Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing

Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing is an updated version of the classic Cobb and a tasty improvement thanks to Chef Bobby Flay!

Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

I admit it…I’ve recycled again. This Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing that I put on the blog many years ago when you know…it was mostly me, my dog, and my neighbors and kids who don’t read my blog . I did this salad again this weekend and it is SO good I just had to share it with more people.

Would a salad be OK for Mother’s Day? This one most definitely would be; make it for Mom and I promise as much as she loves you now; I can guarantee she’ll love you more!

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I used to get such a kick out of a site called Food Network Humor (seems gone now 🙁 — so sad) and though I laugh at some of the outrageous pieces on many of the hosts and other snafus, I sometimes wondered about their level of scorn for Bobby Flay.

Now, I don’t know Mr. Flay and have no personal knowledge of his personality…but I think it’s unfair to characterize him as someone who cannot cook. I’ve made many dishes from one of his restaurants or his cookbooks and I have to say I don’t remember ever being disappointed.

Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Case in point is this salad; I’m thinking it must be a collaboration between Bobby and Emeril…its definitely Cobb Salad kicked up a notch! My friends who were recently here for dinner would attest to how fabulous this Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing was. The use of grilled barbecue chicken instead of bacon, along with avocado, tomatoes, caramelized onions, Gorgonzola cheese and two dressings?

Yes, that’s right. A light balsamic flavored oil dressing on the greens and then a spicy but not TOO hot chipotle dressing to finish it off. I admit I was in a bit of a pinch for time the other day when I had leftovers and only used the buttermilk dressing. Was it enough? Yes. Did I think it was better when the greens had been dressed separately? Also yes.

However you mix it the dressing is the BOMB…just a hint of spice combined with the cool creaminess of sour cream or yogurt (I used some of each). Seriously the best Cobb Salad I’ve ever had. EVAH!


This is a salad I typically equate with summer. As a matter of fact I normally don’t make it unless I have garden fresh tomatoes, however, in lieu of those I’ll use these little tomatoes in a heartbeat before the larger, harder, mealier ones that are on the shelf in April. And I won’t deny that this salad is a bit of work…but the results will make the time spent so worth it.

Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

I’ve had this salad at least 4 times in the past two weeks. I made all the components, wasn’t finding the time to get it styled and photographed and then had friends drop by and offered them dinner and this is what we had. Pretty much made it a no go at that time for this update but luckily I had enough leftovers for me; yippee!

I was more successful this past weekend in more ways than one. One thing about this Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing that I love? I always serve it on a large platter and guests can make their own salad. If someone doesn’t love one component, they can just ignore it when serving themselves.

My guests loved it too; gobbled it up even. I cannot believe I’m saying this but no one missed the bacon. Seriously.

PIN IT! ‘Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing’

Barbacue Chicken Cobb Salad

Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing

A fantastic take on a Cobb Salad with Barbecue Chicken and a Spicy Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 846 kcal


For the Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ medium red onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 plum tomatoes coarsely diced
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder available at Hispanic or specialty markets
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For the Balsamic-mustard vinaigrette

  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil the original recipe called for more but this was plenty
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing

  • ¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle purée I used adobo chipotle peppers; and a bit more than what is called for
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Grill

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 ¼ cups Mesa BBQ sauce
  • 2 large red onions sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Olive oil for brushing the onions

For the Salad

  • 8 cups mixed greens washed and dried
  • 8 plum tomatoes quartered
  • 8 large hard-boiled eggs quartered
  • 4 medium avocados peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces creamy blue cheese or Gorgonzola crumbled
  • Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing
  • Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


To Make the Sauce

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sweat the onion and garlic until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer 15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes.
  • Puree the mixture in a food processor, pour into a bowl, and let cool at room temperature. May be refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen.

To Make the Vinaigrette

  • Combine the vinegar, mustard, onion, and sugar in a blender or food processor and let it spin.
  • With the motor running, slowly add the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Note: I used my mini processor for this. Perfect.

To Make the Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing

  • Use a blender, stick blender or food processor to blend everything together; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Putting it all together

  • Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium high.
  • Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and brush with mesa barbecue sauce.
  • Grill, basting continuously with barbecue sauce, until golden brown and cooked through, 10 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Brush the onion slices with olive oil and grill until golden brown and slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes on each side (Use a piece of foil; I had several pieces fall between the grates, no muy bueno)
  • In a large bowl, lightly toss the greens with the balsamic-mustard Vinaigrette and place on a large platter.
  • Cut the chicken thighs on the bias into 1/2-inch slices.
  • Arrange the chicken in the center of the platter, resting on the greens. Arrange the tomatoes, eggs, onion slices, and avocado slices around the chicken. Sprinkle with the crumbled blue cheese and drizzle with the chipotle buttermilk dressing.


The original recipe called for chicken breasts but I so prefer boned chicken thighs. Once they have been de-boned they can be grilled flat but I actually prefer reforming them to their original shape by folding them in half and grilling them. Takes a bit longer but they do not get overdone and dry out.


