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Posted on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 7 a.m.

New Mexico chicken sandwich: the perfect marriage of bacon, avocado and spicy mayo

By Jessica Webster


After falling in love with the New Mexico Grilled Chicken Sandwich at Zingerman's Roadhouse, I decided to try my hand at making them at home.

Jessica Webster |

Like it or not, we live in a town closely associated with sandwiches. Ask a touring musician about Ann Arbor, and they’re likely as not to rave about their favorite sandwich number at Zingerman’s Deli.

But my favorite sandwich comes from the west side of town. I’m a fool for the Zingerman’s Roadhouse New Mexico Grilled Chicken Sandwich.

Grilled chicken breast with jack cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado salad, green chiles, and spicy mayo, served up between two slices of grilled bread. It sounds so simple, but it’s heaven on a plate.

The problems with this sandwich are two-fold. One: the sandwich is only served at lunch, and I don’t work anywhere near the Roadhouse, making this something of an impossible feat. Two: even when I can sneak away for a longer lunch, the New Mexico chicken sandwich isn’t always on the menu.

Occasionally I will ask if the chef will make me a chicken sandwich when we’re at the Roadhouse for dinner, but ordering off-menu makes me feel kind of like a pretentious jerk, so I try not to do it too often.

It finally occurred to me that other than the house-roasted New Mexico chili peppers, there’s nothing all that magic about how Zingerman’s puts those ingredients together, and I’ve started making my own New Mexico chicken sandwiches for weeknight dinners.

At the restaurant, the sandwich is served on grilled bread, but I have found that it’s easier to make - and to eat - when I used hamburger or pretzel buns.

New Mexico Chicken Sandwich

Spicy mayonnaise adapted from Zingerman's Roadhouse recipe

  • 1/2 cup Hellman’s mayo
  • 4 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot cayenne pepper sauce
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients well. Cover and refrigerate.

Avocado spread

  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • lime juice
  • salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, mash the avocado and lime juice together until the avocado is smooth. Stir in the cilantro, salt and pepper. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken fillets (I buy organic, free range)
  • 4 slices Monterey jack cheese
  • 4 leaves romaine, washed, dried and torn to fit the sandwich rolls
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked
  • 1 large tomato, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons canned minced hot green chilis (or a poblano pepper, roasted, skinned and seeded and divided into 4 parts)
  • 4 hamburger or sandwich rolls (I used pretzel buns)

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken fillets, then saute them in the olive oil for approximately 5 minutes each side (until the chicken is cooked through an there is no more pink in the middle.)

While the chicken is cooking, slice the buns in half and spread a tablespoon of spicy mayonnaise on the cut side of each bun, top and bottom.

When the chicken is cooked through, turn off the heat and lay a slice of cheese on top of each fillet. Cover the pan and let it sit for a minute or two as the cheese melts on the chicken.

Build your chicken sandwiches from the bottom up, starting with two slices of bacon per sandwich. Layer on the lettuce and tomato, then use a spatula to carefully place the cheese-covered chicken breast on the bun. Top that with one quarter of the avocado spread per sandwich, then the hot green chilis. Finally, place the top half of the bun on top and serve immediately.

I like to serve with baked sweet potato fries. If there’s any remaining spicy mayonnaise, it makes a great sweet potato fry dip.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for Reach her at You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Almost anything you see in the restaurants these days can be made at home. With half the fat and calories. I love dissecting food at restaurants and then trying to replicate at home. Happy experimenting.

Sofia Toti

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

Try Thai Hot Mayo (I found it @ Hiller's, I think) & New Mexico green chiles ( from Hatxh Chile Express) as substitutes.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

Hi Sofia- Here's a recipe for a sandwhich spread I tried out last week and enjoyed: Plain greek yogurt+Small can of tomato paste+Few drops of lime juice+Dash of garlic powder+Sriracha to personal taste

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

OK, I'm a vegetarian and I think this looks darn good. Where do you buy pretzel buns?


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

I thought I saw them at Meijer on sale. Sounded yummy.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

Costco has them $5.99 for dozen

Jessica Webster

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

These are the best pretzel buns we've tried so far. I got them at the Cranbrook Whole Foods.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

When I was in college, I loved Beansters in the Michigan League because they serve a pretzel bun grilled cheese. YUM!


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

Sounds yummy! Can't wait to add it into our dinner meal plan rotation


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

Sounds delicious! And I wonder how much $/serving it is to make at home versus the Zingerman's version? (Sacrilege, I know!)

Jessica Webster

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

I think the Zing sandwich, with fries, comes in at $14 or so. If I add up all the ingredients, using free-range chicken, the pretzel buns from Whole Foods and Nueske's bacon, estimating an approximate percentage of the mayonnaise and hot sauce bottles I used, I will guess these cost me about $9.50 a sandwich.