Grilled Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sliders are an outstanding snack when you’re craving a classic chicken wing, but want to change it up a bit. And when we’re looking for fun game day recipes, we want big flavor, and these fit that bill perfectly!
This post and recipe is sponsored by Mirum, and it’s one heck of a recipe. All opinions and content are my own.
If you are looking for a creative way to add Buffalo style flavor to chicken, this Buffalo meatball recipe is it. Turning them into sliders makes them the perfect finger food for any game day or to wow your guests with a filling snack for the Big Game!
- Ingredients For Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- What is Bacon Paste?
- How to Make Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Grilling Steps
- Ranch Sauce
- Making The Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sliders
- Reducing Heartburn Symptoms When Eating Spicy Foods
- Other Great Game Day Recipes
- Grilled Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Slider Recipe
Ingredients For Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
For these meatballs we’re deconstructing the flavors that go into a classic chicken wing, and adding them into the meatball.
It starts with ground chicken, but ground chicken is typically very lean which in turn means it can dry out easily when cooked. So, we recommend you buy ground chicken that is 90% lean versus the 99% lean if possible.
Next, to bring the classic hot wing flavor, you need a Buffalo Wing Hot Sauce. We then add some celery for crunch and some dry rub to season for the perfect combination.
For a binding agent we’re not using egg for this. Instead, we’re using bacon that’s been ground into a paste. This works as both a binder and also adds great flavor!
What is Bacon Paste?
Bacon paste is simply bacon that has been ground into a fine paste using a food processor. When bacon is turned into a paste it becomes a great binding substitute to egg. In addition to adding the right amount of fat to allow the ground chicken to combine and set, it also adds a slightly bacon-like flavor to any dish (like in our classic turkey burger with bacon paste).
Simply place two slices of bacon (per pound of ground chicken) into a food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste like consistency. Thick cut cold bacon works best. If it’s warm and thinner, it tends to not process as easily. If all you have is the thinner cut bacon, be sure it’s cold.
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Once you have made your bacon paste it’s time to make the Buffalo meatballs. These on their own are amazing, but we’re going the extra step to really take them over the top as sliders.
- In a large bowl combine the ground chicken, bacon paste, wing sauce, celery, and dry rub. Combine them with your hands to incorporate the bacon paste and ingredients until it is well combined. Note: The meatballs will feel wet, and that is normal.
- Using an ice cream scoop, form the meatballs into 12 golf ball sized meatballs. Even sized meatballs will cook at the same time. Place on a tray and put into the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes. This will allow them to form up and hold well while on the grill.
While preparing the meatballs, this is a good time to preheat your grill and set it up for indirect or two-zone grilling, targeting 350 – 375 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Place the meatballs straight from the refrigerator onto the grates and grill them for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches between 160 – 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If your grill is running hotter, then they will cook faster, so be sure to cook to temperature, not just time. Check them after 12 minutes just to be sure.
While the meatballs are grilling, this is a good time to make the ranch sauce. Combine the cream cheese, ranch, and wing sauce in a medium sized bowl, and whisk until smooth. If you’re a hardcore blue cheese fan, feel free to sub blue cheese dressing instead of ranch. When the sliders are done, we’ll pour this sauce over the top or use as a dipping sauce.
Making The Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sliders
- When the meatballs internal temperature reaches 160 – 165 degrees F (about 20 minutes of grill time at 350), remove from the grill and then place the chicken meatballs into a bowl. Pour ¼ cup of wing sauce into the bowl and toss them to coat. This gives even more of that distinct Buffalo chicken flavor.
- On a cookie rack, place the rolls and cut the rolls in half with a good, serrated bread knife and lay them side by side with the bottom half. We use Hawaiian style rolls for these because they stay connected and we can lay out the ingredients so easily (they’re also so soft and tender!). Brioche sliders are another great alternative.
- Lay your slices of provolone cheese on the bottom half, and then add one meatball per roll. Top each meatball with a pickle. On the bread tops, brush with melted butter and then sprinkle with granulated garlic and kosher salt for extra flavor.
- Take the entire cookie rack (with the sliders still on it) and place back onto the grill to melt the cheese and warm the bread. This should take about 10 minutes, or until you like the color of the melted cheese. Remove and then top the meatballs with the ranch sauce and place the top of the buns on the sliders.
- They are ready to serve.
A note about the cookie rack versus just a sheet pan – We use this because it elevates the bread off of a sheet pan preventing burning the bottom of the rolls from the grill.
Reducing Heartburn Symptoms When Eating Spicy Foods
If you’re combatting frequent heartburn (2 or more days per week), a 14-day course of Kroger’s Omeprazole Orally Disintegrating Tablets (ODT) can really aid in treating those symptoms.
Omeprazole ODT from Kroger is affordable compared to national brands and easy to consume. You simply take a tablet that disintegrates right on your tongue every morning for 14 days. No need for water. And when we’re grilling wings and enjoying delicious foods, it’s a game changer.
Use Omeprazole ODT as directed for 14 days to treat frequent heartburn (occurring 2 or more days a week). Omeprazole ODT is not intended for immediate relief and may take 1-4 days to feel the full effect. You can find it online at Kroger.com or at your local Kroger store.
Other Great Game Day Recipes
- Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Poppers
- Smoked Chicken Wings
- Sausage and Hatch Chile Beer Cheese Dip
- Beef Brisket Nachos
- Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings
Check out our Game Day recipe round up for even more great options.
Grilled Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Slider Recipe
- Brush for Butter
- 2 slices bacon, blended into a paste (cold, thick cut, bacon works best)
- 1 pound ground chicken
- ½ cup Buffalo wing sauce (separated into two ¼ cup portions)
- ¼ cup diced celery
- 1 tablespoon SPG Rub
- ¼ cup ranch
- 2 tablespoons Buffalo wing sauce
- 1 tablespoon softened cream cheese
- ¼ cup wing sauce
- 1 12-count package Hawaiian or Brioche style slider buns
- 6 slices provolone cheese
- 12 slices dill pickles
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- Preheat Grill: Prepare the grill for indirect grilling targeting 350 degrees Fahrenheit as the ambient temperature.
- Make Bacon Paste: Place two slices of bacon into a food processer and pulse until the bacon is a paste-like texture. Some small chunks are fine.
- Make Meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the bacon paste, ground chicken, ¼ cup of wing sauce, celery, and dry rub, and mix with your hands until incorporated. Using an ice cream scoop, make 12 golf ball size meatballs. Place on a tray and store in the refrigerator for 15 – 20 minutes to set.
- Grill Meatballs: Place the meatballs on the preheated grill straight from the refrigerator and cook until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 160 – 165 degrees Fahrenheit (about 20 minutes).
- For the Ranch Sauce: While the meatballs are grilling, combine the ranch, wing sauce, and softened cream cheese in a medium sized bowl. Stir to incorporate. It's ok if it's a little chunky.
- Finish Meatballs: When the meatballs reach 160 – 165 degrees, remove them from the grill and place in a large bowl. Toss remaining ¼ cup of the wing sauce in the bowl and stir to combine.
- Make the Sliders: On a wired drying rack sheet, cut the 12 pack of bread in half placing the tops next to the bottoms and try to keep them all in one piece. On the bottoms of rolls layer the cheese. Next add the meatballs and top with a sliced pickle. The last step is brushing the tops of the rolls with melted butter, and sprinkling the salt and garlic for extra flavor.
- Grill the Sliders: Place the sliders back on the grill for up to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove and then top each meatball with about a small spoonfull of the ranch sauce, then place the tops back on, cut up the sliders and then serve.