Grilled Chicken in a Cheese Philly? We Vote Yes!

OK, we all agree that a traditional Philly is made with tasty slices of seasoned and marinated beef. But why not think outside of the box, recipe box that is, and try something a bit different when it comes to grilling this labor day weekend. Heck, it’s a three-day weekend so you can grill some steak strips for a Philly Cheese Steak one day, then go with some burgers or dogs on another day, and then finish things off with this simple flavor-packed recipe for a Grilled Chicken Philly!

So… What’s Labor Day?

That’s a fair question. Many of us have grown up knowing the National Holiday as the traditional “End of Summer” day off with some grilling tossed in. Actually, Labor Day is best described by the folks at

Labor Day 2019 is on Monday, September 2nd. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day weekend also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, street parades and athletic events.  Labor Day originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks. – Source:

To sum it up – we celebrate the hard labor our ancestors put in by taken a day off and firing up the grill! And that includes grilling up a Chicken Philly!

Seasoning is Key!

A traditional Philly Cheese Steak includes a blend of spices along with onions, some olive oil, cheese, and a hoagie roll. The only thing we are switching out is the steak with some grilled chicken. And the seasoning mixture is a key to success! Start by combining these spices in a bowl while making sure to crumble the Italian seasoning slightly with your fingers. Double the recipe if needed and tweak to make your own.

  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

You can also buy packets of Philly seasoning at the grocery store but where’s the fun in that?

The Recipe

This is so simple! All you need is the seasoning above and some cubed chicken to get started! You can use breast meat, tenders, and even dark meat such as boneless and skinless thighs. Make sure it’s cubed so the seasoning covers all sides.

  • Philly seasoning from above
  • 1 1/2 pounds cubed chicken
  • olive oil
  • sliced white onion
  • sliced bell pepper, red or green
  • Hoagie rolls, hot dog buns, etc.
  • Cheese! Provolone, or swiss, or white American, or get crazy with Munster… or even cheese whiz! Yep – it sounds kinda strange but you’d be surprised at the flavor.

Place the chicken into a large bowl drizzle with some olive oil, add in the seasoning while rolling and tossing gently. Cover evenly and then place the mix into a zip-close bag, seal, and place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Slice up some onions and bell peppers, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken  – may need a grilling basket since it’s been cubed and start grilling the onions and peppers. The BBQ Dragon rolling grilling basket would be a perfect tool to use with this recipe!

Toast the buns if desired, then load them up with the grilled chicken, top with onions and peppers, and place them face up in foil boats and top with cheese. Close the lid and serve when the cheese is melted!

Get Crazy!

Here’s a bonus idea! Top the Philly’s with this quick and easy mayo-based sauce. It’s a version of Alabama white barbecue sauce often served with chicken. Get some mayo, stir in some Worchestershire sauce, sprinkle with some garlic powder, black pepper, and a splash of lime juice. Stir, chill, serve on your Chicken Philly or on just about anything else served off the grill!

Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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