No. This isn’t heaven. But, it’s certainly somewhere close.
Bold & smoky peppercorn-encrusted chicken thighs. Grilled with the essence of charcoal & hardwood to tender succulent perfection. Sliced, finely shredded & tossed with thick meaty cuts of chopped bacon. Loaded over a tangy homemade kale-slaw, lightly drizzled in a creamy white barbeque sauce, topped with crisp and pickled cucumbers, and sandwiched in lightly buttered and toasted artisan slider rolls.
Paired with a Brie & shaved Asiago a Macaroni&Cheese, alongside smokehouse jalapeño baked beans, & an ice cold, 6’er of golden Wheat IPA.
Stay hungry, cheers to beers & long live the long weekend! -David
Northern Michigan Beer Marinade
- 1 bottle IPA beer under 70 IBUs
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4-6 cloves garlic smashed
- 2 shallots finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground black peppercorn
- Pour all ingredients into a pot and whisk until thoroughly combined. Over medium heat with the pot lid on, bring to a gentle boil for 5-7 minutes, or until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool entirely. Place the chicken a large resealable, air-tight plastic bag. Pour in the marinade, ensuring the meat is entirely covered. Refrigerate for 8 hours or up to overnight.
Ground Peppercorn and Herb Dry Rub
- 1/2 cup ground black peppercorn
- 1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- In a food processor, pulse together all ingredients. Set aside.
Chicken Thigh Apple-Beer Basting Spray
- 2 bottles IPA beer separated
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Open and drink the first bottle of beer. Discard empty beer bottle into recycling bin. Combine all remaining liquids in a spray bottle. Set aside.
Homemade White Barbecue Sauce
- 1 cup all-natural mayonnaise
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn and cayenne pepper to taste
- Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. (For thicker sauce, add 1 teaspoon mayonnaise. For thinner sauce, add 1 teaspoon water.)
Applewood-Smoked Chicken Thigh Sliders with Kaleslaw and White BBQ Sauce
- 5 pounds boneless chicken thighs trimmed
- Northern Michigan IPA Beer Marinade recipe above
- Peppercorn and Herb Dry Rub recipe above
- 12-16 ounces thick center-cut bacon strips
- 4 cups of applewood chips wrapped in tin foil and perforated with a fork
- Chicken Thigh Apple-Beer Spray recipe above
- Blanco Barbecue Sauce recipe above
- Kaleslaw or Coleslaw and pickle, to garnish
- 1 dozen slider rolls lightly buttered and toasted
- Evening before grilling, prepare beer marinade and submerge chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for 8 hours, up to overnight (per instructions above). Remove chicken from refrigerator two hours before grilling. Roll in a bed of Peppercorn and Herb Dry Rub (recipe above), then cover and wrap tightly with plastic. Rest at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare the White BBQ Sauce and Chicken Thigh Apple-Beer Spray (both recipes above). Roast bacon over rimmed baking sheet in 400-degree F pre-heated oven until crisp. Remove bacon from oven, place on paper towel-lined plate to cool. Roughly chop bacon and set aside.
- Preheat grill to 300F using the 2-zone grilling method (see notes section below) and apply applewood tin foil smoker packet over the hottest direct-heat grates 15-20 minutes before grilling. Once grill is to temperature and smoke billowing from the tin foil packet, place chicken thighs over indirect heat cooler grates, opposite the smoker packet. Rotate, flip and spray chicken intermittently to keep exterior moist and ensure even cooking. With 10 minutes remaining to finish grillingl the chicken, turn all burners to max heat and begin to brush on layers of the White BBQ Sauce until internal juices of the thigh meat run clear and all pink coloration has just been grilled out (internal temperature can be difficult to measure - targeting for serving at 165F).
- Remove chicken from grill and tent loosely with tin foil for 10 minutes. Using two forks, shred the meat. Toss with additional White BBQ Sauce.
- To plate, place between two toasted buns, over coleslaw and sliced pickles. Serve alongside a cold brewski, baked beans and homemade macaroni and cheese.
1-burner grill – Turn the grill to high, then use the warming shelf lined with tin foil, removing the meat from direct contact with the grill grates.
2-burner grill – Turn right side of the grill to high and leave the left side off.
3-burner grill – Turn far right side of the grill to high, the middle to low-medium and the left side off.
4-burner grill – Turn far right side of grill to high, middle right to medium, middle left to low, and leave the far left zone off. 2-Zone Grilling Surface on Charcoal:
Ignite the charcoal in a chimney starter. When coals are glowing red, dump coals onto the grill floor. Rake coals, pushing ⅔ to one side of the grill, slanting the remaining coals to the opposite side of the grill, establishing one high-piled hot zone and one cooler zone. For every hour of cooking, add a half-stack of coals.