Mini burgers add bite-sized fun to game parties

Lawrence Pierce
Set up a slider bar for Super Bowl parties so guests may top their own burgers or barbecue. From bottom center, pulled pork topped with spicy slaw, cheeseburger, pulled pork barbecue, All-American burger and bacon, cheddar and barbecue burger.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I love sliders. You get the taste of a full burger or sandwich without the high calorie and fat count of their big-brother sized ones. Unless you eat two, or five ...The perhaps unappealing term "slider," according to food lore, originally referred to either White Castle's mini burgers that slid down your throat or burgers served by the Navy, so greasy that they slid back and forth on the grill as the boat rocked.Sliders have upgraded in the past few years from tiny grilled burgers topped with diced onions to the general category of mini burgers or sandwiches, often finished with innovative and gourmet toppings.The three-bite wonders make great party fare. Set up a slider bar Sunday for the Super Bowl, and have guests build their own mini burgers or place a platter of assembled pulled pork or meatball sliders for easy pick up.If you assemble the sliders before serving, place them back in the plastic bag the buns came in while they're still hot. The buns will steam nicely.Set out sliders before kick off to be sure you don't miss any of the much-anticipated commercials, I mean football game. In honor of the two teams playing, try New York Giant Meatball Sliders or New England Patriot Sliders that feature regional classics like Vermont Cheddar cheese, maple syrup and McIntosh apples and applewood-cured bacon.The preparations can be easy or complicated, depending on the filling selection. If you make a batch of pulled pork barbeque a day or two ahead, set it out with slaw for easy pulled pork sliders. Add barbeque sauce to the recipe below if you're not a pulled pork purist.Beyond the standard fixings of catsup, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion, burger builders might like to top them with jalapenos, bacon, blue cheese, barbecue sauce, salsa, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms or guacamole.A few suggested flavor combinations:French bistro: ground beef, brie, Dijon and red onionMexican slider: ground beef or grilled chicken, salsa, avocado slice and jalapenoGreek: chicken or turkey patty, tzatziki sauce, crumbled feta, sliced kalamata olives and tomatoesGerman: bratwurst, sauerkraut, grainy mustard and Swiss cheeseCuban: pulled pork, ham, pickles and Dijon mustard
Any way you top them, sliders provide bite-sized fun on a bun.Reach Julie Robinson at julier@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.New York Giant Italian Meatball Slider8                 ounces sweet turkey Italian sausage1                 teaspoon dried oregano1                 teaspoon dried basil
1/2              teaspoon salt1/2              teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed1/8              teaspoon garlic powder1                 pound ground sirloinCooking spray2                 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced6                 2-ounce Italian bread rolls, split3/4              cup fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce12               mini burger buns or 4 hoagie bunsPREPARE grill.REMOVE casings from sausage. Combine sausage, oregano, basil, salt, fennel seeds, garlic powder and ground sirloin. Divide beef mixture into equal portions, shaping each into a 2 1/2-inch wide, 1/2-inch- thick patty.PLACE patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes. Turn patties over; grill 2 minutes. Divide fresh mozzarella cheese evenly over patties, and grill an additional 5 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165 degrees F.REMOVE from grill; let stand 5 minutes.PLACE rolls or buns, cut sides down, on grill rack. Grill 1 minute or until toasted. For hoagie buns, cut buns into three sections. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun or roll section.TOP with pasta sauce.Source: cookinglight.comNew England Patriots Slider 1                pound 80-85% lean ground beef1/4             cup pure New England maple syrup, plus more for basting4                thick slices applewood smoked bacon1                McIntosh apple1                tablespoon lemon juice4                slices Vermont cheddar cheeseSalt and pepper to taste12              mini bunsPREPARE grillCOMBINE the beef, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Mix well using your hands. Form into 2 8-ounce patties. Set aside in the refrigerator.COOK the bacon. Peel and slice the apple. Place in small bowl and sprinkle lemon juice over the slices to prevent browning.PLACE apple slices on grill and cook for about one minute on each side. Remove and set aside. Grill the burgers over high heat, turn after 3 or 4 minutes and move to a cooler part of the grill. Drizzle some maple syrup over the burgers as they cook.TOAST buns as the burgers cook.PLACE slices of bacon and apple slices on top of cooked burgers.PLACE a slice of cheese on top of each burger, cover the grill and let melt for about a minute.PLACE burgers on the buns.Based on a recipe in food52.comBuffalo Chicken Sliders2               cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/4            cup sour cream1/4            hot sauceCelery sticksCrumbled blue cheese12              mini burger bunsWARM shredded chicken.MIX in sour cream and hot sauce.SERVE on mini buns and blue cheese.SPRINKLE blue cheese on top of warm chicken mixture.SERVE on celery sticks.Pulled Pork SlidersPork Roast   about 5 pounds1                 tablespoon salt1                 teaspoon black pepper1 1/2           cups cider vinegar2                 tablespoons brown sugar1                 tablespoon hot sauce1                 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes12               mini bunsPLACE roast in slow cooker and sprinkle salt and pepper over. Pour cider vinegar over. Cover with lid and cook on low for 12 hours. Remove pork roast and shred with forks. Drain juices from slow cooker, reserving two cups of liquid.RETURN pork to slow cooker. To the reserved liquid, add brown sugar, hot sauce and crushed pepper flakes. Stir well. Pour over shredded pork and place lid back on. Place on low or warm setting until ready to serve.SERVE with barbeque sauce and Spicy Tangy SlawSource: southernplate.comSpicy Tangy Slaw1/3                 cup olive oil1/4                 cup cider vinegar1/2                 teaspoon salt1/2                 teaspoon black pepper1/2                 teaspoon red pepper flakes1/2                 teaspoon sugar1                    16-ounce package of shredded cole slaw mix1/2                 red bell pepper, sliced thin1/2                 medium onion, sliced thin1                    jalapeno, halved and sliced thinMIX together olive oil, cider vinegar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and sugar in a large bowl. Add slaw mix, red pepper, onion and jalapeno. Toss to coat. Let rest 5 minutes and toss again.REFRIGERATE for at least 4 hours and preferably overnightSource: steamykitchen.comSouthwest Turkey Sliders2                 pounds ground turkey, 85/15 blend1/2              cup minced red onion1/4              cup minced green onion, (about 1 scallion)1 or 2          serrano peppers, minced, to taste2                 egg whites1 1/2           tablespoons southwestern spice mix, such as Emeril's Southwestern Essence1                 teaspoon ground cumin1                 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce1                 cup grated Cheddar12               mini burger buns12                small lettuce leaves12                slices tomato1                 cup thinly sliced red onions1                 avocado, thinly slicedMayonnaise, mustard and ketchup, optionalHEAT the grill to medium-high heat.COMBINE ground turkey with minced red onion, green onion, peppers, egg whites, spice mix, cumin and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl. Divide the turkey into 12 equal portions and shape into 12 small burgers about 3 1/2-inches wide.PLACE the burgers on the grill and cook until turkey is done and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees F, about 3 minutes per side.SERVE the burgers with cheese on the mini buns with lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced red onions and avocado, garnished with mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup to your likingSource: Emeril Lagasse
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