Chicken sandwich with lettuce and pickles

Camp recipe: Pickle chicken sandwiches

Nothing satisfies the tastebuds quite like a chicken sandwich. So why deprive yourself of this craving when you’re camping? Not only are they delicious, but they are easy to prep, satiate you with some much-needed electrolytes, carbs and protein after a long day on the trail and make use of items you probably already have at home (we’re looking at you, forgotten pickle jar in the back of the fridge). Pickle-brined chicken is extra tasty because it adds great flavor to the meat and helps it retain its moisture so it stays juicy on the grill.

So, wipe the drool from your chin and let’s get cooking.


  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs or tenderloins. Breasts can work too, but we recommend slicing them horizontally so they are thinner and/or pounding them. This will help them absorb more brine and cook quicker with less risk of undercooked chicken.
  • Dill pickle juice
  • Cheese (we love a gouda or a classic cheddar)
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Mayonnaise (or other condiments of choice)
  • Bun (may we recommend ciabatta?) or wrap


The night before you head to your campsite, prep your chicken by placing it in a gallon sealable bag. Pour in your pickle juice until all of the chicken is submerged.

Make sure your sealable bag is free of air and sealed. Lay it in your fridge and let it brine overnight.

When you’re ready to pack up and leave, put your bag of brined chicken into your cooler.

Note: Finding pickle juice alone can be challenging and pricy. We just buy a jar of whole dill pickles, use the juice and either bag up any unsubmerged pickles as a trail snack or finely chop them up and toss them into the pickle back to really cement that pickle flavor.


  • Preheat your outdoor grill, this includes warming your coals, building your fire in your campsites fire ring or setting your propane grill to medium heat
  • Prep your picnic table with the fixings for easy sandwich assembly
  • Cook your chicken on your preheated grill. Chicken should sizzle when it touches the grate. Turn once halfway through grilling time. Grilling time depends on your cut of chicken. Chicken thighs should cook 10-15 minutes per side and chicken tenderloins should cook 3-5 minutes per side. Cut into your chicken and make sure it’s juice runs clear and there is no pink or red color.
  • Move your chicken to the edge of your grill off the direct heat or set it aside on a plate.
  • Grab your top buns and give them a quick toast – 30 seconds is enough if your fire is hot.
  • Place your cheese on your bottom bun and give it a quick toast.
  • Now, assemble your sandwich. We like to stack it bottom bun, cheese, chicken, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, top bun.
  • Dig in and enjoy!

This recipe is easily modifiable based on your tastes and preferences. Make it spicy, try different sauces, turn it into a salad or a skewer – the possibilities are endless if you’re hungry enough!

Chicken sandwich on a blue plate and checkered table cloth
Charcoal grilled pickle chicken on a toasted ciabatta bun with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and extra pickle — enjoyed at Schafer State Park.

Originally published May 20, 2024

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