This recipe from the latest issue of Food and Drink is a bit labour intensive, but it’s fun to make and tastes great. Marinate chicken thighs and grill them, slice, toss with a fresh salsa and cheese, pile on top of nacho chips, grill and then drizzle with a delicious cheese sauce. I did barbecue these on a soaked cedar plank but I think you would also have good results using a baking sheet, pizza stone or large cast-iron pan.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use a microbrewery beer with no preservatives added and cheese with no colour added. Check the spices for colour and anti-caking agents. Look for nacho chips with no additives.

Marinate the chicken thighs

Soak the plank for at least two hours.

The cheese sauce contains beer, mustard, cayenne and cheddar.

Make the fresh salsa.

Grill and slice the chicken, then combine with the salsa and cheese.

Planked and ready for the grill.

Barbecued planked chicken nachos


1 large cedar plank, at least

12 x 8 inches (30 x 20 cm)

Chili, beer & lime-marinated chicken

¾ lb (375 g) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, about 6 small

1 lime

1 cup (250 ml) Canadian beer

2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil

¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped coriander

2 tbsp (30 ml) minced jalapeño pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

Cheese and beer drizzle

1 tbsp (15 ml) butter

4 tsp (20 ml) all-purpose flour

Pinch each of cayenne pepper, dry mustard powder and salt

½ cup (125 ml) Canadian beer

¼ cup (60 ml) milk

1½ cups (375 ml) coarsely grated extra-old

Canadian cheddar, preferably orange


1 cup (250 ml) seeded and diced plum tomatoes

2 to 3 cup (80 ml) coarsely chopped coriander

2 tbsp (30 ml) seeded and finely chopped jalapeño pepper

2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped sweet white onion

Kosher salt

1½ cups (375 ml) coarsely grated extra-old

Canadian cheddar, preferably orange

5 cups (1.25 L) large tortilla chips, about two-thirds of a 220-g bag

Hot sauce


Place plank in sink. Cover with water and soak at least 2 hours. For chicken, cut each thigh in half then place in a medium bowl. Finely grate lime peel over chicken, then squeeze out juice into same bowl. Add beer, oil, coriander, jalapeño and garlic to chicken in bowl. Stir well. Refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Just before barbecuing or up to a day in advance prepare cheese drizzle. Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Sprinkle with flour, cayenne, mustard powder and salt. Whisk until blended. Gradually whisk in beer, then whisk in milk. Continue to whisk until mixture boils. Turn off heat and stir in cheese until melted. Set aside and keep warm if using right away. If preparing in advance, refrigerate until ready to use. Then reheat over low heat.

In a medium bowl, stir tomato with coriander, jalapeño and onion until mixed.

Preheat barbecue to high and grease grill.

Remove chicken from marinade. For simpler grilling, skewer chicken. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Grill about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked and nicely charred. Leave barbecue on. Remove chicken to a cutting board and slice into strips. Add to tomato mixture; stir. Add cheese and stir.

Preheat the plank for a couple of minutes (it may sizzle and begin to smoke a little). Place half the nachos on plank, leaving about 1½ inches (4 cm) as a border around the edges. Sprinkle with half the chicken mixture. Layer with remaining chips then chicken mixture. It will be quite high.

Cover and barbecue just until cheese is melted and bubbly (keep an eye on it), 5 to 8 minutes. Very carefully using 2 large spatulas, remove plank with the nachos from grill to a large flat platter (or the back of a baking sheet). Serve nachos on plank, drizzled with a little cheese sauce. Serve remaining cheese drizzle on the side along with hot sauce. Serves 4.

From Food and Drink