Aired August 1, 2014
For the chicken
2 sticks butter
1 cup hot sauce (I like Red Hot here)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Hungarian hot paprika
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1½ cups canned crushed tomatoes
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 slider buns, toasted or grilled (potato buns, onion, poppy seed and whole grain buns are fun!)
½ cup bleu cheese dressing
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
½ cup chopped celery leaves
1. Marinate the chicken. In a medium on medium low heat pot add the butter, hot sauce, Italian seasoning, paprika, brown sugar, and tomatoes. Simmer while stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl or liquid measure and cool in the refrigerator until room temperature. Once cooled, add the chicken to a re-sealable plastic bag and pour in all the marinade, saving 1 cup for later. Press all the air out, seal and rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
2. Grill the chicken. Heat the grill to medium low. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and shake off any excess marinade. Discard the marinade in the bag. Season the chicken on all sides with a salt and pepper and place directly on the grill. Cook on one side until the chicken releases, then flip and cook on the other side until done, about 15 minutes per side (Use an internal thermometer or check for the juices to run clear, either way make sure the internal temperature is 165º F). Remove to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil to rest for 5 minutes.
3. Cut and toss chicken. Remove and discard the skin from each piece of chicken, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones. Finely chop the chicken (don’t shred) on a cutting board then scoop the chicken into a large bowl. Add reserved sauce to the bowl slowly incorporating until the chicken just holds together (you may not use all of the sauce).
4. Assemble. Slather the bottom buns with blue cheese dressing. Using a medium ice cream scoop or a ¼ cup measure, press some chicken into the scoop then unmold each on a prepared bottom bun. Top with blue cheese, celery leaves and the top bun, and repeat for the rest.