Imagine this scenario: You’ve just hosted an unforgettable gathering, filled with mouthwatering BBQ delights from your trusty grill. Your guests have left satisfied, and your family is resting in the cool shade. But as you survey the remnants of the feast, you can’t help but feel a twinge of uncertainty. There are a few trays of leftovers, not enough to warrant tossing them out, but too much to ignore. What can you do with these delicious morsels to ensure they don’t go to waste?
Well, fret not! Instead of squabbling over the last chicken breast or spare pork chop, let’s take a creative approach and transform these leftovers into something truly delightful. Inspired by the traditional char siu buns, we present to you the BBQ Chicken Hot Pocket.
A Delicious Transformation
To embark on this culinary adventure, gather your favorite pizza dough that has risen through the first rise, about 1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken or pork, and your preferred BBQ sauce. Dice or shred the meat into slivers, creating bite-sized pieces that won’t interfere with the handheld eating experience.
Next, add an ample amount of BBQ sauce to the meat, ensuring that the filling reaches the consistency of thick sloppy joes or oatmeal. It should be moist enough to yield a juicy bite, yet not excessively wet, preventing it from seeping out and compromising the integrity of the dough.
If you find yourself short on meat, fear not! Feel free to incorporate shredded cheese, onions, olives, or veggies to enhance the overall flavor profile. For instance, we once experimented with a combination of deep, smoky sauce, sharp shredded cheddar, and chicken, resulting in an otherworldly culinary experience.
Shaping the Perfect Pocket
Now comes the fun part: shaping your pockets! Divide your dough into 12 to 14 equal pieces, depending on how large you desire the final product. Using your fingers, pat each piece of dough into a rough circle, similar in size to a burger bun bottom.
Place approximately 2 tablespoons of the mouthwatering filling in the center of each bun. It’s time to channel your inner fighter pilot and imagine the dough as the face of a clock. Gather the dough between 11 and 2, pushing it together while using a finger at 12 o’clock to push the filling towards the center.
Continue gathering the dough towards the center, pulling in portions from 3, 9, 4, and 8, and finally 7 and 5. Throughout this process, use another finger on 6 to hold everything together. As a final touch, twist the dough between your fingers a few times to ensure it remains sealed. Repeat these steps for each bun, lightly covering them with plastic to prevent drying as they rise.
If the clock reference seems a bit confusing, you can check out this dumpling video to see a slightly different technique that achieves the same flawless seal.
After allowing the closed buns to rise for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they become delightfully puffy, it’s time to bake them in a preheated 350°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the buns as they transform into a golden brown on top, slightly lighter below the equator, and perfectly browned on the bottom.
The Imperfectly Perfect Pocket
Don’t worry if you encounter the occasional blowout; it’s a common occurrence that adds a touch of character. Imperfections aside, it’s highly unlikely you’ll encounter anyone who refuses to enjoy these delicious hot pockets. The irresistible aroma of warm bread and BBQ will entice all.
These buns freeze exceptionally well once baked, making them a convenient option for mid-week snacks. Simply warm them up in a toaster oven set at 325°F until they reach the desired temperature, and voila!
Just like any recipe designed for leftovers, feel free to customize it as per your taste preferences. Although this recipe doesn’t require extensive note-taking, here’s a quick summary:
- 1 pound of soft, supple bread or pizza dough
- 1 1/2 cups of filling (meats, sauce, veggies)
Divide the dough into 12 to 14 pieces, flatten each piece, and fill it with 2 tablespoons of your chosen filling. Pinch and seal the pocket closed, allow it to rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 350°F for 18 to 20 minutes. Serve the hot pockets fresh and freeze the extras for later indulgence.
So, how do you like to repurpose your grill leftovers? Do you have any amusing grilling anecdotes to share? Join the conversation below and let’s make this summer one to remember!
By the way, if you’re a fan of homemade Char Siu sauce, we’d love to hear your favorite recipe! Feel free to share it with us. And don’t forget to check out the delightful creations at Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ, where BBQ dreams come true. Thanks! ~ MJ