BBQ Chicken Pizza Stuffed Chicken

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I discovered the wonders of BBQ Chicken Pizza when I was about 10 years old. 

If my memory serves me correctly, I devoured my first slice (or it may have been the whole dang pie) of BBQ Chicken Pizza while dining at Spinnaker's Restaurant, a chain of restaurants that housed themselves in  shopping malls in the early 90s, with this particular one being located in the Inlet Square Mall.  I was instantly hooked.   

In fact, I'm pretty sure I refused to eat any other pizza combination for about a ten year stretch. BBQ Chicken Pizza or nothing for my younger self. 

And you can bet with my dad and that diva attitude, I got nothing on several occasions. 

But can you really blame me?  What's not to love about this creative pizza combination?  Tangy barbecue sauce combined with gooey, smokey Gouda cheese, char grilled chicken breast and red onions topped with fresh cilantro. 
My 32-year-old-self facing summertime will tell you exactly what's not to love - carbs.  As in that whole "pizza" part of the BBQ Chicken Pizza.

No worries.  Problem solved. I created a BBQ Chicken Pizza, sans pizza.  I simply stuffed all of those amazing pizza toppings inside the chicken breast and threw it on the grill.  I promise you won't even miss the pizza part. 

That is unless you have experienced BBQ Chicken Pizza on a really crispy yet doughy crust fresh out of a wood fire oven from somewhere like Wolfgang Puck's Pizza Bar. Then you probably will miss the pizza part. In which case, I don't know what to tell you - I never claimed to be a miracle worker.

Oh, and I learned a valuable lesson.  Gouda does not melt well on top of chicken on the grill.  It actually chars, turns black and hardens.  Who knew?  Good thing I overdid it on the cheese in the stuffing. 

BBQ Chicken Pizza Stuffed Chicken
Serves:  4
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  40 minutes

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces of smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, halved and sliced
1 cup of Barbecue Sauce (I used, and worship, Sweet Baby Rays)
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

For Brine:
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of salt (I use Kosher salt)
1 teaspoon of thyme
2 teaspoons of garlic powder

In a gallon size plastic bag, add water, salt, thyme and garlic powder.  Mix well and add chicken.  Allow chicken to soak for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, shred cheese, chop cilantro and onion, and preheat grill to high heat.  Using a grill pan (or skewer the onions to prevent them from falling through grates), grill onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove onions and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Mix onions, Gouda cheese, chopped cilantro (reserving a few pinches for garnish) and 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce in a bowl.  Remove chicken from brine.  Butterfly chicken and pound to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness with flat side of a mallet (video tutorial by Martha here).   Divide cheese, cilantro and onion stuffing among the chicken breasts.  Roll up chicken breasts and secure with a tooth pick(s) to hold stuffing in while grilling.  Grill over high heat until cooked to 165 degrees, about 5-8 minutes per side.  Slather chicken with barbecue sauce during the last 3-5 minutes of cooking.  Serve immediately.


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