Credit: © Aliza J. Sokolow

If given the choice between pork and chicken… well, let’s just say that pork appears in some mighty good sandwiches. But at aestus in Santa Monica, California, chef Andrew Betita has created a pulled chicken sandwich every bit as delicious as its porkier cousin.

The key? Betita’s house barbecue sauce. “We roast Granny Smith apples in the embers of our grill, blended and cooked with Bragg's apple cider vinegar, orange juice, ginger, molasses, red onion, garlic, bell peppers, balsamic vinegar and spices.” (Phew.) The result is tangy, sweet, and spicy at all once — a killer match for the chicken.

The bread: An onion brioche bun from local favorite Breadbar Bakery, toasted and slathered with aioli.

The filling: Betita starts with a whole roasted Mary's organic chicken, then pulls the meat off and simmers with that incredible apple barbecue sauce. From there, he piles “a healthy portion” of chicken and sauce on the bun — along with a house bread & butter pickle, and a slaw featuring shaved red cabbage, carrot, and celery, with an apple cider vinaigrette.