Carolina-style BBQ Quesadilla Stacks/Around the Bend Ghost of ‘Lectricty/Sweet Apple “Sing The Night of Sorrow”
One lone pack of frozen chicken thighs. That was our lock ingredient for tonight’s dinner. The trick was how to use them in a way we haven’t yet before. We love chicken thighs, so versatile and so easy to cook, which means we already have a plethora of recipes in the poultry department on this website. While this recipe isn’t a total deviation of a prior recipe, it’s new enough and introduces enough new flavor combos it’s not like anything we’ve ever tasted. Get your knives and forks ready because this quesadilla cannot be handled with human hands. We’re calling them “Carolina Style” quesadilla stacks that features a tower of corn tortillas, brined & smoked chicken, pepper jack, slaw, “oh crap….wait a second” onions (more on that in the recipe section), a grilled pickle & jalapeño relish and a couple different types of BBQ sauce. We paired these stacks up with Ghost of ‘Electricity, a light kolsch from Chicago’s Around the Bend brewing. On the stereo we were cranking up the latest in good time vibes from Sweet Apple and their brand new “Sing the Night in Sorrow”.
Carolina-style BBQ Quesadilla Stacks – Alright, let’s get started. To make sure our smoked chicken doesn’t come out dry, we’re going to brine it for a day in a combination of pickle juice and our Cloak of Feathers Chicken Rub.
Once the chicken’s brined we can get to grill-smoking it. We start by banking 1/2 chimney of coals on one side of the grill and add some apple wood chunks to them. Once we’ve got smoke, the chicken thighs go down on the cool side of the grill, then we cover them.
We let the thighs smoke for about 1/2 hour when they’ve reached a reddish mahogany color.
We then place the chicken over the hot coals to give the exterior a good char before removing from the heat and tenting with foil.
Before we leave the grill, we can knockout the relish which starts by laying down some fresh jalapeños and some dill pickle planks over the hot side of the grill. We’re just looking for a little color on the pickles which shouldn’t take more than a minute or two and slightly longer for the peppers. Pull these off and keep warm as well.
Next stop are the onions. We set out to fry some beer battered onions grill side, but to show you that we’re human too when it comes to cooking, these started out as a catastrophe. Things started out fairly non-eventful by coating thinly sliced red onions in a flour, beer and hot sauce wet batter. Now for the “oh crap” part: after smoking chicken thighs and grilling the vegetables the fire left in the grill didn’t have it in itself to heat the oil up to the required temp for frying. The result? Batter that absorbed the oil immediately and morphed into a disc of hot rubbery dough that slides right off the onion. We didn’t immediately notice it and thought they just needed more time in the oil to brown up. Well, that time never came, but the onions themselves wound up being soft as butter. Aha! The “wait a second part”! These would work!
Disaster avoided, It’s time to stack these up. We start by throwing a corn tortilla on the griddle and topping with freshly shredded pepper jack. Another griddled tortilla goes on top.
We can move the quesadilla to a plate and start the topping process by chopping the BBQ chicken and topping the quesadillas.
A big handful of cheese and some red and yellow bbq sauce goes on top before we pop it into the broiler until the cheese melts.
Next up we throw on some cold coleslaw and those buttery onions.
Lastly we roughly chop the pickles and peppers to make a quick relish and top the quesadilla.
A few more shots of BBQ sauce is all it needs until it’s time to dig in to a dish that will throw your tastebuds into a tizzy. Southwest meets Carolina BBQ in the best of both worlds!
Around the Bend Ghost of ‘Lectricty – Just when we thought we had tried just about every Chicagoland brewery, we come across this beer from Around the Bend in Chicago. Our maiden voyage with this brewery is their kölsch, Ghost of ‘Lectricity. Their version of a kölsch pours a bright, but cloudy yellow and with a head that is super fluffy. On the nose, dry white wine notes emanate from the glass with a refreshing brightness. As for the flavor, the beer is really mild and refreshing, flashing a few hints of bitterness on the finish. All in all it’s a great, light summery beer and perfect for the towering quesadillas we made.
Sweet Apple “Sing The Night of Sorrow” – To say we were eagerly awaiting this album for months is a bit of an understatement. Hanging on to every social media nibble the band dangled out there, release day has finally arrived. The band is back with the good time tunes dabbling in few different stylings but remaining catchy throughout. The album starts off with a bit of a curveball on the very 80s sounding “(My Head is Stick in the) Traffic sounding as if Elvis Costello and Oingo Boingo took a trip through the fuzz machine leaning more to the pop rock side of things. The best track on the album comes up next by way of “World I’m Going to Leave You”. Don’t let the darker song title fool you, this song really rocks with the grittiness and swagger that you’ve come to love from this band. “You Don’t Belong To Me” has the roots rock flavor of Petty mixed on with the catchiness of British pop rock. The trippy yet haunting “A Girl and a Gun” could easily be a track on The Natural Born Killers soundtrack and fit right in with the rest of the tunes. “She Wants to Run” has all of the alt-country twang and catchiness of any of Jeff Tweedy’s work combined with Beach Boys-like harmonies. It’s a perfectly summer driving tune. A cool little early Pearl Jam-esque groove kicks off “Candles in the Sun” evoking “Evenflow” a little bit. The whole song harkens back to the days of early to mid-90s era rock. “Summer’s Gone” is a lament that starts off rather melancholy but thanks to the beautiful harmonies and slow build, it’s not the least bit depressing, actually quite the opposite. The band mixes the dirty rock guitar of Gary Clark Jr. with the undeniable catchiness of Weezer perfectly on the mid-tempo rocker “Thank You”. The album ends with a couple of ballads starting with “Crying in the Clouds”, a trance-like acoustic number followed by the folksy “Everybody’s Leaving” cut from the cloth as The Birds, Crosby Stills & Nash and early Neil Young mixed with The Jayhawks. Chalk up another great album from this band, you know you’re always in for a diverse, catchy group of tunes when these guys put out an album and this album is no different.