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Smoked Southwestern Cobb Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

Posted by sbulloch on March 13, 2013

Southwestern Cobb Salad With Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

You were really excited about this new recipe until you read salad at the end of the title, weren't you?

Now, some people love a good salad. Some people love meat.

Some of both of those people may live in your house.

This is a meal to suit all food lovers and it is hearty enough to satisfy that dinner time appetite. Layers of fresh greens, flavorful toppings, satisfying chicken, and the most delicious dressing you have ever tasted come together to settle all veg vs. meat disputes you have ever had. Don't be intimidated by the ingredients list. All of the components can be made in advance, which makes this a perfect meal to throw together at the last minute on a hurried weeknight or when you are cooking for company. On top of the make-ahead benefit of this meal, we have a cool little kitchen gadget to introduce you to in just a minute that will make assembling the diced components a lot easier.


Smoked Southwestern Cobb Salad

Serves: 6-8
Recommended Pellets: Mesquite or Hickory
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


1 whole head of romaine, rinsed and chopped
3-4 cups spring mix lettuce blend
5 peeled, hard cooked eggs
6 slices of bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese (smoked using this method if you have access to a cold smoker)
Black bean & corn salsa:
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 cup sweet corn kernels
1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Smoked avocado guacamole:
2 smoked avocados
1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper
juice of 2 limes
kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Yellow pepper salsa:
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
Chicken marinade:
(We adapted this Traeger recipe for a whole bird to make a fantastic marinade)
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
juice of 1 orange
juice of 2 limes
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons Mexican-style hot sauce, or more to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 to 2 tablespoons Traeger Cajun Shake, or your favorite fajita or taco seasoning
Spicy Buttermilk Dressing:
1/2 cup sour cream 
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons buttermilk, plus 1-2 tablespoons extra as needed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bunch green onions, white and green parts
2 tablespoons cilantro
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley 
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons (or more to taste) cayenne pepper or your favorite hot sauce

In a gallon zip-top bag, lime juice, orange juice, onion, garlic, hot sauce, oregano, salt, and vegetable oil. Add the chicken, press out the extra air, and seal. Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Start your Traeger on smoke with the lid open for 4-5 minutes to establish the fire. Put your peeled, hard cooked eggs directly on the grill grate and smoke for 30 minutes. Your eggs will brown slightly from the smoke.

Grilled eggs

While your eggs are smoking, begin assembling your toppings. Combine the black beans, corn, cilantro, onions and salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside. Combine the yellow pepper, tomatoes, and onions in a bowl (using this crazy awesome onion/vegetable chopper from Zyliss) and set aside. 

Zyliss onion chopper

Zyliss chopper

In a blender, add the mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, green onions, cilantro, parsley, sugar, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Blend to combine, adding the extra 1-2 tablespoons of buttermilk as needed until desired thickness is achieved.

When your eggs are done smoking, chop them and set them aside. Turn your Traeger up to 350 degrees, close the lid, and let it preheat for 10-15 minutes.

Take your chicken out of the marinade and sprinkle with Traeger's Cajun Shake. Discard the marinade. Arrange your chicken on the grill with the bacon and avocados. Remove the bacon and avocados after 5-7 minutes and flip the chicken. 

While the chicken cooks to an internal temperature of 175 degrees, crumble your bacon and make your smoked avocado guacamole. Cut the avocado flesh into a 1/4 inch dice and combine with cilantro, onions, garlic powder, salt, and lime juice. Set aside.

Slice your chicken and begin to assemble your salad in a big bowl or on a large platter. Start with the lettuce and arrange all of your toppings starting with the chicken in a line across the middle. Pour the dressing directly on the salad, or serve on the side.

Smoked southwestern cobb salad


The onion and vegetable chopper really made assembling this dish a breeze. If you are interested in getting a Zyliss Onion Chopper for yourself, you can buy one here.