burger sliders with melted cheese and pickle

Super Sliders 101: Little Burgers. Big Taste

In Recipes by Tony DestefanoLeave a Comment

If you want to make the very best sliders, you need to approach them the same way you would make the very best burgers. That means starting with great ground beef, and when it comes to full-flavored, sink-your-teeth-in goodness, the blend most diehard burger aficionados choose is 80/20 ground beef.

Making great sliders also means keeping things pretty simple.

Beyond the beef, the elements you need to consider when making your sliders are buns, cheese, and sauces. Most folks who are in-the-know when it comes to delectable, diminutive cheeseburgers will tell you that sliders are best kept simple, without a lot of toppings. You don’t want to crowd those tender, tasty little patties; instead select a few ingredients that work in concert with your burger and help ensure the best overall flavor balance possible.

burger sliders with melted cheese and pickle

Patties First…

To make great sliders, of course you need to start with the patty, which should be made from fresh 80/20 ground beef rolled into balls and then gently pressed flat. Try to shape them using as little pressure as possible and without squeezing out those precious, flavorful juices. Whether you grill, pan fry, or use a griddle to cook your sliders, be ready for the patties to cook in as little as 3 minutes per side! How large should the pre-patty meatball be? There’s no rule here, but as a rule of thumb: two ounces. That happens to be about the same size as an ice cream scooper, by the way (or a golf ball, as another point of reference).

Slider hamburgers cooking on a barbecue grill.

Now It’s Time To Talk Buns…

You need to choose your slider buns carefully, as too much bread will take away from the flavor of the patty. With diligence can always find small buns suitable for burgers, especially if you go to a specialty shop or a quality bakery. But you can also make your own slider buns in a few cool ways. Try using small dollops of dough pressed flat into the bottom of a muffin tray and baked for just a few minutes, for example. Or use a “kitchen hack” we just love: get a loaf your favorite sliced bread, from rye to sourdough to whole wheat, and use an ordinary drinking glass to create discs of bread! Just invert the glass, press it through the slice of bread against a cutting board, and you’re done! Custom buns made in mere seconds!


Choose Your Cheese…

Use too much cheese and your slider will taste like a patty melt or even like a grilled cheese sandwich that happens to have some beef in there! Many people prefer mozzarella or Swiss cheeses for their sliders, as these varieties tend to have mild flavors that don’t assert themselves past the beef. Whatever cheese you choose, when it comes sliders less is more. Try topping your patties with shredded cheese rather than sliced cheese, or try mixing shredded cheese into the ground beef before you form the patties. You can also leave cheese off the burgers, serving it in “nacho” form as a dipping option or simple eschewing it completely.

Sauces Are For Dipping…

Never slather a slider in ketchup, mustard, mayo, or any other sauce! Their bite-sized buns will quickly grow soggy and their pint-sized patties can become overwhelmed with saucy flavor. If you want to serve the best sliders possible, also serve them with plenty of dipping options. That way your guests can customize each and every bite, trying new tasty combinations and also enjoying the simple goodness of cheese, bread, and burger. Sure, you can infuse your meat with Worcestershire, soy sauce, and more, but you don’t have to! Sometimes simplest is not only best, but tastiest, too.

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