Friday, May 21, 2010

Homemade Mini Burger Beef Sliders

Delicious little mini burgers made with very thin meat patties, melted cheese and real minced onion.

Homemade Mini Burger Beef Sliders

These aren't an authentic copycat of the original White Castle sliders, because I haven't actually ever had a White Castle slider. They weren't a part of my south, though we did have Krystal's little yummy burgers. They sure were a favorite late night after-party snack after a long night of dancing back in the days of disco.

Yes, y'all... I am that old. In the craziness of the world we currently live in, I actually kinda miss those days a bit.

I grew up in what was a resort party town back in the day. Now we have legalized gambling, but back then we still had gambling everywhere in Biloxi, though well... it wasn't so legal, though the law back then tended to look the other way. For years when I was a kid we had a slot machine, which I guess my Daddy got for entertainment, likely from one of those raids.

Hey! Don't judge.

Anyway, though sliders are all the rage these days, and they are made many, many different ways, I still have an affectionate preference for these tiny burgers, which not many folks seem to make anymore. 

When these first showed up on the scene, there were basically two methods used in the preparation part.

One involves pressing or rolling the meat out very thin usually over a bed of minced, dried onion. The raw meat is scored, then partially frozen, then has a series of holes poked all over the patties, then frozen more solid, before finally cooking the individual patties.

Sometimes the onion is added to the grill pan and the raw meat patties cooked on top on the onion. The holes are purportedly to help steam the top of the meat because at White Castle, the beef is cooked on top of the onion scattered on the grill, with the buns on top, so the meat is never flipped.

The other way, and the one that seemed much more sensible to me, was to just let the oven do the work. I am all about the ease of things, so oven it is.

I did notice that mostly folks seemed to be using dried onions though, because that was supposed to be more authentic, but I personally like these little burger bombs with fresh, though finely minced onion, and a lot of them. Yum!

As always, the full recipe is down the page - just swipe or scroll down a bit where you'll find the measurements, instructions and a printable for your convenience.

How 'bout we make some? 

I like the use of ground chuck for sure and have found that while one pound is not quite enough for the 10 x 15-inch jelly roll style baking pan that I use, two pounds is too much since you really want the meat to be very thin.

Here we are rolling the meat as thin as we possibly can with this method and I feel it calls for a fatty meat to retain the juices, rather than a leaner ground beef, meaning we'll have to pour off that fat from the tray once it cooks.

Just place a layer of plastic wrap over the meat and roll away until the meat is spread out nice and thin across the baking pan. 

Remove the plastic wrap and discard it. Bake the meat at 350 degrees F until cooked through, about 15 minutes. When the meat comes out of the oven, you'll see that is has shrunk and drawn in, making it a little bit thicker from where you started. That is why I like rolling the meat ultra-thin before it cooks, using a rolling pin.  I had a bit of a split this time, but don't fret if that happens. It'll work out, promise.

Drain off the excess fat and top with the shredded cheese. Return to the oven, just long enough to melt the cheese.

Score the meat with a pizza cutter for the size buns that you have.

When I use a 2 x 2-inch roll, I can generally get about 24 sliders on a 10 x 15-inch baking sheet. For this batch, the rolls that The Cajun grabbed for me were actually 2 x 4 inch in size, so with the trimmings counted and added to a bun, I got 14 sliders from this batch.

I have noticed that some folks season the meat with a variety of different seasonings - salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic powder - and I even saw one recipe incorporating some beef baby food (for a smoother textured meat I think, but yeah, no thanks).

I prefer to season these little jewels with only the raw onion and not a thing else, because to me they taste more authentic that way.

Sliced cheddar also seemed to be the common denominator around the net too, but I don't currently have a good cheese slicer, so I just shredded it.

I'm thinking however, that good ole processed American cheese is a good choice here too, or you could simply go no cheese at all.  Dress it with mustard, or ketchup, a pickle, or however if you like them.

I've made these several times already and they are just delicious and great to have on hand wrapped up in the fridge for football season or just snacking, especially for when those hungry kids get home from school.

Once they've cooled a bit, I put them back into the roll bag and then when we wanted another one or two, wrapped them individually in paper towels and microwaved on high for just about 30 to 45 seconds or until hot.

That's, of course, if you have any leftover, because make a batch and watch how fast they disappear.

Great make-ahead for tailgating - wrap in foil and throw on the indirect side of the grill to warm though.

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Posted by on May 21, 2010

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