Chicken Teriyaki and Avocado Sandwich: A Collaborative Adaptation

August 10, 2011
By Holly Jennings

After writing Global Grilling, published in 1994, Jay Solomon went on to publish several more cookbooks, but he still makes a number of recipes from GG, this sandwich among them.

When I mentioned to my neighbor and DCCC club member Sam Heffernan that the Chicken Teriyaki and Avocado Sandwich is one of the author’s favorites from the book, she decided to try it. Though Sam has long been a fan of Global Grilling—in fact, she’s the club member responsible for getting us to cook from this great book—and has made several recipes from the book over the years, she’d overlooked this one.

After a Q & A with Sam, I made the recipe too, and came up with the collaborative adaptation that follows. But first, Sam’s take on the recipe:

Holly: What was your experience with the recipe? How did it go?
Sam: I made the teriyaki chicken twice. The first time I cut the recipe in half because I didn’t have enough Worch sauce—so I used maybe ⅛th cup. I pounded the tar out of the chicken and we had it as a sandwich complete with twice the recommended avocado. Avocado for four people? I don’t think so! One avocado is enough for two people, if the cook doesn’t eat half of it before the meal reaches the table. The second time I made it I decided to have the chicken as part of the main course. This time I had enough Worch sauce and I didn’t pound out the chicken. Also, I use low sodium soy sauce. I honestly couldn’t tell that the full amount of Worch sauce made any difference. The chicken, un-pounded, was way juicier than the sandwich style. I used the recommended avocado and tomato plus cucumber as a side salad. Great combination!

Holly: What did you think of the recipe? Would you make it again?
Sam: Absolutely. It is a delicious marinade. Of course it’s not a true teriyaki, but is good, really good.

Holly: Do you have any personal cooking techniques that you used to make the recipe, something that’s not in the author’s instructions?
Sam: I like to keep ginger in the freezer: it’s easier to peel and mince when it’s slightly frozen, and it thaws fast.

Sam and Holly’s Method
In the original recipe, author Jay Solomon calls for pounding the chicken breasts, no doubt to make it easy to eat them in sandwich form. Thinking about how juicy Sam said the meat was when unpounded, I cut the chicken into smaller, sandwich-appropriate-sized pieces and grilled them that way. I found one avocado to be enough, but if you like lots of avocado, like Sam does, go for two. The extra step of simmering the marinade and using it as a basting sauce is optional. It is not included in the original recipe; the marinade is so good, that I wanted to give it another use. (And it gives the meat a pretty sheen.) If you’re planning to feed six to eight people, you need not double the quantity of marinade; it’s sufficient to marinate about two pounds of chicken.

(Adapted from Global Grilling by Jay Solomon)

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 to 1½ pounds total)

For the Marinade

½ cup soy sauce
½ cup Worcestershire sauce (if your supply of Worcestershire is running low, Sam says you can by with half as much)
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (a microplane is great for this, or try Sam’s suggestion)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper


4 hamburger buns, buttered and grilled
1 to 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
4 to 5 leaves leaf or romaine lettuce, torn

Cut the chicken breasts crosswise, about in the middle, to separate the rounded and much thicker part of the breast from the tapered, thin section. Now cut the thick pieces of chicken in half laterally, to create two thinner sections that will be closer in thickness to the thin, tapered pieces. This will make the pieces a manageable size to eat in a sandwich, and allow for even cooking time.

In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the marinade. Whisk well and transfer to a large Ziplock bag. Add the chicken and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2 to 4 hours, but not longer. Every hour or so, turn the bag this way and that to distribute the marinade.

Set up your grill for indirect heat with two cooking zones, with the bulk of the briquettes to one side. Preheat the grill until the coals are gray to white or, if using a gas grill, to medium-high heat.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before the grill is ready.

When the grill is hot, clean and oil the grates. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grill directly over the heat. (Do not discard the marinade.) Cook for 5 minutes, covered, until nicely browned and seared. While the chicken is cooking, pour the marinade into a saucepan and gently boil over medium heat for a few minutes. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes more. Set aside for use as a basting sauce.

When the chicken is nicely browned on one side, turn the chicken pieces over and move them to the cool side of the grill. (If you’re working on a gas grill that doesn’t permit multiple zones, turn the heat to the lowest setting.) Cook, covered, for another 4 or 5 minutes, or until the chicken is lightly browned. Move the chicken pieces to the hottest portion of the grill, or if using a gas grill turn the heat to high, and baste the chicken with the sauce. Immediately turn the pieces over and let caramelize for a half-minute or so—watch so chicken doesn’t burn. Apply the basting sauce again, turn, and let caramelize. Do this a few times, until the chicken is nicely browned on both sides, has a lovely sheen, and is white in the center. Keep an eye on the smaller pieces of chicken, as they will cook more quickly; remove pieces from the grill as are done, or move to the cool part of the grill.

Serve the chicken on the warm buns with the lettuce and slices of avocado and tomato.

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