These Smoked Chicken Bacon Ranch Sliders will be the only sliders you will be making for a while! They are packed with flavor, starting with the smoked and shredded chicken, crispy bacon, two types of cheeses and homemade ranch dressing. It’s perfect for appetizers, snacks or even the main meal!
During the week it gets very busy, we have four kids and it seems like we need more time than the 24 hours granted to us. This leaves us thinking of quick and easy meal options that we can easily plan out, sometimes we get lucky and have the ingredients in the fridge already. That’s exactly what makes this recipe great, it checks all of those boxes.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HOMEMADE RANCH DRESSING
When it comes to homemade ranch dressing it is extremely important that it is made in advance, about one day. It’s pretty simple to make, I like to use buttermilk, sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, dill, parsley, chives, onion powder, garlic powder and some salt. You can not go wrong with these ingredients, I promise it will be better than what you get at the store!
Add all of those ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk for a few minutes, this helps all of the ingredients to enhance one another. Cover the top with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge, or you can pour it into a Mason jar and seal it tight with the lid.
Do yourself a favor and don’t take any shortcuts with the chicken! Make sure it is done right and here is how it’s done! This is the most crucial step to the whole meal, it’s doing a buttermilk brine on the chicken thighs prior to the smoke.
All that is needed is a gallon of buttermilk, a cup of hot sauce and the chicken. Combine all of these ingredients into a large bowl and cover, making it airtight. Place it in the fridge for a minimum time of twelve hours. This will make the chicken extremely juicy and tender for a delicious bite. The next day, or whenever you’re ready to smoke the chicken, get it out and wash off all of the buttermilk and pat the chicken breast dry.
Once the chicken breast is dry, season it generously on all sides with your favorite bbq rub. Fire the smoker up to 250 degrees F. I used my pellet smoker for this cook, using hickory pellets. Add the chicken breast to the smoker and smoke for 60-75 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. While the chicken breasts are smoking, this is when I add my bacon strips to a wire rack, with a baking sheet pan under to catch the drippings and smoke it alongside the chicken breast.
The chicken will be done first, just place the chicken into a metal bowl and cover it with aluminum foil for about 15 minutes for resting. This will provide more time for the bacon to crisp up. To help this process, crank the smoker up to 350 degrees F and flip the bacon. Once the bacon is bubbling and crispy, remove it and chop it up. Place in a smaller bowl and cover with foil.
Shred the chicken in the aluminum bowl, I use cotton gloves under my nitrile gloves for this part. After I shred the chicken, I like to add another layer of seasoning, using the same bbq rub I used at the beginning. Hand toss the chicken with the new fresh layer of seasoning and cover with aluminum foil.
ASSEMBLE THE SLIDERS
Start off with the soft slider buns from Kings Hawaiian and add American Cheddar Cheese for the foundation, the shredded chicken, crispy bacon bits, homemade ranch, hot sauce (optional) and pepper jack cheese. This is my favorite combination for the Chicken Bacon Ranch Sliders. You have the liberty to add or take away any ingredients to please your taste buds, but I am confident that these will be perfect!
Now it’s time to add the lid and transfer to a 2’ depth aluminum pan. Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking oil and then place the slider (as a whole) in the pan. Coat the top buns with melted butter and kosher salt. Have the smoker preheated and ready at 350 degrees F. Add the sliders to the smoker (or oven) and let them go for 20ish minutes. Remove and place on a cutting board for serving.
Smoked Chicken Bacon Ranch Sliders
- 3 lbs Boneless chicken breast (about 5 pieces)
- 1 gal Buttermilk
- 1 cup Hot sauce
- BBQ rub
- 1-2 packs Slider buns
- 12 slices American cheddar cheese
- 12 slices Pepper Jack cheese
- 10 strips Thick cut bacon
- ½ stick Unsalted butter
- ½ cup Mayo
- ½ cup Sour cream
- ½ cup Buttermilk
- ½ Lemon juiced
- 2 tsp Fresh chopped dill
- 2 tsp Fresh chopped chives
- 2 tsp Fresh chopped parsley
- ½ tsp Onion powder
- ½ tsp Garlic powder
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- Start off by making homemade Ranch dressing. Add all of the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and whisk for a few minutes and then cover with plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge for 24 hours.
- As soon as you are done with the ranch dressing, add a gallon of buttermilk into a large mixing bowl with a cup of hot sauce. Add the chicken breast (you can trim them prior) and hand toss for a few minutes. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours.
- Wash off the chicken breast with cold water and pat dry. Place them on a baking sheet and season generously with your favorite barbecue rub. Place them on the smoker at 250 degrees.
- Get the thick bacon strips on a wire rack (with a sheet pan underneath) and smoke it with the chicken. I typically place the bacon under the chicken.
- Smoke the chicken for 60 minutes and check the temperature, remove at 160 internal degrees F and let rest for 6 minutes. Shred the chicken and keep warm. Remove the bacon when it’s crispy.
- Build the sliders with the American Cheddar cheese on the bottom, shredded chicken, crispy bacon bits, homemade ranch dressing, hot sauce and pepper jack cheese. Place the lid on top and then place the sliders into an aluminum pan (2” depth pan), spray with cooking spray prior. Butter the top buns with melted butter and salt them.
- Place in the smoker at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove and serve!
Hopefully, you’ve found this post useful and can’t wait to practice your roasting in the days to come. For those new to the world of smoking, don’t be afraid to experiment – it’s a great way to get better acquainted with the flavors and techniques associated with this barbecue phenomenon.