Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Quick and Easy Chicken Sliders with Root Beer BBQ Sauce

Summer schedules, while loaded with fun, are often chaotic and busy.   Sometimes you barely have time to make lunch or dinner and you get tempted to just go through drive through or pick up some subs.  Don't give in!

In just about 30 minutes can whip up this crowd pleasing, hunger appeasing recipe from Jamie Purviance's latest book, Weber's New Real Grilling.    The pulled chicken is grilled instead of smoked, so it's ready in a jiffy.  The rub and sauce give it a sweet and spicy flavor. 

Our oldest son stopped by the house last night.  He and our 13 y/o ate 4 of these in no time flat.  Since I used these mini-sub rolls, that is like eating 4 sliders EACH!  

Chicken Sliders with Root Beer BBQ Sauce

reprinted with permission from Weber's New Real Grilling by Jamie Purviance
Prep Time: 35
Cook Time: 10

Ingredients (8 sliders)
    You'll need
    • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • oil
    • 8 small, soft hamburger buns or rolls, split
    • store bought coleslaw (optional but see my notes)
    For the Sauce
    • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
    • 2/3 cup ketchup
    • 1/2 cup root beer
    • 2 Tbsp unsulfured molasses
    • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
    For the rub
    • 2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in all the remaining sauce ingredients. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350f to 450f).
    3. Combine the rub ingredients. Lightly brush the chicken thighs on both sides with oil and season evenly with the rub.
    4. Grill the chicken over direct medium heat with the lid closed, until the meat is firm to the touch and the juices run clear, 8-10 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove from the grill and let rest until just cool enough to handle, 3-5 minutes. Shred the chicken, add to the sauce, and heat through over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
    5. Fill the buns with the chicken mixture. Serve with coleslaw if desired.
    TIP: The sauce can be made several days ahead of time and kept refrigerated until ready to use. Try it brushed on grilled pork or slather it on top of your favorite burger.
    Powered by Recipage
    The dry rub is simple but it packs some aromatic flavor.

    I did mine at 350f direct.

    I used some of the sauce as a glaze in the last 1-2 minutes.  The recipe didn't call for it but I like a little sauce cooked on to my chicken, even if I'm going to shred it.

    Honestly, it is good enough to each just like this (but making the sliders are worth it!). 
     TIP:  For shredding chicken thighs (or any meat really), hold with a fork against the grain and pull with another fork with the grain towards you.

    Since time was a priority, I made a "cheating" jalapeno slaw by mixing up: 

    3 cups pre-packaged slaw mix
    1 jalapeno, deseeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
    1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
    1/4 to 1/3 cup mayo
    2 Tbsp cider vinegar
    1 tsp sugar
    1/4 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1/8 tsp celery seed 

    I also made beer braised corn.  I'll do a post on that later on it's own because I liked the convenience of the method and the flavor was great.  But the short version is grill corn direct at 350f and have a pan with 12 oz beer, 4 Tbsp butter, 1.5 Tbsp bbq rub on the grill too.  Every time you turn the corn, baptize it in the warm beer bath for a second.  Once you have a nice char on all sides, put the corn in the pot, CAREFULLY cover the HOT pan with a double layer of foil, and cook another 5 minutes.  If you are using stoneware like me and leave the corn covered after it comes off the grill, it will stay warm for 30 minutes or more.  

    The grill/braise method makes for a tender and flavorful ear of corn.

    As I mentioned, the slider recipe is from a new book from Jamie Purviance and the fine folks at Weber.  Yes, the same Weber that is likely sitting on your back porch, whether it be a kettle grill, a Weber Smoky Mountain, or a Genesis.  In what I think is a genius move, they are selling this book at the usual locations but also in the grilling section at Lowes, that's where I found out about it. 

    Weber's New Real Grilling - The Ultimate Cookbook for Every Backyard Griller
    Released April 2013
    Published by Weber-Stephen Products LLC and Oxmoor House

    The Author
    Jamie Purviance is a backyard griller above all else.  Oh sure, he is a formally trained chef who graduated with high honors from the Culinary Institute of America.  And yes, he is a New York Times best selling author and yes he has been on Today, The Early Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, Food Network, and other programs.  And I know that he is the premier brand ambassador of Weber Grills, heck, he's the face of Weber.  But when it all comes down to it, Jamie Purviance is just a guy that loves to grill and that is why I have enjoyed cooking from this book. 
    The Book
    New Real Grilling has just about everything I like to see in a grilling book.

    It has a smorgasbord of grilling tricks, techniques and equipment specific tips for the first 40 pages of this book.  Then it gets into the recipes organized in the basic sections that many cookbooks follow (appetizers, beef, pork, poultry, seafood, desserts, rubs/brines/sauces).  But even each of those sections start out with a time/temp guideline and a "Grill Skills" primer about generally how to cook something, like say, how to grill perfec pork chops.

    Fully loaded with demonstration photos.
     As far as the physical book is concerned, it is 336 pages, flexibind cover, and is full sized. 
    The Recipes
    New Real Grilling has over 200 recipes and every single one I have tried was a hit.  If you look at the picture of the book above, notice the blue tabs I have put in the book.  Those are all of the recipes on my "must make this" list.  Just to give you an idea, some include
    •  Fiesta Shrimp Salsa with Chips
    • Spice Crusted Tbone Steaks with Cognac Cream Sauce
    • Herb Crusted Pork Chops Stuffed with Provolone and Prosciutto
    • Texas Pork Sliders with Black Bean Salsa
    • Chicken Breasts on Swiss Chard with Warm Bacon Dressing
    The Coffee Rubbed Ribeye with a Stout Glaze was excellent.
    The Photos
    Tim Turner is a James Beard award-winning photographer and he really shows his stuff in New Real Grilling.  The plated pictures were spot on - nicely styled and flawlessly composed.  But the real star of this book is the instructional, demonstrative, and/or step by step photographs.  Not only were they expertly done, they make relevant concepts hit home with the reader.  

    I'm no Tim Turner.

    The exceptional content, recipes, and photos bring everything together for the best grilling book I have seen this year.  New Real Grilling is for every level of cook.  I consider myself a grill and pit master - the recipes in the book inspired and excited me.  But a beginner also could take this book and by the end of the summer be a very proficient griller.   This gets my first 5 star rating of the year and I highly recommend it. 

    5 stars – an absolute resource, will refer to frequently

    4+ stars – good cookbook with value added tips, photos, guides, and other content

    3 stars – Good, average cookbook, glad to have it on my shelf

    2 stars – a recipe collection if you don't have internet

    1 star – would give it away to someone else to get rid of it, but only if I didn't like them very much