BBQ Chicken Packed Pita

Total Time:
40 min
25 min
15 min

4 sandwiches

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (or a combination of breasts and thighs)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup BBQ rub, recipe follows
  • Oil, for grilling
  • 2/3 cup BBQ sauce, recipe follows or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag washed baby spinach leaves (or 1 cup frozen, drained and chopped)
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 whole-wheat flat breads (such as naan or Mediterranean style pita)
  • 6 ounces shredded Cheddar/jack cheese blend
  • Smoky BBQ Rub:
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (crushed slightly with spice mill)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup granulated garlic
  • BBQ Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup finely minced yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ rub
  • 1/4 cup Creole mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke, optional
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 4 cups ketchup
  • Prepare a hot grill outside or preheat a grill pan to high heat and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Toss raw chicken in a bowl with rub, a few pieces at a time until all chicken is well coated. Grill chicken on well oiled grill or grill pan for about 2 minutes on each side, until nice grill marks are formed. If chicken pieces are very thick, finish cooking for 5 to 10 minutes more in the preheated oven. Allow chicken to cool a few minutes and then pull apart into nice shreds. Toss chicken with BBQ sauce so that it is well coated but not overly wet. Keep warm in a warm saute pan until ready to use.

  • Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic with wooden spoon. After 30 seconds add spinach and turn off heat. Toss spinach in hot oil, when wilted completely season with salt. Set aside.

  • Spread butter evenly over 1 side of each pita. In a large saute pan, grill each flatbread over medium-high heat, buttered side down (work in batches if necessary) top each flatbread with 1 1/2 ounces of cheese, 1/4 of the spinach, and 1/4 of the chicken. Fold each flatbread over and continue grilling until golden brown on each side. Cut in half crosswise, transfer to platter and serve.

Smoky BBQ Rub:
  • Combine all ingredients, using a whisk, wooden spoon or hands. Use hands to break up lumps of brown sugar.

BBQ Sauce:
  • Heat oil n a 1-gallon saucepan over medium heat, sweat onions until translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and sweat 1 more minute. Add dry spices and BBQ rub; stir. Cook until spices become fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add remaining ingredients and simmer slowly for 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree sauce until smooth.

Home Cook Recipe: A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. The Food Network Kitchen have not tested this recipe and therefore cannot make representation as to the results.

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