Make Monday chicken feel like fancy Friday with this new spin on the classic club sandwich.
The club sandwich. If you have never had one, you must be visiting from another planet. They are basic, but delicious. Because there are no cold hard facts outside of what you can find online, that also means there are no cold hard rules.
Enter the sous vide, stuffed, deconstructed club sandwich. Yes, you heard that right. We are taking this to the next level and beyond.
Rumor has it that the club sandwich made its debut in New York City and has a few variations that date back to as early as 1889. It was referenced in an article that appeared in The Evening World according to Wikipedia. There are other sources that say the club sandwich was first made famous under the name of the Saratoga Club House Sandwich which originated at the Saratoga Club House which was an American gentlemen’s club in Sarasota Springs (near New York). Another fun tidbit floating around the internet says the club sandwich stands for Chicken and Lettuce Under Bread. My guess is the truth is somewhere in between all of these. Regardless of how it got here, almost everyone has had one.
In this version, we break it down and dress it back up, completely changing the way you think about chicken night. The only thing missing is the bread and if you are a purist, you can slice it and build it into a 3-layer sandwich, but I am going with this twisted version for this recipe. It starts with the chicken which is then stuffed with the meat and cheese from a traditional club sandwich. Then it’s finished on the griddle with more meat and cheese before being plated with the veggies and the bacon. Serve with potato chips and/or a pickle if you like.
Prep and sous vide: The prep is very straightforward. To begin, I cut a pocket in the thickest part of the breast, being very careful not to cut through to the other side. The slice went roughly halfway through the thickness of the breast and it was a horizontal cut similar to a smiley face. Then I added the only seasoning we will do prior to the sous vide step – salt. I suggest doing so before stuffing the pocket because you want the salt to be all over the chicken, including the pocket that holds the goodies, so salt it well inside and out.
Next, I spread some Dijon mustard inside the pocket, followed by 1/2 of a thin slice of Colby cheese, then 1/2 of a thin slice of turkey, and 1/2 thin slice of ham. Then I closed the pocket. PRO TIP: It is very important that you do not overstuff the pocket. If you follow this rule, it will be foolproof every time. The stuffed chicken breasts are then sealed in a bag and sous vide at 150°F (65.6°C) for two hours.
Chilling: I am a firm believer in chilling sous vide chicken breasts for a few reasons. The first reason is because a chicken breast has very little fat so it is not as forgiving as a thigh or even a wing would be. If you overcook a chicken breast, chances are your dinner parties would get smaller in attendance. When you chill the chicken breast after the sous vide, it brings the core temperature down and allows you more time to bring the temperature back up slowly on the smoker, grill, or griddle than if you were to go directly from 150°F to 165°F after a hot sous vide. This works even better with the stuffed version because the chilling tightens up the pocket which helps it hold together better during the finishing process.
Finishing: We are finishing this dish on the griddle. Alternatively, you could certainly finish on the smoker, on the grill, or under a broiler, but it’s so much fun on a griddle. I cooked the bacon on the griddle first so I could finish the chicken in the bacon fat.
The Results are a fun new twist on an old classic. The star of the show? Perfectly sous vide chicken breast that is finished on the griddle. The supporting actors? Did I mention I cooked the chicken in bacon fat?
While this is not your typical club sandwich, this new spin is sure to shake up chicken night! Enjoy the club sandwich reimagined.
- 1 Sous vide immersion circulator
- 1 One gallon (3.8 L) sealable freezer bags
- 1 Griddle
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 3/4 pounds each)
- 1/4 teaspoons Morton Coarse Kosher Salt (skip
- 1/2 teaspoon Simon & Garfunkel dry rub (alternatively, you can use our bottled commercial poultry rub)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 slices deli ham
- 2 slices deli turkey
- 1 slice Colby cheese
- 2 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 cup chopped green leaf lettuce
- 1 Roma tomato
- 4 slices uncooked bacon
These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Prep. Cut each of the ham, turkey, Colby cheese, and Swiss cheese slices in half. Dice the tomato and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make a horizontal cut in the thickest part of the breast to create a pocket, being very careful not to cut through to the other side.
- Season the chicken inside and out with salt (note, if you intend to use our commercial poultry rub after the chicken comes out of the sous vide water bath then skip the salt as the rub already contains it). Smear 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard inside the pocket, followed by 1/2 of a slice of Colby cheese, 1/2 slice of turkey, and 1/2 slice of ham. Close the pocket.
- Sous vide. Prepare a sous-vide immersion circulator according to instructions and set water temperature for 150°F (65.6°C).
- Transfer the stuffed chicken breasts to a vacuum-sealed bag or a BPA free sealable bag, submerging the bag in water until most of the air has been removed then seal the bag. Sous vide the chicken breast for 2 hours. Since there is not much fat to break down, anything longer will not make it more tender.
- Sous vide the chicken breast for 2 hours. Since there is not much fat to break down, anything longer will not make it more tender.
- Remove the bag from the sous-vide bath after 2 hours and submerge the bag in a large container filled with a 50/50 mix of ice and water for 30 minutes to reduce the meat's core temperature. Check to ensure the water stays under 40 degrees with a digital thermometer while bringing down the temperature, adding more ice if needed. Place bag in the refrigerator until ready to sear – up to a week in therefrigerator, or up to a month in the freezer.
- Prep again. When you are ready to finish the chicken, season each chicken breast with 1/8 teaspoon Simon & Garfunkel dry rub and heat the griddle to medium high heat.
- Fire up. Prepare a grill for direct cooking by evenly spreading a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets across the grill’s charcoal grate. Adjust the grill vents to bring the temperature to about 375°F (190.6°C). On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs to maintain a temperature of approximately 375°F (190.6°C). Add a griddle to the main grill grate and let it preheat for at least 5 minutes.
- Cook. Once the griddle is hot, cook the bacon. After the bacon is cooked, remove the bacon and set it aside while leaving the bacon grease.
- Put the chicken breasts cut side down on the griddle on the bacon grease. Flip the chicken once it has browned on one side, approximately 30-60 seconds. Smear most of the remaining Dijon onto each chicken breast for"glue" and add a piece of ham and Swiss cheese. If you have any Dijon left, you can smear it on top of the Swiss cheese. Add a few drops of water and cover with a cheese dome or a lid to melt the cheese. Add the remaining poultry seasoning to the top of the cheese.
- Serve: While you are waiting for the cheese to melt on the chicken, chop your bacon. Add the lettuce and tomato to your plate and sprinkle with some of the bacon bits on top of the lettuce and tomato. Once the cheese has melted on the chicken, remove it from the grill and slice. Add the sliced chicken to the plate then top with the remaining bacon bits. Serve and enjoy!