Deviled eggs are essential for a cookout. If we need to debate this, you have arrived at the wrong blog post. I'm actually going to go as far as saying that deviled eggs might just be the perfect appetizer, on any occasion. They're finger food by default, providing a perfect 1 to 2 bites packed with rich flavor and protein. You can dress them up with any toppings your heart desires or stick to the classic paprika dusted version that we all probably grew up eating. If you've downloaded my appetizers ebook then you're familiar with my Smoked Paprika Deviled Eggs. That's my version of the "classic" preparation, finessed a bit but familiar nonetheless. You should absolutely learn that recipe, because every home cook should know some reliable appetizers they can bang out for company. Few people will turn down a well-made deviled egg, and I don't really want to know the weirdos who say otherwise. Can't trust 'em.
Now that I've clearly stated my position, you'll understand how ridiculously excited I am to share one of my more creative deviled egg variations. Combining deviled eggs and bbq made so much sense I'm actually disappointed in myself for not thinking of this sooner. My initial take on this was made with leftover pulled pork, tossed in North Carolina vinegar sauce.
I wasn't ready, and neither are you.
My revised and final version used shredded barbecued chicken, which makes sense in a circle of life kinda way (Egg, chicken, get it? Right.) Whichever one you decide to go with, trust me, you will blow your guests away and have them wondering why they've been eating boring deviled eggs all their lives.
Use meat that is already prepared, preferably smoked, but even rotisserie chicken would work. Unlike my Smoked Paprika Deviled Eggs, homemade mayo isn't going to make or break these, although if you have the time go for it. My favorite southern brand of mayo did these justice. I served my bbq deviled eggs with a pile of pickles. Besides adding color to the presentation, the acidity in pickles cuts through the richness of fatty foods. (That's why you often see them served with barbecued meat platters.) Don't try to be dainty with these. BBQ is beautifully messy and that translates to a big ol' pile of saucy meat stacked on top of overstuffed deviled eggs. It it exactly the kind of indulgence you want in an appetizer without being so over the top that it doesn't belong at a cookout. Trust me, these deviled eggs belong at your cookout.
BBQ Deviled Eggs
6 large eggs
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil (omit if using aioli)
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
A couple drops of liquid smoke (optional)
Salt, to taste
Cracked pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 cup shredded cooked chicken or pulled pork
2 tbsp bbq sauce
Pickles, for serving (optional)
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: Serves 4
Special Equipment: (This section contains affiliate links.) Fine mesh sieve or food processor, slotted spoon, large pot, resealable plastic bag, silicone spatula
Deviled eggs start with good eggs. A couple extra bucks for cage free eggs at the store pays off. If you're using farm fresh eggs, they will be easier to peel if they're at least a week or two old.
If you take nothing else from this recipe, I'm giving you the secrets to perfect hard-boiled large eggs.
Bring a large pot of water to a full, rolling boil. Carefully drop the eggs in (a slotted spoon helps.) Set the timer for 11 minutes and use that time to gather your other ingredients, including the ice water you'll need for the next step. 11 minutes. Don't overcook your eggs or you'll end up with that funky gray color and a dry texture.
After the eggs have cooked, drain the water from the pot. Shake the pot vigorously back and forth a few times to crack the eggs.
Immediately transfer the boiled eggs to a bowl filled with ice water. This stops the cooking process and the water will help loosen the membrane under the shell. Once the eggs have cooled, you can drain the water and transfer to the fridge until needed or proceed with the recipe.
I used to be the world's worst egg peeler. Seriously, I would buy boiled eggs at the store for recipes instead of boiling them myself. After I started cooking my eggs this way, I rarely have trouble peeling unless I forget about aging farm fresh eggs. Running water helps while you peel to rinse away tiny bits of shell.
Don't worry if you do mangle a couple; two of the eggs are needed only for the yolks to add more volume to the filling.
A super simple trick I learned for making a deviled egg filling without lumps is to press the yolks through a fine mesh sieve. Just pop out the yolks right into the sieve and use the back of a spoon to force them through the holes. It's pretty cool how it creates fluffy shreds of yolks! If you're doing a double or triple batch, a mini food processor might make sense, I just don't like to have extra shit to clean if I don't need it.
Once the yolks are shredded, add your mayo, olive oil, hot sauce and vinegar. Measurements are all estimates. Deviled eggs are always going to be a little more of this, little less of that type of recipe. I start with a couple teaspoons less mayo than I think I'll need, because you can always add more. The main thing people mess up with deviled eggs is making the filling too gloopy.
Please note, there is only one brand of mayo that really matters in deviled eggs.
From here on out, I've found that a silicone spatula does the best job of smoothing out the filling as you stir the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper to taste and make the adjustment for mayo or olive oil if your filling is too thick. Add a couple drops of liquid smoke if you want to reinforce the bbq flavor, just don't overdo it.
Transfer the filling to a plastic bag. Because the eggs will be topped, there's no need to fuss with a decorator's piping bag or anything fancy like that.
If you are not going to be serving your eggs immediately, just stop here. Arrange the egg whites on a tray, covered in plastic. Close the bag up that contains the filling. Refrigerate it all until needed. If you're traveling to a party, bring everything you need to plate the deviled eggs there. Bringing crusty, smashed, or otherwise messed up deviled eggs to the cookout is almost as bad as failing on potato salad. You aren't doing anybody a favor by preparing deviled eggs hours in advance of when they need to be eaten. Don't do that.
Just before serving, warm the cooked chicken or pork slightly. Toss with barbecue sauce and set aside to cool to room temperature. Make sure the pieces aren't too huge, so break it up if necessary.
Cut a small corner off the end of the plastic bag containing the filling. Squeeze a generous amount of filling into 8 of the egg white halves. (Remember that 4 egg whites were extra; you would probably run out if you tried to fill them all.)
It's best if you fill the eggs on the serving tray you plan to use. The less you need to move them around, the easier. I use a wooden cutting board because it's not so slippery.
Dust the eggs with smoked paprika...
Finally, top the deviled eggs off with some of that bbq chicken or pork! I piled the pickles right in the middle of my serving platter. Then I proceeded to eat as many eggs as I could before my son realized I made them again. You may or may not decide to share.