• Barker BBQ

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken & Pancetta Burgers

Its February 11th as I’m writing this, over the past 48 hours we have had 10-12 inches of snow, temperature has been around 10 degrees and the wind blew around 45 mph a couple days ago. I need a taste of summer.

Our cast of characters:

First thing to do is to get a grill going, one nice thing about this recipe is it can be made inside or outside, whatever you want. Cook over charcoal (that’s what we did), gas or pellet grill or throw the chicken in a cast iron pan inside if its too cold! If its the summer though you better be outside!

I started a fire with some FOGO Charcoal and got our chicken seasoned up. We used our Sweet Lou rub. Its the perfect rub for a sandwich like this, sweet with a little spice on the back end. Just give the chicken thigh a good coat of rub, let it sit on the meat for 5-10 minutes and throw it on the grill. We used chicken thighs that were boneless and skinless.

Pro Tip: Heres where a hot side and a cool side of the grill come in handy, or a direct heat side and an indirect side. If the chicken gets too crispy on the outside before the internal temperature hits 165-170 just move it indirect and it won’t burn while it comes up to your finished temperature. Always make sure you bring your chicken to at least 165 degrees internal temperature.

The chicken will take around 5-7 minutes a side, I like to flip every couple minutes, and cook with the lid of the grill open the whole time.

Onto the pineapple. throw a little rub on the pineapple slices and give them 2-3 minutes per side and they will be ready to go. No need to go crazy with the rub here, something like this…

Lets finish off the meat and then onto the sauce, fancy bacon makes everything better right? We went with some Pancetta, Pancetta is just another way pork belly is prepared, I like it because it comes sliced very thin and over a grill it crisps up perfectly for a sandwich like this. Heres what our grill looked like with the Pancetta getting crisp right before we added the cheese to the chicken.

Time for the sauce, this is a super easy recipe and one to throw in the back pocket whenever you need a honey mustard, feel free to do less, more or none of the cayenne if you don’t want any heat. Mix the mustard, honey, cayenne and pineapple juice together. its as easy as that! I mixed up the sauce in the middle of the cook while everything was on the grill, feel free to make the sauce before you start grilling for one less thing to do while cooking.

Throw some Swiss cheese (I like Tillamook Cheeses) onto the chicken to melt for a few minutes and its almost time to eat! At this point I like to get the buns over the fire for 30-60 seconds to get a little toast.

Time to assemble! I like sauce on both the buns, nothing crazy just a light layer, the pineapple will give you some juice and we don’t want a soggy sandwich.

Start with the chicken, then the pineapple and the pancetta. We went with some shredded iceberg, tomato and red onion and it was done! The perfect burger to grill up in the middle of winter when you need a little taste of summer in your life.

Time to go shovel more snow…is it spring yet?

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Burgers

Grilled chicken burgers with pineapple and pancetta.


1-8 Sweet Hawaiian Buns (Any Hamburger Bun Will Do)

1-8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thigh

1-8 Slices Rounds of Pineapple

1-8 Pieces Swiss Cheese

1-8 Slices Pancetta

2 tbsp Hot Dijon Mustard

Sweet Lou Rub as Needed

1 tbsp Honey

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tbsp Pineapple Juice

As needed Tomato

As needed Iceburg Lettuce

As needed Red Onion


Prep your grill for a direct cooking area and an indirect cooking area. Prepare all your ingredients ahead of time, having everything ready to go on the grill when it needs to will help make the cook quick and the burger to all be served hot. The sauce can be made ahead of time if needed.

Season the chicken thighs and allow the rub to set up on the chicken for 5-10 minutes.

Cook Chicken over direct heat until internal temperature of 165-170 degrees. When chicken is 1/2 way done season and grill pineapple for 2-3 minutes per side. Grill pancetta until crisp. Add Cheese to chicken during last 2-3 minutes of grilling.

Mix sauce. Whisk together, hot mustard, honey, cayenne and pineapple juice.

Toast buns for 30 seconds each side until they start to turn brown. When everything is grilled sauce the buns, add the chicken, pineapple, pancetta and veggies.