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Super Bowl XLIII Food #4: Sliders

Posted by Reese on 2009-01-29 @ 05:56pm

Take a moment to look at the picture below, what do you see?  A white castle?  Good.  Now let’s do some word association.  What’s the first thing that pops in to your head when you hear the words “White Castle”?  If you immediately said sliders then allow us to continue on.  If not, please take a moment to bring yourself up to speed.  White Castle’s signature food is the slyder, a diminutive hamburger meant to be consumed in multiples (like 6 or 47, if you’re bold).  I claim sliders (the other spelling being trademarked) are a perfect Super Bowl party food and can easily be made at home.

whitecastle500

Sliders are great for a party.  The ingredients are pretty cheap, they’re quick to make, go down easy and you can spice them up in a zillion different ways.  Viola! Great party food.  The first thing you’re going to want to consider when making your slider shopping list is the buns.  Keeping in mind that a standard slider is much smaller than your typical hamburger, standard hamburger buns are going to be much too large.  A couple ready options do exist.  You could go with premade (or bake yourself) dinner rolls which are tasty, but I think there is a better solution, Hawaiian rolls.  King’s Hawaiian makes rolls that are light, fluffy and lightly sweet.  A perfect pairing for the beefiness to come.

Next on the shopping list is meat.  The default is beef, but you could easily use pork, lamb, turkey, chicken or some combination of your own design.  My preference is beef though.  I’d recommend going with something on the fattier side as it will make your final burgers juicier and more flavorful.  My choice would be something like 80/20 or 85/15.  If you wanted to get really in to the meat you could even ask your butcher to grind a special cut for you.

Like other foods we’ve talked about this week there are numerous recipes for how to flavor and form the patties.  Being a huge Good Eats fan my recomendation would be Alton’s recipe.  If you’d like more info on exactly how he makes and cooks his sliders check out the Man Food Episode here and here.  Alton cooks his on a griddle, but you could just as well use a frying pan or even broil them.  I wouldn’t suggest grilling them since they’re so thin, probably have too much break up.

Finally you have to think about toppings.  As you well know there are nearly unlimited options on how to top a burger.  Some suggestions and links to recipes are below.

I could probably go on for another 5 pages, but I think you get the picture.

Finally, you’re going to want some sides.  There are of course the classics: potato salad, baked beans, pasta salad, potato salad, etc.  But, I’d say if you’re going to the effort to make sliders and have some cool toppings then change up the sides as well.  If you like chips try a chip you’ve not had like taro, plantain, lotus root or sweet potato.  If you’re in to potato or pasta salad cruise around the web and find an interesting recipe you’ve not had before.  Or, say to hell with all this fancy crap, make the classic recipes and enjoy the hell out of them.  Whatever you decide to do I’m sure you and your guests won’t be disappointed with these.