NFL Playoff Pulled Chicken Sliders with Crunchy Blue Cheese Slaw

Begin the 2023 NFL Playoff season with a tasty sandwich, by Certified Executive Chef Mark Shoopman, CEC, CFBE


  • 8 each Toasted, slider buns, pick your favorite
  • 8 each Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • As Needed Spicy brown sugar rub, recipe follows
  • ½ cup Apple Cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups Water
  • As Desired Favorite barbecue sauce, optional

Chef Mark’s Spicy Chicken Brown Sugar Rub

  • 4 tablespoons Brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Good quality smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon White pepper

Mix all ingredients and store them in an air-tight container.

Blue Cheesy Slaw

  • 6 cups Green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 4 each Green Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Celery, finely chopped
  • 1 each Carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • As Desired Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Celery seed

– Mix all the dressing ingredients and then toss with the cabbage mix. Allow resting for 20 minutes for the flavors to get to know each other!

Chicken Thigh Preparation and Procedure

Rinse the chicken thighs and completely pat dry. Mix 4 tablespoons of the rub with 1 ½ cups of water and ½ cup of cider vinegar and ½ cup of barbecue sauce, set aside. Place the chicken thighs in a lightly greased roasting pan and rub with spicy brown sugar rub. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and pour the water, spice, vinegar, and barbecue mixture over them.

Cover with foil to seal and place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes or until reaching an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees F. The chicken should pull apart easily with a fork. Remove from oven and leave covered and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and pull the meat apart making sure to mix in all of the pan drippings and spices. Feel free to drain away excess pan liquid and add more barbecue sauce if you wish, but it is not necessary.

Toast the buns and pile the chicken onto the bottom of the bun. On top, crown with the crunchy Blue Cheese slaw! Whew!! Open wide and tear it up!!