This week, I had a challenge for our mini Super Bowl party, which was to make sliders. This was a real challenge for me because (a) I’d never made them before, and (b) I don’t eat beef. My husband requested both a beef and turkey version, so I did get to eat some of them.
Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? I’d say this challenge was an unqualified success. Everyone enjoyed them, and my toddler even ate half of one. I may have been designated the official burger maker of our family, which is funny because, again, I don’t eat beef.
The first issue for me was what kind of beef to use. Many of my cookbooks advise grinding your own meat for burgers, but I wasn’t prepared to go quite that far. I decided on ground chuck because of the higher fat content. Burgers need fat to be delicious.
I also needed a good recipe. After some Internet searching, I settled on this one by Alton Brown (I’m not going to re-type it; just follow the link). This recipe has an interesting technique. You roll out the beef on a large cooking sheet into a very thin layer. You then season the top part and fold it over. Cut that into squares to get the White Castle-style burgers. My only quibble was that the instructions were to cut 8 squares, which seemed to make very large burgers for something that is called “mini man burgers.” I ended up cutting them into 16 burgers, which was just the right size for our tiny hamburger buns.
Speaking of buns, I did attempt to make my own, but my attempt failed gloriously. My dough did not rise. I don’t know if the yeast was kaput, or if I did something wrong in the initial step when I combined the yeast with warm milk. At any rate, I intend to try again sometime in the future, as the pictures of the finished bread in Peter Rinehart’s Artisan Breads Every Day are just way too yummy to resist. Still, for this challenge, we ended up using the backup, which was mini Martin’s potato rolls. Nothing wrong with that.
As for the turkey version, I do have a turkey burger recipe that I have been working on for a while now, and that I think it is pretty good. (Scroll down for it). You do have to add some fat and other flavors to the mix, because turkey burgers will turn into hockey pucks if you don’t. I ended up using the same technique of rolling the ground turkey mix out thinly. Then I added a layer of cheddar to the middle before folding and cutting. The cheddar adds much-needed fat while cooking the burgers, and the little pocket of cheese in the middle is a nice surprise when you’re eating it.
As for toppings, I decided to go traditional. I provided mustard, ketchup, iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, pickle slices and pickled red onions (recipe to be posted tomorrow). Next time we make them, my husband wants to try a barbecue version using the barbecue sauce I made for a previous challenge. But for a football game, these little burgers couldn’t be more appropriate. We also had potato skins, cheese bread, guacamole and salsa for dipping — we feasted.
This recipe was adapted from Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking. Makes 4 large burgers or 16 sliders.
In a bowl combine:
- 1 pound ground turkey,
- ⅓ cup fresh bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- salt and pepper
- cheddar cheese, cubed or sliced (optional)
Mix well and form into 4 patties or 16 sliders. Optional: insert a cube or slice of cheese in the center of each burger. Either grill or pan-fry in a little oil for 5 minutes each side, until there is no pink at the center and an instant-reading thermometer measures at least 150 degrees. Serve them hot on buns, topping with your favorite condiments.