Sunday, August 18, 2019

Grilled Chicken Pita on the Big Green Egg

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

I have been on a Middle Eastern food kick lately so Alexis and I made these fantastic Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki last week.  I marinated the chicken with a spicy oregano vinaigrette and then grilled it to perfection - juicy and bursting with flavor.

Grilled Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki cooked on a Big Green Egg kamado grill

I blame my Middle Eastern cravings on Knoxville's own Yassin's Falafel House.  Yassin's has a message of inclusivity and tolerance and won Reader's Digest's Nicest Place in America last year.  They also happen to make insanely good falafel and one of the best gyros I have ever had.

Yassin's Falafel House in Knoxville has the best gyros and falafel.

We ate at the Yassin's in West Knoxville last week, and it was fabulous as always.  The next night, I was still craving Middle Eastern delights, so we whipped up these pitas.



How to make chicken pitas on the Big Green Egg kamado grill


I started with Gerber's Amish Farm chicken tenders from Food City and made the vinaigrette to use as a marinade.  Instead of using plain red pepper flakes, I upgraded it with Olde Virden's Red Hot. Olde Virden's is crafted in small batches by Chris and Allyson Virden, and it features dried serrano, jalapeno, and habanero chiles. It has more flavor, heat, and personality than red pepper flakes.

Marinade recipe for chicken pitas feature Olde Virden's Red Hot
If you don't feel like making a marinade, you could just marinate chicken tenders in a Greek vinaigrette.

NMT Middle Eastern Chicken Marinade

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients


  • 3/4 cups olive oil 
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Olde Virden's Red Hot
  • kosher salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon

Instructions


  1. Whisk ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl.
  2. Marinade chicken for 2-4 hours.

Grilling chicken for pitas on the Big Green Egg Mini-Max.
Since I only had 1 pound of chicken to grill, I chose to use my Big Green Egg Mini-Max.  The set up was a Kick Ash Basket full of Tennessee hardwood lump charcoal, a Woo Ring to elevate the grate, and a stock BGE cast iron grate.  

Grilled Gerber Amish Farms chicken tenders from Food City
I grilled the chicken strips for about 2 1/2 minutes per side at 450f.

Using the Thermapen Classic to accurately measure the temperature.
As always, times/temps are a guideline.  Go by internal temperature for knowing when your food is done.  I rely on one of my Thermapens for quick and accurate readings.  I usually pull white meat chicken off the grill between 155° and 160°f, but tenders are so small they aren't going to have much carryover cooking.  I pull these right at 165°f.

Yassin's slices their tomatoes thinly so I followed suit.  I season them with a pinch or two of kosher salt.

I thinly slice the iceberg lettuce and season it with a few pinches of black pepper and oregano. 

Toasting pita bread over red hot coals on a small kamado grill.
Finally, I toast the pitas on the grill for about 20 seconds per side at 450°f.
Oh yeah, we made tzatziki sauce to dress the pitas.  I made a "happy accident" with our tzatziki and spilled some white ground pepper in it.  Loved it and now I'm keeping it that way.

Happy Accident Tzatziki

makes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Fage non-fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, seeded, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon white ground pepper
  • several pinches of salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon

Instructions 

  1. Wring out the cucumber to remove excess moisture.
  2. Place the cucumber and garlic in a food processor or blender and puree.
  3. Whisk together all ingredients and season to taste.
  4. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving.

Grilled chicken pita recipe
Easy to make, quick dinner for two. 

Big in flavor, lower in fat and calories, grilled chicken pitas are a good fit for modern diets.


So darn good and a fun change of pace. I'd make this exact recipe again.  I haven't made gyros in quite a while, mainly because I don't have a rotisserie or rodizio for any of my kamado grills.   That said, I think it's time to make gyros sometime soon.

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