Nutrition Facts
Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword barbecue, Bobby Flay, cobb salad, spicy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. I don’t think there are too many steps in this recipe. Have tyou tried this recipe with anything other than chipotle peppers? They’re great, I just wonder if something else might make it even better.

    1. That’s all I’ve used Brian but I would switch them out too if you’re so inclined; making changes is part of the fun of cooking isn’t it?

  2. Barb, I love Bobby Flay! And I love the idea of this salad. For some reason, I don’t make meal-salads often, even though I enjoy them (kids, maybe?) I know I won’t have a chance to make this while in Serbia, but I will have to try it before I leave, as I am now officially instituting “once a week salad day”.
    Have a great weekend!

    1. I don’t do them as often as I should and each time I do I wonder why not? Have a safe trip Lana.

  3. Oh my gosh, I have never heard of the site I am so excited you shared it, it looks awesome! I totally saved it on my phone favorites:-) Your salad looks so beautiful and colorful! I love the addition of grilled chicken and chipotle dressing, YUM! Hugs, Terra

  4. Hi! I found your blog from your comment at David Lebovitzs. I am in Colorado also. Your salad looks amazing, I always liked Cobb salad but yours with that Mesa sauce yum! Another favourite is Nicoise salad with chicken. It’s getting hot here now so the ideas of salads are sounding very appealing. Glad to have found your blog.

    1. What a small world…and welcome! I love Nicoise too…I could eat a salad every day for dinner during the summer. What part of Colorado are you in?

    1. It was so good…sort of sad about that in a way; meant nothing to speak of in the form of leftovers. 🙂

  5. You don’t need Karen to come to the computer to attest to this salad and you certainly don’t need FoodGawker! This looks totally irresistible Barb and the grilled chicken with your chipotle buttermilk dressing takes the traditionally Cobb Salad up several delicious notches. I think if the owners of The Brown Derby saw this post they’d be offering your version of their salad to customers.

    1. You are so sweet; and you know what? I agree; this was better than any ‘regular’ Cobb salad I’ve ever had. I loved the bit of heat in the dressing; really did kick it up a nice notch.

    1. Killer it is! I might not go the whole route again so soon but I’m making more of that dressing; it is so good I want more.

  6. I love Cobb Salad so much, I eat it at least once every two weeks. BBQ chicken? Buttermilk-Chipotle Dressing? I’m yours forever. I think Flay gets a lot of scorn because he used to be quite the douchebag in his early FN days. Unbelievably pompous & condescending. Glad he changed, and I have tried/made some of his dishes…very good. Some very blah, but he’s no Bocuse, so who cares?

    1. I think the same thing Lana; not too often do you think of a salad for Father’s Day but this is really a salad and a main dish all in one; for me the perfect summer dish.

  7. I love a good Cobb salad. This sounds truly amazing, two dressings, BBQ chicken. Great combination of flavors and textures. I love salads but they can sometimes be boring. This is an exciting salad.

    1. I’ve always loved a regular Cobb salad but I don’t think I had ever made one…this one sounded so good and truly lived up to my expectations. So good. I mean SO good. 🙂

  8. Gorgeous Barb and I love the use of two dressings! This would definitely be a hit with my crew for father’s day – in fact, it reminds me of one of my husband’s favorite salads!
    And you are right – it is too good not to share!

    1. SO good Kate; I’m sad there were no leftovers; I would have loved it for lunch too! 🙂

  9. Oh yum Barb. This looks so delicious! Every ingredient can be found on my own personal “favorite” list. I know we’ve had this discussion before, but I’ll say it again I totally agree with recycling the really good past recipes from your blog. I know there are some of mine that I am really proud of that I know only me, my mother and Scruffy read. I’m really glad you decided to rerun this one.

    1. I’m going to start looking at a few more. It seems fair to say we often put some of our best dishes online when we start a blog; when no one actually sees it. I want to share these dishes I love so sharing a 2nd time is perfect right?

  10. You have knocked me to my knees. I already love cobb salad but the barbecue chicken and that dressing do indeed kick it over the top! I LOVE this! And now that I think about it, I chipotle peppers in the freezer I need to use up…. Fabulous recipe, Barb!

    1. It is SO good…that kind of good when you just hate eating the last bite; wishing you had just a little bit more.

  11. I love that you had some friends over to enjoy your time with Barbara as you deserve to spend your time with people who appreciate you. Now, I want a good salad to eat while sitting through this tropical storm.

    1. I always liked Cobb Salad but have to admit, the typical dressing used now escapes me; the update from bacon to barbecue chicken (although someone did suggest you could STILL add bacon!) and that dressing; it’s new again!

    1. Thank you Barbara. I had VERY patient friends here for dinner but it’s funny, they sort of get into it too though must say it was harder for Terry; think he might have been stealing from the plate a little bit!

  12. I just came across your blog and found this beautifully coloured post, so thought I’d say hi and ‘thanks. Love the Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing, nice idea.

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