Sliders (mini burgers)By burrger • Jan 6th, 2008 • Category: Burger Blog
We take a look at the phenomenon of Sliders – small, soft and irresistible little burgers served by the half dozen. Where did Sliders come from and what makes a Slider so good?
Believe it or not there was a time when America was put off by the idea of eating a quick sandwich filled with a warm ground beef patty. This dark era of mankind before the cheeseburger was when Walter Anderson saw an opportunity to change the American public’s perception of eating ground beef by founding a new pure chain of fast food restaurants.
Low cost beef was seen as unhygienic and dirty due to some very bad publicity created by the release of a book that reveal some horrific practices (workers falling into meat processing tanks and being ground and sold as product) in the meat packing industry.
So Walter Anderson formed White Castle and made sure it’s image was as pure and clean as possible.
He also wanted his burgers to be as low cost as possible so he made them small and came up with his own streamlined and efficient cooking process that is still unique in the business today.
The small 5 cent burger that he came up with is what is now affectionately known as a Slider and has become its very own sub-category of burger. White Castle sells its own original burgers under the trademark Slyders, these will always be known as the first and the best.
So what makes a Slider?
This is our own brief interpretation of what all sliders should have in common, if you have something to add then use the comment form below!
- Most of all it’s the size, current White Castle Slyder patties are only 2.5 inches wide and very thin, the buns are just as small. Because of their size Sliders are often served in pairs, trios or even six at a time.
- Next is the small square and super soft burger buns. These are custom baked just for Slyders so don’t expect the same taste and feel anywhere else. The nearest thing you can get from a grocery store might be Martin’s Potato Rolls but a lot of the flavor and softness comes from the unique White Castle cooking method.
- This next point may only apply to Slyders but any good slider should always try to replicate the original. Slyders are cooked in their own special way which helps distribute flavor throughout the whole burger instead of just the beef patty.
The Unique Slider Cooking Method
White Castle began back in the day by using fresh ground beef but now uses frozen patties so the method has changed to keep up with the times but the principle remains the same.
- The beef patties are cooked over a moist bed of chopped onions. So before throwing the small beef patties onto the griddle, the moist chopped onions are spread over the griddle first.
- The steam rising from the onions is used to cook the whole beef patty through without flipping the patties, this is also aided by 5 small holes in each patty. White Castle calls this process steam-frying.
- The bottom burger bun is also placed on top of the cooking patty so the flavor, moisture and warmth is captured in the bun.
- At White Castle you will find Slyders topped off with a single slice of pickle and option mustard and/or ketchup.
You can check out White Castle’s own explanation here.
The Slider Phenomenon
Sliders have now taken their place in the burger world and have become a sub-category of their own. The mini-burgers have a loyal following all across America and are served up in budget burger joints for $1.25 and as ‘gourmet’ sliders for $10.
You can even buy frozen White Castle Slyders at the grocery store and zap them in your microwave or more dedicated fans might want to try creating your own Sliders at home, our friends have made that easy here.
We will be publishing our own slider recipes here soon so be sure to check back soon.
You might know more about Sliders than we do so we invite you to leave a comment and contribute to this article.