The grilling season is upon us and to prepare in the most drink-savvy manner, we have enlisted the beer-and-cooking prowess of cookbook author and photographer Jackie Dodd, aka The Beeroness.

On the heels of her new cookbook — “LUSH,” out later this year — she loans one of her favorite recipes to anticipate the sunnier days ahead with beer and grilling. This recipe for grilled beer chicken sliders uses not one but two beers in the recipe, a pilsner in the chicken marinade and a stout in the cherry sauce. For both, Dodd recommends beers from Seattle’s iconic Georgetown Brewing. The Rogers Pilsner shines in the marinade, bringing a crisp sweetness to the meat, while the 9Lb Porter provides strength and maltiness to the fruity sauce.

Dodd says all of the elements of the dish – with the exception of the cooking of the wings – can be made ahead of time and stored separately. If serving off-site, she suggests transporting this way then heating the chicken and sauce separately and assembling just prior to serving.

Grilled Beer Chicken Sliders with Burrata and Stout Chipotle Cherry Sauce

Makes 1 dozen sliders

2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless skinless
1 tablespoon kosher salt
12 ounces Georgetown Brewing Rogers pilsner
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup pitted dark sweet cherries (frozen is fine)
2 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup beer Georgetown Brewing 9Lb Porter
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons honey
8-ounce ball burrata cheese
12 Hawaiian buns, split into slider buns

Add the chicken to a bowl or small baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, then cover with beer. Refrigerate for 1-6 hours.

Remove the chicken from the brine, pat dry. Add to a plate or cutting board.

In a small bowl stir together the garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and smoked paprika. Sprinkle over the chicken on both sides. Allow the chicken to sit for 10 minutes.

Spray the grill (or a grill pan) with olive oil or cooking spray, heat to medium high heat. Add the chicken, cooking on both sides until cooked through. Remove from grill, slice.

Add the cherries, chipotle, balsamic, stout and black pepper to a pan over medium high heat. Simmer, breaking up the cherries and stirring until the cherries have started to break down.

Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cornstarch, blend with an immersion blender until smooth (this can also be done in a small blender or food processor). Stir in the honey and return to medium heat until slightly thickened.

Fill the Hawaiian buns with chicken. Split the burrata ball open, putting a few teaspoons of cheese on top of the chicken. (The rind is very tasty and can be put on the sliders, if desired. It tastes more like traditional mozzarella). Drizzle the cheese with a teaspoon or so of the cherry sauce. Serve immediately.

Special to Sip Northwest, Jackie Dodd (AKA @TheBeeroness) is an award-winning beer and food writer and photographer based in Seattle. Her third book, “LUSH,” is due out later this year.