There was a time last century when sailors in the US Navy used the term “sliders” for hamburgers so greasy that the patties slid across the grill as ships swayed in the rolling surf.  The old White Castle hamburger chain picked up the term and used it for burgers so small that customers could slide each one down the hatch in a single bite. Nowadays the term refers to any small sandwich you can eat in a bite or two. Here is a tasty example from my book Weber’s New Real Grilling. The recipe features grilled chicken thighs that are shredded and then coated with a root beer barbecue sauce. 

The term “root beer” has its own American story that involves a chemist in Biloxi, Mississippi experimenting with some roots, berries and herbs in 1898 to make a bubbly beverage. Somehow it seems fitting that these two culinary terms with curious origins (sliders and root beer) should meet on a plate… but not home plate, which is the territory of a totally different kind of slider.


  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • .5 finely chopped yellow onion
  • .66 Cup ketchup
  • .5 Cup Barq's Root Beer
  • 2 Tablespoon unsulfured molasses
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon prepared chili powder
  • .5 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • RUB
  • 2 Teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 small, soft hamburger buns or rolls, split
  • Store-bought coleslaw (optional)


  • Total Time: 34 min
  • Prep Time: 25 min
  • Cook Time: 9 min
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F). Combine the rub ingredients. Lightly brush the chicken thighs on both sides with oil and season evenly with the rub. Grill the chicken over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until the meat is firm to the touch and the juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove from the grill and let rest until just cool enough to handle, 3 to 5 minutes. Shred the chicken, add to the sauce, and heat through over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Fill the buns with the chicken mixture. Serve with coleslaw, if desired.

About the Author

Jamie Purviance is one of America's top grilling experts and Weber’s master griller. Since graduating from Stanford University and Culinary Institute of America (with high honors), he has written more than a dozen cookbooks and contributed to many national magazines. His recent books include “Weber’s Way to Grill” (a James Beard Award finalist), “Weber’s Smoke,” and “Weber’s New Real Grilling” – all New York Times best sellers. Follow Purviance on Twitter @jamiepurviance and on Facebook

© 2013 Weber-Stephen Products LLC.  Recipe from Weber’s New Real Grilling™ by Jamie Purviance. All rights reserved. Used with permission.