We Made the Viral Deep-Fried BBQ Chicken Stuffed Pizzadilla — and It Was Horrifying
Chrissy Teigen, Ree Drummond and Felicia Day have all weighed in on the troubling recipe
Over the weekend, something quite magical happened: Everyone on Twitter united in a shared sentiment.
The catalyst was a recipe video from the U.K. website Twisted, done in the classic hands-in-pans style that has become ubiquitous across social media platforms, that triggered shock and bewilderment. What starts as a fairly standard spice-rubbed chicken dish proceeds to snowball into an absolute horror show with more plot twists than Game of Thrones (full disclosure: I never watched Game of Thrones, but I assume there were plot twists.)
First, the chicken gets shredded and mixed with…well, actually, just watch the video below; I don’t want to spoil the fun for you.
Yes. It’s a barbecue chicken *deep-dish* quesadilla, which gets breaded, deep-fried, topped with marinara sauce and pepperonis, baked like a pizza, and inexplicably served with an herb sour cream sauce. Journalist Yashar Ali tweeted out the video with the caption “I’m calling the FBI”, and it has since received nearly 38,000 retweets from similarly horrified people.
As the Food Editor at PEOPLE and a connoisseur of outrageous things to eat, my initial reaction to the video was…intrigue. Was the creator of the recipe in on the joke, or was just just a case of internet one-upping gone too far? Does the recipe even work? If so, could there be a chance that it actually…tastes good?
On a whim, I tweeted that I wanted to try to make the recipe. From that moment on, my evening was doomed.
First off, the sheer number of ingredients was astonishing—why are you adding mere ½ teaspoon of mustard powder to that poor chicken when you’re later going to pummel it with barbecue sauce and pizza sauce? My grocery bill came out to just under $80.
Now, I didn’t get started cooking until 6:22 p.m., and based on the video, judged that this recipe would take anywhere between five and 25 hours to make, so I knew I was in for a long ride.
There were some initial surprises and hurdles—I saw that there was bacon added to the dish, but I didn’t realize it called for cooking twelve strips of it, so that added to the overall time. Also, the burrito-sized tortillas did not fit my cheesecake pan, which is a phrase I never thought I’d say in my cooking career (I fixed it by lining with foil.)
Oh, and did I mention the spice mixture ratios were a lie? They were a lie. See below.
As the night progressed, my tweets and Instagram stories of the event were seemingly gaining traction. I started getting DMs from people all over the world telling me they were watching along and rooting for me. Reporters from Australia were reaching out asking for an interview with me.
Eventually, Chrissy Teigen got wind and retweeted me, and things were officially out of control. There was no going back. I had to finish this recipe.
By midnight, I was a bottle of wine deep, deep-frying wedges of breaded quesadilla in my tiny kitchen on an electric stove. We hadn’t even reached the pizza part yet. And then there was the mess.
Eventually, it all came together. It took a lot more freezing that the recipe states to get the wedges to stay in place during frying, but that information would only be relevant if you were planning on making this recipe, which I sincerely hope you are not.
When the final product came out of the oven just shy of 1 a.m., I felt a true sense of accomplishment.
But then I tasted it.
If you watched the original video and wondered if it’s possible that this dish could secretly be delicious, let me assure you that it is not. Something about the combination of sweet barbecue sauce, raw onions, pizza sauce, and sour cream made for a truly horrific experience that I can only describe as “rancid-ish.” After six hours of cooking, I went to bed on an empty stomach.
Was it worth it for the fleeting moment of internet attention, though? Absolutely.