Mini-Burgers and Martin’s BunsBy Todd • Feb 26th, 2011 • Category: Burger Blog
I’ve never bought in to the whole mini-burger craze. Super-small versions of real cheeseburgers just seem like a waste to me, and I’m really annoyed that everybody and their mom has adopted the term “slider” as a cutesy-pie catch-all way to refer to any shrunken sammie. All slyders are mini-burgers, but not all mini-burgers are slyders.
Technically speaking, a slyder (yes, properly spelled with a “y”) refers only to a small burger (of beef and beef only- if it’s chicken or pulled pork or tuna, it’s NOT a slyder) that is steamed on top of a bed of griddled onions. The buns are usually stacked atop the beef to steam them as well and infuse everything with onion aroma and flavor. And while I enjoy a good slyder (or 8) every now and again, I don’t do a lot of steaming at home. And since my burgers are almost always grilled over live coals, they wouldn’t be slyders anyway. But I was forced to rethink my big burger bias lately when I was handed this at my local grocery store:
Martin’s makes some of the best burger buns out there, and Martin’s potato rolls are considered the gold standard when it comes to store-bought mini-burger buns. Trouble is, you can’t buy them in just any store anywhere. Well, today, to celebrate the introduction of them to supermarkets in my part of the country, they were being handed to me FOR FREE. At that price, I got over my size hang-ups real quick and made plans to grill up a mountain of minis.
Martin’s rolls are made in Pennsylvania Dutch country (on a street called Potato Roll Lane, no less) and are prized by burger connoisseurs for their squishy texture and sweet taste. But their diminutive measurements would obviously require me to do some math before shaping my patties.
Typically when grilling burgs for the fam, I buy 2 pounds of beef and shape them into 5 fat patties, making each burger about .40 pounds- bigger than a third-pounder, smaller than a half-pounder. Here, I started with 2.5 pounds of beef, added some seasonings, and divided the meat 12 ways. These fifth-pound burgers looked about right, size-wise, as I knew they’d shrivel up somewhat on the grill.
I had factored in shrinkage, but not how lightning-fast these baby burgs would cook. Much thinner than my normal patties and with a lot less surface area contacting the cast-iron grate, these were ready to flip in no time. I cheesed them immediately after flipping, knowing in my heart of hearts that they were probably already well done on the inside.
After a few minutes under an aluminum pan, the American cheese had melted nicely. I slid the petite patties between my freshly-sliced freebie-cheebie buns, and suddenly had a super-looking stack of minis.
A little leaf lettuce for color, and some ketchup, mustard, and pickles for those interested, and I was well on the way to being a convert. Maybe small is the new big. Now that I have Martin’s potato rolls as close as my local grocery store, you can bet that I’ll be adding these little lipsmackers to my repertoire. Just don’t call them slyders.