Add a chicken patty and top with slaw. Optionally, add any additional toppings. Top with the top part of the bun and enjoy!

Notes

The nutritional information is based on using all the slaw and barbecue sauce, which might not be the case. 

Nutrition

Calories: 616kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 1.719mg | Potassium: 1.138mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 2.316IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 130mg | Iron: 3mg

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