Sunday, March 16, 2008

Home Cooking: Sliders

Of all of the infinite varieties of hamburger I think that sliders are my favorite. There is just something about the little bombers that perfectly captures the happy confluence of beef, bun and cheese. The slider is the reduction of the burger to its ideal form, allowing one, in the words of Burger Guru George Motz, to hold a coffee and cigarette in one hand and the burger in the other. Living in the middle of NYC I have easy access to some wonderful burgers in almost limitless varieties but when it comes to sliders the options are few and far between, at least if you want the best of the breed. My personal favorite in NYC is Shopsin's sliders in the Essex Street market but they have a rather limited schedule, closing early. Of course there is always White Manna in Hackensack but this requires leaving the city.

So I have found the next best alternative is to make them myself. Using the above video as inspiration I have tried several methods but this is the technique that comes closest to the Holy Grail in my mind.

American cheese
Martin's Famous Potato Dinner Rolls (the perfect size for sliders)
Thinly sliced white or yellow onions
2-3 tablespoons of beef broth (water or white wine also work but the beef broth adds a little extra flavor)
Salt to taste

To begin with pre form your patties in to small 2-2.5 oz balls. I generally use a straight chuck with a 75/25% meat to fat ratio but obviously feel free to use your preferred mix. Let the beef come to room temperature before cooking. Season with salt.

I use a cast iron skillet that I heat up for a good ten minutes on a medium to high setting, this will assure that the pan retains its heat through out the cooking process. You want the beef to sizzle when it hits the pan but not char to the degree that a one world want on a steak.

Cover the burgers with the sliced onions

Next take your trusty spatula and mash down the onion/patty stack to flatten the burgers. I don't hit them as hard as they do in the White Manna video because it tends to be a bit messy.

Cover the skillet and let the burgers cook for 2-3 minutes or until a nice charred crust forms on the bottom and the rest of the patty looks light brown rather than pink in color.

Once there is a nice char on the bottom of the patties flip the stack so that the onions end up on the bottom.

Cover the sliders with American cheese

Top the burger with both halves of the potato roll. Pour into the pan 3 tablespoons of beef broth (you can use water but the broth adds a little extra flavor) and cover the pan. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted, and the buns are warmed through and are pillow soft. The liquid helps to not only soften the buns but also melt the cheese.

Once they are done slide the spatula under the burger and lift, place the bottom of the roll (which is on the top of the stack) and put it on the serving plate. Ease the remaining parts of the burger stack on to the bun. Voila! a close replica of the White Manna slider.


Hamburger America said...

Clearly, you are a dedicated man. Nice job! Now I need a White Manna fix...

Yvo said...

Wow, that looks pretty darn tasty. Think I'll be giving this a whirl with my own modifications... thanks!

Slice said...

Nice steamage from the lid placement. I don't know if I would have thought of that!

Riad said...

Perfect Adaptation..Good Work!

Jen X. said...

Yes, few and far between. Someone should open a sliders restaurant in New York or San Francisco - so many possibilities for the menu, don't you think?

Here's how they roll in Dallas.

sonna said...

my husband did something similar with a segment we saw on a foodnetwork show. check it out:

Equalizer said...

Looks nice and basic. I would rather caramellize the onions first and then squash the beef patty on top to add a bit of sweetness.

Checkout this place with a huge variety of sliders in the Middle East !

Equalizer said...

DocChuck said...

After reading your post, I broke out my inherited (grandmother's) cast iron skillet (HEY!, I'm 66 years old - imagine how old that wonderful skillet is!) and made a batch of sliders.

I guess you wouldn't approve, but I experimented by using a small chunk of Velveeta (I know ... cringe!!).

Gotta tell you, they were delicious.

Must have been the skillet ;>)

MrsDocChuck said...

Those burgers looked really good, I must say.

But they were mini burgers, not sliders.

"Sliders" come from White Castle and no other place. If they aren't steamed, perforated and covered with rehydrated dried onions, they aren't sliders.

I had a sack of them on Saturday and can only say "YUM."

The ones we made at home do not compare, sorry to say.

MrsDocChuck said...

Sorry. I forgot to commend you on the broth step. A stroke of genius!

Sliders are sliders because of the pillow-soft steamed meat and bun that slide down your gullet.

I still maintain that these are not real sliders, but the broth brings them much closer to the real thing than any other recipe I've seen.

Anonymous said...

I tried your recipe today and it was excellent. The only other slider recipe I tried was from Not Eating Out in NY blog with honey and scallions and it came out ok but not as good as this one. Key is to put a good amount of onions. I had 1 lb. of ground chuck. Added 1/2 teasp. of iodized salt and 1/4 teasp. pepper. Used whole wheat mini buns since I didn't have potato rolls. Delicious! I liked the whole wheat buns better since it had a bit of a stiffer texture. Thanks for the recipe and the procedure.

Anonymous said...

I made your recipe tonight for dinner and the whole family loved it. I used 80/20 ground chuck with sea salt. The onions and beef broth makes the dish. Thanks

GJ said...

great recipe! I made full sized burgers and dipped the bread in the broth...delicious!

Texas Lady said...

I just want to say that I made these and your addition of the beef broth just at the end made these ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!! My family loved them and I felt like I had made successful SLIDERS!! Thanks for the tip!!

jerry said...

im hungry now

serina said...

sliders on the skillet right NOW. so excited to try them. thanks for posting!

Windansea said...

Made these yesterday - awesome. Thank you!

Tatyana said...

Thank you so much for this! I went to White Manna a few times and now want to try to make it on my own. Thanks!!