Pulled BBQ Chicken Sliders

There is an exception to every rule.

There is one day when you DO hit all the green lights.

There is one episode per season where the Kardashians do that does NOT make me vomit in my mouth.

And there is one dish that I like less than lip-blisteringly spicy.

BBQ sauce. Don’t give me any of that cloyingly sweet, salty stuff, but if the sauce is too spicy, it’s just dominant. I want to taste the soft bun, the crispy coleslaw, the juicy meat. Thus, I invented my own pulled chicken recipe, with a bbq sauce that is made with beer, chili sauce,and just one habanero.

Hey, just one is practically baby food, okay?

The result is a sauce that is tangy and spicy, with just a bit of sweetness. Don’t substitute ketchup for the chili sauce – that sauce is the secret to keep the sauce from being too sweet. The chicken cooks until it is tender, then is shredded and mixed with the sauce.

My perfect exception to my “heat beats all” rule.

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sliders


For chicken:

3 chicken breasts

1 jar Heinz chili sauce

1 onion, peeled and quartered

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 habanero pepper, sliced

1 bottle beer (your favorite)

1 tbsp. chili seasoning (or a  mixture of cumin, chile powder, salt, and pepper)

1/3 cup white vinegar

2 tbsp. sugar

For sandwiches:

6 slider buns

2 cups coleslaw (This slaw is ideal for this sandwich)

1. Put all of the chicken ingredients on the stove over medium heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Cover the pot and walk away for 10 – 12 minutes.

I know, sorry. I try to make these recipes tougher so they seem more impressive but…I’m just a very simple person.

Stop laughing. Didn’t mean it that way.

2. When the chicken is entirely cooked through, with no pinkness, and starts to pull apart when prodded with a fork, remove them beasts and set them aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, dump the sauce into a blender, and whiz it until it is totally blitzed.

Now taste it – does it need more pepper, more vinegar, more sugar? Add it now. Then,  return it to the pan and let it reduce for about 20 minutes, or until it has thickened a bit. It won’t get thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but the texture will gain some viscosity.

4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with 2 forks until the meat is totally pulled. Then, combine the sauce and the chicken. When you are ready to serve…

5. Toast your slider buns and lay the chicken on there (with more sauce, if so desired).

6. Top with slaw and serve.

Now this is the kind of bbq I like. A combination of sweet tomatoes and spicy habaneros. Sour with vinegar and sweet from the sugar. The chicken is tender and very juicy, and the sauce saturates the buns, making them delightfully moist and flavorful. The topper of crisp. vinegary slaw provides the perfect counterpart – a fresh, herbal addition to this saucy, savory sandwich. I occasionally like to add some cheese to the bun before toasting, adding a sharp component to the dish.

Feel free to top this with hot sauce, if you so prefer. It’s not the way that I eat it, but hey…

I’m willing to make another exception.


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