Saturday, September 5, 2009

How to Grill Quesadillas - Stephen Raichlen Recipe

Gonna be a fast post today, as I am in the midst of party planning... Well, not really planning, I am in the midst of party prep. I have 35 pounds of Boston Butt (actually, 35 pounds of Pork Shoulder. This cut is from the front shoulder of the pig, no idea why it is commonly called a Boston Butt, unless it was named by Yankee fans... But I digress).

This is a great, fun and VERY easy recipe. Located on page 405 of Steven's amazing grill guide, HOW TO GRILL. Easy recipe, with a full page of detailed photo instructions. Perfect for vegetarian guests. This can be served as an appetizer, or I like to make them for lunch. Once you have the basic recipe, it can easily be adapted for whatever you happen to have in your refrigerator.

As with every recipe, first thing first, assemble your ingredients. Cook to tastes, the recipe calls for jalapeno peppers. I LOVE them, and they tasted great in this recipe. BUT, I also made some for my wife with the sensitive pallet. So, I substituted some sweet peppers for her. Like I said, versatile with whatever you happen to have around.

But, back to Steven's recipe... And here is a good spot to drop in my standard disclaimer I always use about reprinting recipes......Long time readers of the blog, I am going to start coloring the lettering in the disclaimer, it will be the same for each review, feel free to skip to the standard black colored text...

OK, here's my generic talk about Steven Raichlen and his book...and me... As long time readers know, I am doing my own tribute (rip-off) off the Julie/Julia project, cooking my way through Steven's amazing grill guide, HOW TO GRILL. Unlike Julie, I won't be finishing this in a year, but I will be making an item at least once a week.

A word about reprinting recipes... I asked for some advice a few posts back. I understand that it is done, lots of people do it, and there would be no consequences. But, I decided not to reprint any of Steven's recipes from this book. I have several reasons, first and probably most important to readers, I just think that this is a book that should be in every one's library. Buy the book. It is very detailed, comes highly recommended by someone who cooks on the grill often (me), lots of photos, lots of instruction... Darn near idiot proof. But, most important to me, I want to respect the copyright. In another life, I owned a book store. I have met and socialized with authors, and I have a great deal of respect for the effort it takes to produce a work like this. It may take a couple years, but eventually, I intend to make every single recipe in the book. Starting to reproduce the recipes, intending to do them all would certainly offend me as a book seller, and probably Steven as the copyright holder. Buy the book, Amazon has used copies available for under $7. Worth every penny.

OK, back to the recipe. I did make my first quesadillas exactly as Steven suggested. I then started fooling around a bit. One change I made, Steven suggests brushing butter on the quesadillas as they cook. I did one, and it worked OK. But, I LOVE those spray cans of canola oil. I sprayed the second one I made with an even coating and it came out exactly the same. Less fuss, less mess.

He also made these as half size. He used one tortilla, folded it over and I grilled the full tortilla, put the toppings on and put a second tortilla over the toppings. A pizza cutter makes those wedges you get in fancy restaurants.

Pretty pretty pretty... But they don't photograph well. BUT, oozing melted cheese, lots of flavors (jalapenos, cilantro (really great touch), tomatoes... Whatever you happen to have around the house!

I had a few pieces of chicken sate left over from earlier in the week. Not really enough for a meal, but perfect to add to the toppings list. I would (and will) easily see adding leftover rib meat, pulled pork, steak, even fish. Whatever you have around the house. Makes a great use for leftovers.

On my one to 5 scale, this gets a 5. I will certainly make this again, especially if I happen to have a vegetarian dare to cross my path (I don't think we have too many of those in Kansas, but I am now ready if there are, and they find their way to my back yard). The Canola Oil trick is the only change I would make to the recipe.

OK, my Butts are at 160 degrees, still 8 hours before the throng descend (gonna be a long session of foiling, as they should be done in about 3 hours). But I have lots to set up. Happy Holiday, and happy grilling


  1. I will make this next time my vegetarian D-I-L comes! I have learned from her that there are many great meals out there without meat. But, there are not very many vegetarians in Alabama either

  2. They look really good! That is a great way to use up leftovers. I've never heard the name Boston Butt before. Pork shoulder here is called... well, pork shoulder!

  3. From the Pork Board..."In pre-revolutionary New England and into the Revolutionary War, some pork cuts (not those highly valued, or "high on the hog," like loin and ham) were packed into casks or barrels (also known as "butts") for storage and shipment. The way the hog shoulder was cut in the Boston area became known in other regions as "Boston Butt." This name stuck and today, Boston butt is called that almost everywhere in the US,… except in Boston. And YUM! I love quesedillas anyway, and often just do them on a grill pan, but next time I have the grill fired up, I may slap a few on :D

  4. Fabulous looking quesadilla. I still can't turn them without spilling out all the contents. **SIGH**

  5. I'm gonna have to give these a try because it looks just to amazing for words...I love quesadillas!