Coconut Chicken Sliders with Sugar Baby Slaw April 08 2013


May is a big month for the grilling sticks. Taste of the South magazine is featuring them in the June/July issue as well as a Grilling publication from Media Source entitled, GRILLING 80+ Recipes from the Masters. They are available in well stocked book stores such as Barnes & Noble and Target too.


The sweet medium-light smoke from this blend of fruit- and hard-woods works well with chicken and pork, but get a little creative and try it with beef or even fish. Let’s share recipes this summer. How about posting some of your favorite grilling recipes?


This is a delicious gourmet recipe utilizing the “SWEET SMOKE” Grilling/Smoking Sticks. It will be featured in the June/July issue of Kentucky Monthly magazine.


Coconut Chicken Sliders with Sugar Baby Slaw

Makes 18 sliders – 3 per serving (total of 6 servings)



Sugar Baby Slaw, recipe follows

Coconut Chicken Sliders:

1-1/2# ground chicken breast

2 TB Chinese rice cooking wine

3/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1-1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 small garlic clove, minced

1-1/2 TB minced onion

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

18 French bread dinner rolls

2 TB softened butter

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

36 large fresh basil leaves, washed



Prepare Sugar Baby Slaw first so it has time to chill.


Prepare the grill using “Sweet Smoke” Grilling/Smoking Sticks, sorghum-infused wood sticks:


Direct heat, Gas Grill: Turn all burners to High.

Direct Heat, Charcoal Grill: Start Charcoal in a chimney, transfer to grill. Once white ash covers coals, spread out evenly.  Replace grate.  Test the heat by holding palm a couple inches above the grate. If you must remove your palm immediately, the temperature is High.

Prepping sticks for use with both Gas and Charcoal Grills:  Dampen grilling sticks 15 minutes before using by soaking in water. Normal-size family grills will use 2 on each side. Number of sticks to use is dependent on the size of the grill ie larger grills take more and smaller would use less. Place 2 sticks on top of the ash-covered charcoal on both sides of the charcoal grill. If using a gas grill, make double-thick foil packets with sticks inside. Punch several holes through packet top and bottom. Place packets on top of gas grids on either side.

Wait about 5-10 minutes until sticks start smoking.  Temperature should be hot, approximately 400 degrees. Test temperature with a temperature gun or a digital thermometer. Alternatively, hold your hand palm side down 2 inches above the grilling grate. If you pull away immediately, the grill is hot enough.


Prepare the work area. Spray a large piece of foil with non-stick spray; pour coconut shreds on a large plate; lastly, cover another large plate with foil.

Place ground chicken in a medium-size bowl. Add rice cooking wine, five-spice powder, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, and minced onion to bowl. Using a large fork, lightly break up meat and stir just until spices are distributed throughout.

Pour water into a bowl and dampen hands. Divide chicken mixture into 18 equal portions on the foil that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and form each into 1/2” thick patties, approximately 2-1/2” in diameter (gauge diameter by measuring one of the dinner rolls). Dampen hands as necessary. Turn patties in coconut pressing lightly and then place them on the foil-lined plate. Once completed, discard foil and any leftover coconut.

Using heat-proof gloves, remove grilling grate and spray with a non-stick spray or lightly brush with vegetable oil. Replace on grill. Add the patties, working in batches if necessary. Close lid. Grill for 4 minutes. Open lid and turn patties with a spatula. Close lid again and grill for an additional 3 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting an instant read thermometer through the side of the patties. They are done when the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

Remove to a clean plate and tent plate with foil while preparing the rolls.

Stir together the butter and sesame oil. Lightly brush tops and bottoms of the dinner rolls. Put rolls on grilling grate and close lid. Toast for 1-2 minutes, turn and lightly toast other side. Remove to a cutting board and split in half.

To serve:

Place 3 roll bottoms on a plate. Add a chicken patty to each. Top each patty with a spoonful of Sugar Baby slaw and a couple basil leaves. Replace the roll tops at an angle. Prepare remaining plates. Serve immediately.


Sugar Baby Slaw:


4 cups shredded Sugar Baby watermelon

1 large cucumber, halved, deseeded, shredded

1 TB rice wine vinegar

2 tsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh lime zest

1 TB chopped fresh cilantro

2 TB chopped fresh mint

1 TB minced fresh hot red Thai chili



Working in batches, wrap watermelon and cucumber shreds in several thicknesses of paper toweling and wring out excess moisture. Shreds should look fairly dry. In a medium-size bowl, stir together the rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and lime zest. Add shreds, cilantro, mint, and chili. Stir to combine. Chill while preparing the other components.