Years ago, I spent my summer in two places – a heavily air conditioned area or the beach. If I wasn’t laying out in the sun and enjoying that beach smell, you wouldn’t catch me dead without crisp, cool, dehumidified air. And then I moved out and started paying for that luxury and married a man who more often than not gets a headache with a/c and life got twisted.
Now, we’re a fan family. While we have a window unit for crazy hot days, I’ve started to see it as some kind of weird challenge – how many times can I avoid using this thing before the end of summer? Because of that, we rely on the grill pretty heavily to cook meals.
While I haven’t mastered things like cookies or cake on the grill, with a decent grill, a little skill, and practice, you can essentially cook anything you would in your oven on your grill. I’ve roasted garlic and cooked a whole chicken, baked homemade pita and flour tortillas all on the grill and while you might have to monitor it a bit more, the unique flavor a grill offers can’t be beat.
With summer in full swing, barbecues and get-togethers with friends and family seem to happen every weekend. And what good is a get-together without some killer eats, amirite? When I think summer and barbecues I immediately think BBQ chicken which is how I came to this Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip with Brazi Bites that is perfect to please a crowd!
I partnered up with Brazi Bites on this recipe and they honestly were such an awesome addition. If you’re a fanatic like I am, you’ve probably seen Brazi Bites on the TV show Shark Tank. Brazi Bites are the Brazilian treat, Pão de Queijo, a popular snack food. When Junea, the founder of Brazi Bites, became homesick for her favorite snack food after moving to the US, she called her mom to get the recipe. After a year of experimenting with different cheeses available in the US, Junea and her husband Cameron finally nailed the recipe and took the world by storm.
Brazi Bites are naturally gluten-free, come in 4, cheesy flavors, and bake up from frozen in just 20 minutes. While the Cheddar & Parmesan ones are my absolute favorite, Ryan is a big fan of the 3 Cheese Pizza. The Garlic Asiago and Zesty Pepper Jack also didn’t last long in our house!
This dip is pretty versatile – chicken, corn, cheese and cream cheese combine to make the most decadent dip that everyone will adore, but as always I give you options that can make life a bit easier. For the chicken, you can easily use pre-shredded chicken that you then chop, but I find that grilling it first really adds a nice smoky barbecue taste. I split 2 chicken breasts, coated them in BBQ sauce, and grilled them. After then cool, chop them up pretty well (bigger chunks make it harder to enjoy as a dip!)
Same goes for the corn – you can easily use canned or defrosted frozen corn, but charring up a fresh corn cob and then using that adds a fresh taste and an additional dash of smoke. To make life even easier, you can even assemble the dip itself ahead of time before your guests arrive and then add the Brazi Bites and bake later.
When you’re ready to bake your dip, line a cast iron pan with 2 rows of Brazi Bites before piling you filling into the middle. I found putting the second row on its side created a higher barrier for the dip. It will still bake and seep in between, (in a good way) but the majority will stay in the middle. I used the cheddar and 3 cheese pizza ones for this, but really just choose whatever ones you dig. I think all 4 varieties would work great.
Before you put your pan on the grill, make sure to get it really hot. Turn all of the burners to high and keep the lid shut. If you have a 2 burner grill, turn one side off after 10-15 minutes and the place your pan on that side, leaving the opposite side on medium high. After that, close the lid and leave it alone. You’re basically creating an outdoor oven this way. If you have a 3 burner grill, turn off the middle burner and put the side ones to medium.
After 15 minutes you’ll want to turn your pan 180 degrees on a 2 burner grill or 90 degrees on a 3 burner grill. This helps to ensure that the side(s) facing the fire don’t get too hot or uneven.
*if you wish to make this in the oven, bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, adding cheese on top at the halfway point.
When it’s time to serve, your dip will be brown and bubbly and the Brazi Bites will be puffed and brown. Remove carefully and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Brazi Bites Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip
2 cups of chicken, chopped (equivalent of 2 chicken breasts)
12 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup of BBQ sauce (see notes)
1.5 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 green onions, chopped and divided
1 corn cob (or 1 cup of corn)
.5 teaspoon of black pepper
Tabasco, to taste. (see notes)
2 bags of Brazi Bites
Preheat your grill to high. Mix the cream cheese and BBQ sauce together until smooth before adding the chicken, 1 cup of cheese, 1 green onion, corn, Tabasco and black pepper.
Line your cast iron with 2 rows of Brazi Bites before piling the center with the cream cheese mixture. Turn one burner off and place your pan on the grill. Bake for 15 minutes before turning the pan and topping with remaining cheese. Bake 15 more minutes or until golden and bubbly before removing from the grill carefully.
Allow to sit 10-15 minutes before serving.
-Use a BBQ sauce that isn’t super sweet. Avoid ones with brown sugar or honey in the name. The cream cheese will tone down the heat but not the sweet.
-The sweeter your sauce the more Tabasco you’ll want to use to offset it. Start with 3-5 dashes and then taste.
PIN IT FOR LATER
Okay so tell me – do you use your grill a lot in the summer? What your favorite get together dish? Are you a Shark Tank addict like myself? Let me know in the comments!