Burgers are a summertime staple and have come a long way from the overly cooked patties on a parched white roll that I remember from childhood. We had no turkey, buffalo or elk options. Or lamb or goat which one of my favorite restaurants, Marin Sun Farms in Pt. Reyes, has on their spring menu.
If my Mom wanted to elevate the meal a bit, it was called Chopped Steak which was presented without the roll. I once asked about how it could be considered anything more than just a bunless burger. Mom said it was chopped sirloin, hence the distinction.
I love a great burger but, particularly at a barbecue when beverages and sides of all varieties abound, they can leave you beyond full. So at some point, we started making sliders. Depending on what other menu items are competing for space on your plate or cold beverages for quenching your thirst, you can have one or four.
These I consider to be one of my husband’s specialties. I think the secret is in the minimal handling when seasoning and how he rolls the meat in a log and cuts it rather than dividing it and pressing it into patties. Sliders can certainly be puck-like, but these are as juicy as their larger counterpart.
Start by unwrapping the burger meat and placing it on a piece of waxed paper.
Punch it with your fingers to form large holes. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of water and then 2 tablespoons of Worcester sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper. (At this point, if you’d prefer to stick with the standard burger size, pull pieces off in the appropriate size and gently roll in a ball and then press.)
Form the waxed paper around the meat and gently begin to roll it into a log shape, pressing in on the sides as you go, until it is about 2 to 2 1/2 inches high.
Once the log is a uniform shape, use a serrated knife to cut through the waxed paper in equal increments.
Pull the paper away and separate the pieces, pressing gently on the sides to form your patty.
For the buns, I cut up a loaf of Ciabatta bread. If your pieces are too thick and threaten to overtake the smallish burger, you can remove a chunk in the middle. Either toast on the grill during the last-minute or two of cooking or use a toaster oven which is a more surefire way to avoid potential burning over a flame.
Add your condiments
Great served with a side of green salad
Yield: 6-8 sliders per pound of beef
- 1 pound ground beef (about an 80% to 20% lean to fat ratio)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, generously to taste
- White cheddar cheese, sliced
- 1 loaf of Ciabatta bread or French baguette (or Trader Joe’s carries small slider buns)
- Lettuce and Tomatoes
- Ketchup and Mayo
- Preheat your charcoal or gas grill.
- When it is medium-hot (approximately 350°), brush the grill grate with oil to prevent sticking.
- Follow steps above to make burger patties.
- Place the burgers on the grill, put the top down and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, topping with sliced cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
- Remove to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.