Quesadillas are the best quick food…perfect for when you’re desperate for sustenance and melted cheese and don’t want to wait more than 10 minutes. BBQ chicken quesadillas take all the traditional flavors from the BBQ chicken pizza we’re used to, and stuff them into a quesadilla: roasted chicken breast basted with BBQ butter, store-bought BBQ sauce, red onions, cheddar and the most delicious smoked onion ranch for dipping.
These are a little more involved as you have to roast some chicken breast, but they are so so worth it. You can absolutely take shortcuts (rotisserie chicken or make ahead) so you too can enjoy the 10-minute skillet-to-table benefits of quesadillas.
And oh my gosh, I’m obsessed with the smoked onion ranch that I made with these! There’s a restaurant in my hometown where I first had smoked onion ranch and it’s one of those things I crave. It’s great with anything you would usually dip and drizzle ranch on (so basically everything), but it pairs especially well with these quesadillas. I attempted to re-create the dressing because I don’t live close to that restaurant anymore, and I have to say, I had some of theirs recently and this one is as good (if not better) than the original.
If you really want to have some fun, you can buy a Smoking Gun and smoke your onions with that. Fancy molecular gastronomy restaurants have these so naturally, I had to have one too. I’m not adept at using a smoker, so to smoke the small amount of onions here, I start up my Smoking Gun, place them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and smoke for about 15 to 20 minutes. This makes my brother so mad that I call this “smoking” as he actually smokes food on a smoker for hours and hours. But hey, where there’s smoke?
You can also use an outdoor or stovetop smoker, charcoal grill or you can just char them over a gas grill if you don’t have any of the above options.
I feel like today calls for these wedges of gooey, drippy deliciousness.
Roasted chicken basted with BBQ butter, cheddar and pepper jack cheese, red onions, cilantro all packed into a quesadilla and served with the most delicious smoked onion ranch for dipping!
SMOKED ONION RANCH:
- 1 large onion, thickly sliced
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more to thin
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijon
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha, plus more to taste
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast
- 1/2 cup favorite store-bought BBQ sauce
- 8 soft flour tortillas (taco-size)
- 8 ounces Cheddar Jack, shredded
- 8 ounces Pepper Jack, shredded
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves (picked from stem)
For the smoked onion ranch: Preheat the grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat. When hot, char the onion for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until softened with blackened grill marks. Smoke the onions until the flavor is imparted, depending on your smoker. (If you don’t have access to a smoker or The Smoking Gun, add a few drops of Liquid Smoke to taste.) Coarsely chop the onion.
- In a blender, combine the chopped onion, buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon, Sriracha and garlic. Process until relatively smooth; you will strain out the onion pieces, so don’t worry about processing too much. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the dressing into a small bowl to remove the pieces, pushing the mixture through the strainer to get most of the liquid out. Mix the dill and parsley into the bowl. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. If your dressing needs a little more smoke and onion flavor, add some of the onion solids you strained out until you get the flavor you want. Discard the rest of the solids. Cover and chill for a few hours to allow the flavors to combine.
- F0r the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400°and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Mix all of the ingredients together for the BBQ butter. Gently separate the skin from the chicken to form a pouch for the butter with your fingers, taking care not to tear the skin or fully remove from the breast. Spread the butter underneath the skin, smushing it around to evenly cover the meat. Drizzle the outside of the chicken with a little olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°. Set aside until cool enough to shred. Once cooled, remove the chicken skin and cut the meat from the bone; using your fingers or two forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Mix the chicken with your desired amount of BBQ sauce.
- Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot, ensuring you use a skillet large enough to hold your tortillas.
- Assemble the quesadillas by layering the cheese, BBQ chicken, red onion, and cilantro leaves, starting and ending with the cheese. Melt a pat of butter in the skillet; once melted, add the assembled quesadilla. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until golden brown and the cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and serve with the smoked onion ranch.