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KC Chicken Spiedini


chicken spiedini with grilled lemon and fresh dill

When you think of a Kansas City classic, I’m sure burnt ends comes to mind (see this epic Burnt Ends Cheeseburger if you don’t know what I’m talking about). When I was digging around for Super Bowl dishes to make this year, I came across what’s apparently a popular and beloved staple in KC - Chicken Spiedini. It also seemed fitting for me to make, because the origins of this chicken spiedini and the word ‘spiedini’ in particular, come from Italy and the Italian word for ‘spit’ – like meat roasting on a spit – not the other meaning of spit. As an Italian-Canadian, this was right in my wheelhouse.


The original dish is made with skewered chicken that is marinated with olive oil, garlic, basil and breadcrumbs and then before cooking is given another coat of breadcrumbs and charbroiled, topped with red sauce and served, on its own or often over pasta. Of course I had to put my own spin on the recipe and instead of marinating my chicken, I seasoned it up and put it in the Alchemy smoker to get a great smoky taste. I then drizzled my chicken skewers in olive oil and coated them with breadcrumbs and put them on the plancha to grill.


I decided not to make a traditional red sauce, but instead mixed butter, heirloom baby tomatoes, lots of garlic and lemon juice in a cast iron on the plancha, and used some of that garlicky, buttery goodness over my spiedini on the grill. I ended up using my buttery tomatoes in three other ways; I used some of the butter on the inside of my hoagie bun before grilling it, I used it in my sandwich as a tomato-garlic “jam” instead of a marinara sauce, and then I used the garlic and leftover juices to pour over my chicken spiedini once it was in the bun. I also grilled up some lemon to squeeze on top and added fresh basil. I feel like I have to mention this: make sure to take the skewers out before you close and eat your sandwich! Seems evident, but you never know. If you want to find out how to make my KC Chicken Spiedini keep reading, or jump to the full recipe.


seasoned chicken thighs being skewered

Set smoker to 300F. Cut your chicken thighs in half, drizzle with canola oil, season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, fennel and toss to cover the chicken. Using wooden skewers that have been soaked in water, skewer your chicken thighs


chicken skewers going into the Alchemy smoker

Place in the smoker for 20 minutes, or until the skewers reach an internal temp of 160F.


fresh lemon juice being squeezed over tomatoes, garlic and butter in a cast iron pan on the plancha

While the chicken smokes, add butter to a cast iron pan on the plancha. Finely chop the garlic and shallot and add to the butter. Cut your baby tomatoes in half and add them into the pan with the butter, garlic and shallot, stir. Squeeze in the juice from one lemon and season with salt. Stir.


the smoked chicken skewers drizzled with oil and being covered in breadcrumbs

Remove the chicken spiedini from the smoker and drizzle with olive oil, coat with the breadcrumbs.


the breaded smoked chicken spiedini on the plancha and butter is being poured over it from the pan of tomatoes and garlic

Place the spiedini on the plancha. Drizzle with the butter from the pan with the tomatoes and allow to sear. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon on top. Flip and squeeze the juice from the other half of the lemon onto the chicken. Sear until golden brown. Cut a lemon in half and place face down on the grill.


the tomatoes, butter and garlic is being poured onto the inside of the hoagie bun

Cut your hoagie bun lengthwise, keeping it attached at one end. Place on the plancha and drizzle more of the garlic butter from the tomatoes on the inside of the bun.


the hoagie bun is flipped over so the inside grills on the plancha

Then, flip the bun over so it toasts, face down.


the garlic and tomatoes are being spread on the hoagie bun

Remove the bun from the grill and place on a plate. Spoon the cooked tomatoes onto the bun and then using the back of the spoon, spread and crush the tomatoes into the bun.


the chicken spiedini is on the hoagie bun and the garlic and butter is being poured over it

Add your chicken spiedini and drizzle the rest of the garlic butter from the tomatoes on top.


a grilled lemon is being squeezed over the chicken spiedini sandwich

Garnish with the grilled lemon, fresh basil leaves and Maldon salt. Squeeze the juice from the grilled lemon onto the chicken.


the skewers are being pulled out of the chicken spiedini so the sandwich can be closed and eaten

Make sure to remove the skewers from the chicken and close the sandwich and enjoy.


And now for the full recipe...


KC Chicken Spiedini

Makes one large sandwich

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 tbsp canola oil

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp fennel

½ cup butter

4-5 cloves garlic

1 shallot

1 pint baby heirloom tomatoes

3 lemons

2 tbsp olive oil

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 large hoagie bun

Fresh basil

Maldon salt


How to Make KC Chicken Spiedini

Set smoker to 300F.


Cut your chicken thighs in half, drizzle with canola oil, season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, fennel and toss to cover the chicken. Using wooden skewers that have been soaked in water, skewer your chicken thighs. Place in the smoker for 20 minutes, or until the skewers reach an internal temp of 160F.


While the chicken smokes, add butter to a cast iron pan on the plancha. Finely chop the garlic and shallot and add to the butter. Cut your baby tomatoes in half and add them into the pan with the butter, garlic and shallot, stir. Squeeze in the juice from one lemon and season with salt. Stir.


Remove the chicken spiedini from the smoker and drizzle with olive oil, coat with the breadcrumbs and then place on the plancha. Drizzle with the butter from the pan with the tomatoes and allow to sear. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon on top. Flip and squeeze the juice from the other half of the lemon onto the chicken. Sear until golden brown. Cut a lemon in half and place face down on the grill.


Cut your hoagie bun lengthwise, keeping it attached at one end. Place on the plancha and drizzle more of the garlic butter from the tomatoes on the inside of the bun, flip so it toasts, face down.


Remove the bun from the grill and place on a plate. Spoon the cooked tomatoes onto the bun and then using the back of the spoon, spread and crush the tomatoes into the bun. Add your chicken spiedini and drizzle the rest of the garlic butter from the tomatoes on top. Garnish with the grilled lemon, fresh basil leaves and Maldon salt. Make sure to remove the skewers from the chicken and close the sandwich and enjoy.


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Matt Basile

MEET THE CHEF

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Chef Matt Basile is the founder of the Toronto-based street food brand, Fidel Gastro's, which, within four years, went from an underground sandwich pop-up to an internationally recognized food brand. Now almost a decade later, Matt has a still growing business of food experiences, restaurant consulting and new and exciting foodie-filled projects on the way. Matt always strives to be different in an industry steeped in tradition. Matt is also the author of the best-selling cookbooks Street Food Diaries and Brunch Life, and was the host of the travel food show Rebel Without a Kitchen for two seasons. More here!

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