Somewhere South with Chef Vivian Howard

BBQ Chicken and Flour Tortillas

Photo by Andrea Weigl

Photo by Andrea Weigl

For a real south Texas staple, try this delicious BBQ chicken to pull and tuck into homemade flour tortillas.

This recipe comes from Rachel Saenz, who works with her sister, Sarah Chapa, the owner of J&S Pit Stop in San Diego, Texas. 


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 ½ cups hot water


Make the chicken: Prepare charcoal grill for cooking or preheat gas grill. 

Combine 1 tablespoon salt, paprika, sugar, garlic and onion powders and black pepper in a small bowl; stir to combine. Sprinkle seasoning mix lightly all over chicken leg quarters and let sit for 20 minutes. (You will have seasoning mix leftover; save for another use.) 

Place the chicken leg quarters on the top shelf of your grill making sure there are no high flames. On a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are nice and red. If you're using a gas grill, set the temperature to low. Cook about 20 to 25 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Do not turn the leg quarters. 

Make the tortillas: While the chicken is cooking, combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder, lard and hot water in a bowl. Mix with your hands until dough comes together enough to knead on a counter. Resist the urge to add flour, knead the dough for about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with a damp paper towel and let the dough sit for about 10 minutes. 

Set a comal or cast-iron skillet on the stove over medium heat. Flour countertop and rolling pin. Pinch off golf ball-size pieces of dough and roll with a rolling pin into circles. Throw tortilla onto the comal or skillet until it has some nice brown spots, about 1 minute on each side. Those brown spots will let you know they are done. Freshly made tortillas are always best with butter on them. Keep warm.

Serve chicken quarters or shredded chicken with warm tortillas and other sides, such as rice, beans, pickles and red onions. 

Yield: about 6 to 8 servings