BBQ Chicken Packed Pita

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (about 2), cut into strips

1/2 to 3/4 cup BBQ rub, recipe follows

Oil, for grilling

2/3 cup BBQ sauce, recipe follows or store-bought

1 T. olive oil

2 T. minced garlic

1 (8-ounce) bag washed baby spinach leaves (or 1 cup frozen, drained and chopped)


2 T. butter, softened

4 whole-wheat flat breads (pita bread)

About 1 cup of shredded cheese


***Preheat a grill pan to high heat***

1. Toss raw chicken in a bowl with rub, a few pieces at a time until all chicken is well coated. Grill chicken in oil for about 2 minutes on each side, until cooked through. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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:

  • 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

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


BBQ Sauce:

  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 cup finely minced yellow onion
  • 2 T. finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 T. dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 T. BBQ rub
  • 1/4 cup Creole mustard
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 T. unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. liquid smoke, optional
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 4 cups ketchup

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 a blender, puree sauce until smooth.




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