Sweet & Spicy Pulled Chicken Sliders
by Andy Wolniewicz, Chef, J and A Catering, Comstock Park, Michigan
- 2 pounds boneless skinless Smart Chicken thighs
- Slider buns
- Toppings such as: fresh slaw, pickled peppers and cucumbers, or cheddar cheese and pickles
- Sweet & Smoky Rub
- 2 tablespoons salt*
- ⅛ cup sugar
- ⅛ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground smoked chipotle pepper
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon onion powder*
- 1½ tablespoons garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoons mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- Splash white vinegar
- *If using onion salt, reduce by a tablespooon the amount of regular salt added to the rub.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the rub ingredients.
For The Pulled Chicken:
Place chicken thighs in a deep casserole dish. Rub the raw chicken thighs with a generous amount of Sweet & Smoky Rub seasoning. Let them sit for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator to absorb the flavor. Preheat your oven to 300°F. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 2 to 3 hours, until chicken pulls apart with ease. Remove chicken from oven and, when cool enough to handle, pull the chicken into pieces. Place pulled chicken on a slider bun and cover in Smoked Cherry & Whiskey BBQ Sauce.
Serve pulled chicken on slider buns with toppings as desired.
- Smoked Cherry & Whiskey BBQ Sauce
- 3¼ cups ketchup
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Franks RedHot hot sauce
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup whiskey
- 8 ounces cherry pie filling
- 4 ounces frozen sweet black cherries
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
Soak the frozen black cherries in the liquid smoke overnight, refrigerated.
Add the whiskey to a large stock pot. Let the whiskey come to a simmer for about 5 minutes so the alcohol cooks off. Next, add all other ingredients to the stockpot. Make sure to pour in all the excess liquid smoke from the soaked cherries. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Cover but vent the BBQ sauce, as it will splatter and make a big mess. Boil for 15 minutes and then reduce heat and simmer for an additional 45, stirring often. Take off the burner and let cool. Pour sauce into blender and puree until sauce is smooth and consistent. Either serve immediately or refrigerate for later use.
Pairing: Traveler Beer Company’s Curious Shandy