Open-Face BBQ Chicken Club with Guacamole and Provolone

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Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-Sandwich-with-Guacamole-and-ProvoloneI’m fresh off the vacation boat, and given my post Euro trip comedown/severe jet lag, all things are a serious struggle right now.

That said, in a single week I managed to cultivate a very respectable base tan, master upwards of six words in Italian, and capture many priceless photos/videos of my roommate in all his Mediterranean mer-man glory, so I’m doing my best to practice gratitude. Sure, I may be tired, sad and sweaty right now, but just a few days ago I was celebrating the most magical of No-Calorie Sundays in Florence. I am truly #blessed.

God knows I plan to give you the full run-down of my Italian adventures, but attempting such a feat this morning would only intensify my post-vacation blues. Instead, I’d like to focus on the glorious mini-vacay that’s in all of our very near futures…

Let’s hear it for the Fourth of July!

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-Sandwich-with-Guacamole-and-Provolone-2I love the Fourth. Yes, I enjoy an excuse to wear a good star print while sipping Bud heavies and eating my annual hot dog, but I mostly appreciate the holiday’s ability to bring friends and family together. I like to call it “Summer Christmas,” since most peeps make an effort to spend it with their nearest and dearest. (I also like to call it Summer Christmas in the hope that friends get confused and bring presents, but that’s beside the point.)

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-Sandwich-with-Guacamole-and-Provolone-9I grew up spending my Fourths in Maine, and excluding the Parisian years and the two times I was forced to noodle at Widespread Panic concerts, I’ve always managed to make it up to Northeast Harbor to celebrate. The festivities have morphed over the years from low-key family time, to patriotic raging (the “Selena” phase), and back again (last year, Logan and my dad passed out in front of The Lego Movie post s’mores, while I drank cocktails and giggled to myself), but one thing has remained constant. There has been, and there always will be, a seriously epic barbecue.

I know that burgers and hot dogs are traditional Fourth of July fare, but I’m thinking maybe we mix things up this weekend and throw some Open-Face BBQ Chicken Clubs with Guacamole and Provolone into the mix?

Open-Face-BBQ-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Provolone-3These are my new go-to summer sandwich, friends. I think I’ve become so focused on developing  “innovative” recipes that I often forget the importance of sharing the basics. Classics like the chicken club are classic for a reason—they’re undeniably bomb—and this open-face version with a few simple upgrades really takes this crowd-pleasing sando to the next level.

First, you’re going to grill a slice of really good, crusty bread until it’s nice and toasty and spread it with a thick layer of zesty guac. Pile it high with crispy, chopped romaine hearts before adding a juicy piece of grilled chicken smothered in your favorite BBQ sauce and plenty of provolone. Cheese is key here, people, which is why I I used Sargento® 100% real, natural cheese that gets perfectly melty and has an awesome hint of smokiness. Finish the whole thing off with thick slices of summer tomatoes, some crispy bacon, and bing, bang, BOOM. Serious flavor fireworks worthy of your Fourth of July fiesta.

Open-Face-BBQ-Chicken-Club-Sandiwch-with-Guacamole-and-Provolone-8In addition to being a total taste treat, these chicken clubs are also quick (I’m talking 30 minutes total with a cocktail lag), nearly impossible to screw up, and super versatile. Clearly I recommend serving them at your long weekend gatherings, but they’re equally boss as an easy weeknight dinner, and you should feel free to adapt them to suit your personal tastes. Add another piece of bread for a less messy handheld meal, or lighten things up by ditching the bread in favor of a “club salad.” Experiment with different BBQ sauces, or maybe drizzle the whole shebang with Dude Diet Ranch. You know I love it when you do you.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-Toast-with-Guacamole-and-Provolone-7Oh, and if you’re into cheese (who isn’t?), make sure to check out Sargento on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and share your Sargento Cheese summer creations with #realcheesepeople. You can also find more dank summery recipes using Sargento Slices here.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Provolone-11Happy Fourth of July week, peeps!

(I wish Firework was playing on a loop while you read this. It would be good for morale.)

Open-Face BBQ Chicken Club with Guacamole and Provolone: (Serves 4)

8 slices bacon
1½ ripe avocados
1 tablespoon lime juice
Kosher salt
Fresh Ground pepper
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2/3 cup barbecue sauce of your choice
4 slices Sargento Provolone Natural Cheese Slices, sliced in half
4 slices of your favorite crusty bread (I used a country white, but sourdough or multigrain would also be amazing.)
2 cups chopped Romaine hearts
2 tomatoes, sliced into thick rounds

Preparing your Open-Face BBQ Chicken Club with Guacamole and Provolone:

-Let’s start with the bacon. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Arrange the bacon on the rack, making sure to leave a little bit of space between each piece. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and crispy. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

How-To-Cook-Perfect-Bacon-Meanwhile, whip up your guac. Scoop the avocado from their skin and place it in a bowl. Add the lime juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper and mash with a form until relatively smooth.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-1-Stir in the red onion and cilantro. Taste and season with a little extra salt and pepper if necessary. Cover that deliciousness tightly with plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-2-Moving on to the chicken! Place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy skillet, pound the chicken to roughly ½-inch thickness.

chicken-paillard-with-arugula-and-watermelon-salad-step-4-Pre-heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Season the pounded chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-3-Grill for 2 minutes on each side.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-4-Move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill (or turn the heat on your grill pan down to medium-low). Brush the chicken with barbecue sauce and cook for 4 more minutes, turning the breasts every minute or so and brushing them with more barbecue sauce, until cooked through.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-5-Place two provolone halves on top of each breast and cook for 1 more minute until melted. Transfer to a plate.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-6-Place your bread on the grill for a minute or so on each side to get it nice and toasty.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-7-Now it’s time to assemble these bad boys! Spread one side of each piece of bread with a thick layer of guacamole.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-8-Now get the romaine on there.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-9-And a cheesy BBQ chicken breast.

Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Bacon-step-10-Top each with 2 slices of tomato and 2 slices of bacon. GET WEIRD.

Domesticate-ME-Open-Face-Barbecue-Chicken-Club-with-Guacamole-and-Provolone-9Compensation for this post was provided by Sargento Foods via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Sargento Foods or AOL.

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