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Red Robin BBQ Chicken Salad copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Red Robin BBQ Chicken Salad

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Menu Description: "Breast of chicken basted with BBQ sauce & topped with Cheddar cheese, tomato, fresh avocado, and black beans. Served with Ranch dressing & garlic cheese bread."

In 1969, Gerald Kingen bought a beat-up 30-year old bar called Red Robin in Seattle across the road from the University of Washington. The pub did a booming business with the college and local crowd, but in 1973 building officials gave their opinion of the bar: either fix it up or shut it down. Jerry not only fixed up the 1200-square-foot building, but also expanded it to three times its old size, and added a kitchen to start making food. Red Robin soon became popular for its wide selection of gourmet burgers in addition to the designer cocktails. Jerry says wanted to create a chain of restaurants that would be recognized as "the adult McDonald's and poor man's Trader Vic's."

Use my Red Robin BBQ Chicken Salad recipe below to re-create the chain's signature salad. All the components are here, including a recipe for crispy onion straws.

See if I hacked your favorite burgers from Red Robin here

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

Get This

  • 1/2 cup canned black beans
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce (Bullseye or K.C. Masterpiece work well)
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups chopped green leaf or iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1 small tomato, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup French's French Fried Onion or Onion Straws recipe below
  • 3 avocado slices (1/4 avocado)
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
Onion Straws (See "Tidbits")
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced white onion
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup cold water
Do This

1. Fire up your barbecue or indoor grill to high heat.

2. Warm the black beans with liquid in the microwave for 2 minutes, or in a saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes. Take the beans off the heat and let them cool while you prepare the chicken.

3. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breast. Grill the chicken on a hot barbecue grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until done. Brush a generous coating of barbecue sauce over the chicken as it grills.

4. Toss the lettuces and cabbage together and arrange on a large plate.

5. Arrange the tomato on the lettuce mixture at the bottom of the plate.

6. Drain the liquid from the beans, and spread 1/2 cup over the lettuce on the left side of the plate.

7. Slice the warm chicken into bite-size pieces and arrange them neatly over the lettuce in the center of the plate.

8. Sprinkle the cheese over the lettuce on the right side of the plate.

9. Sprinkle the onion straws over the cheese.

10. Garnish the salad with 3 slices of avocado arranged side by side on the right rim of the plate. Serve with the ranch dressing and the remaining barbecue sauce on the side.

Makes 1 large salad.

Tidbits: You can also make the onion straws yourself by following this simple recipe:

1. Heat the oil in a wide saucepan to about 350 degrees F.

2. Slice the onion into very thin onion rings and then cut the rings in half, making long strips or straws. Try to slice the onion as thin as possible.

3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the cold water and whisk until the batter is smooth.

4. When the oil it hot, drop the onions into the batter. Remove the onions one at a time, let them drip off a bit, and then place them into the hot oil. You will want to cook these for about 2 minutes, or until you see them turn golden brown. Drain the onion straws on a paper towel.

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I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For over 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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