Lime-Chili Grilled Corn and   BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Pickled Red Onions (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Lime-Chili Grilled Corn and   BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Pickled Red Onions (Photo/Faith Kramer)

How about some ‘beer mitzvah’ food this Father’s Day?

How about making it a hands-on Father’s Day this year — as in hand-held foods for dad and/or anyone else who likes to get their mitts on juicy barbecued chicken sandwiches, pastrami sliders and grilled corn-on-the-cob flavored with lime and chili?

The following recipes are adapted from the food served at Temple Israel’s recent fundraiser, cleverly titled “Beer Mitzvah.” Held at the 99-year-old Alameda synagogue, the Jewish-themed suds fest paired beers and ciders from 13 local makers with food prepared by caterer Jeff Pierce. The recipes that follow aren’t his, but were inspired by his creations.

The Beer Mitzvah, coordinated by Kimberlee MacVicar, helped raise money for the synagogue’s programs and its upcoming centennial year. Oscar Delgado and the CA Beer Society, a local social club of craft-beer enthusiasts who explore small breweries in the Bay Area and beyond, helped with expertise and serving.

A couple of notes on the food and recipes. First, Pierce served his BBQ chicken sandwiches with a delicious homemade sauce, whereas I opted to use a bottled sauce (choose one on the tangy side for a taste closest to Pierce’s version). Also, while Pierce served sliders with his own home-cured pastrami, I am not including such a recipe. I did make some, but I opted to use good-quality purchased pastrami, stuffing it into small pretzel buns and slathering it with mustard, with dill pickle slices on the side, of course.

BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Pickled Red Onions

Serves 4

  • 1 recipe Pickled Red Onions (see below)
  • 1 recipe Chicken Spice Mix (see below)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • Oil for grill
  • ¼ cup plus ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup arugula leaves
  • 4 sesame seed buns

At least a few hours before serving, prepare Pickled Red Onions (see below).

Pickled Red Onions (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Pickled Red Onions (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Make Chicken Spice Mix. Rub spice mixture on all sides of chicken. Brush oil on grill racks. Heat gas, charcoal or indoor grill, grill pan or broiler to medium-high. Grill on both sides until chicken is almost cooked. Use ¼ cup of bottled barbecue sauce. Brush one side of chicken with sauce, flip and brush other side with sauce. Grill a minute, then flip again and grill until chicken is just cooked through.

Let chicken rest 5-10 minutes. Toast buns. Slice chicken. Spread thin layer of remaining sauce on the cut sides of buns. Place ¼ of sliced chicken on bottom of a bun. Spoon 1 Tbs. sauce over chicken, then top with 1 to 2 Tbs. of Pickled Red Onions mixture and ¼ of the arugula. Cover with top of bun. Repeat with remaining buns. Serve with extra sauce and onions on the side.

Pickled Red Onions: Thinly slice 1 medium red onion. Put in heat-safe jar. Heat 1 cup apple cider vinegar with ½ tsp. salt, 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns and 1 tsp. sugar in small saucepan. Simmer until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour over onions. (Onions should be covered; if not, add more vinegar.) Cool. Screw on lid. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 2 weeks.

Chicken Spice Mixture: Combine 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. chili powder (spice mix for chili), ½ tsp. mustard powder, ½ tsp. kosher salt, ½ tsp. Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp. ground cumin and ¼ tsp. ground black pepper. Stir. Store airtight. Can be made weeks in advance.

Lime-Chili Grilled Corn

Serves 4

  • 1 stick (½ cup) salted butter or parve stick margarine (do not use tub margarine)
  • 1 tsp. minced lime zest
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • ⅛ to ¼ tsp. ground red pepper
  • 4 ears corn

Melt butter with zest, juice and red pepper in small saucepan. Heat indoor, gas or charcoal grill to medium. Reheat melted spread if needed. Baste corn while grilling, turning corn as needed, until corn is done. Reheat remaining spread and serve with corn.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].