There’s nothing complicated about sliders, but that doesn’t lessen anyone’s enthusiasm when they appear on the table. Miniature versions of any food elicit such excitement in diners that I’ve often wondered why restaurants serve such large portions. Then I see someone devouring three of these mini-burgers. Portion-control be damned; the fun of eating small food makes it hard to resist.
In another puzzling twist, the smaller the food the more elegant it becomes. You’d never think to have burgers at a cocktail party, but make them bite-size and it’s the ultimate accompaniment to the little black dress.
Most recently, I catered a large graduation celebration. I wanted to prepare a sophisticated menu that was also fun and approachable to the target audience: 18-year olds graduating from high school. I decided to offer a trio of sliders as part of the menu. In addition to these Ground Beef Sliders with Spicy Mustard and Caramelized Onions, I also offered Lamb and Feta Sliders and a slider version of these Pork Banh-mi Sandwiches. Assembled on large platters with bamboo skewers to hold them in place they were the ideal entrée for a dinner buffet not to mention a delicious snack for the late night crowd.
Pepperidge Farms makes white and wheat slider buns that are available by the dozen in the bread section of most grocery stores. These are good and convenient although I have often used dinner rolls instead. I’ve long wanted to get 12 sliders out of one pound of meat, but burgers shrink during cooking and 10 sliders per one pound of meat yields a slider with a good bread to meat ratio.
The graduation party I catered was for 80 people which meant I made and pre-cooked the patties in advance. While I worried this might dry out the final product, testing revealed that the burgers could be reheated with excellent results under a broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or in a foil-covered baking sheet for about 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If feeding a crowd, I recommend making them ahead. Happy cooking!
Ground Beef Sliders with Spicy Mustard & Caramelized Onions – Printer Friendly Recipe
Makes 10 sliders
1 lb lean (93/7) ground beef
2 teaspoons thick Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more for onions
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
3.5 ounces sharp white cheddar or your favorite cheese
10 dill pickle slices
10 slider or dinner rolls
2 tablespoons spicy mustard
Combine the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a big bowl and mix with your hands until well incorporated. Divide the meat mixture into 10 equal portions and shape them into patties. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir briefly. Cover the skillet and cook onions for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover the pot and add a large pinch of salt to the onions. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until onions are a deep golden brown, about 20 more minutes. Adjust the seasonings as needed and then set aside.
Place a rack in the top third of the oven and turn the broiler on high. Cook the burgers under the broiler for 3 minutes then add cheese slices and broil for another minute. If preparing the sliders in advance, cool the sliders and then refrigerate them, covered. If serving immediately, schmear the buns with the spicy mustard and top each bun with a burger, pickle slice, and a forkful of caramelized onions.
To reheat sliders prepared in advance, place the sliders on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Reheat in 350-degree oven for 12 minutes. For quicker reheating, do not cover the sliders with foil and place them under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes. Assemble as directed above.