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Sliders (mini burgers)

By • 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.

Original White Castle Logo

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.

White Castle Slyders

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.

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29 Responses to “Sliders (mini burgers)”

  1. 1
    Nel Says:

    Very helpful folks! Thanks for the info!

  2. 2
    Dave Says:

    Love those White Castle burgers! Anyone remember Royal Castle Hamburgers?

  3. 3
    Cindy Says:

    Why are they called “sliders”? Does the word mean something?

  4. 4
    Pam Says:

    Make some good slider recipes. My little girl loves sliders but she won’t touch a regular “hamburger”. lol. I like them all gooey with cheese and pickles but I would also like to see some that are a little different than the normal.

  5. 5
    Gail Fraioli Says:

    Yes, why are they called sliders-or slyders.

    Gail from the NW

  6. 6
    Patty Says:

    For those who want to know why they are called sliders (or slyders), I think it’s because they have a reputation for leaving one’s body in a hurry. While I myself have never experienced this, I have heard others claim they have. Actually, I think this may be related to the fact that they were most likely drunk when over indulging in the burgers, and the “end” result had more to do with those two factors than in the burgers themselves. On the off chance that I was on the wrong track with my belief I asked several people if they knew the reason for the name and everyone gave me the same answer.

  7. 7
    sequoia Says:

    TASTY… i am slowing down.

  8. 8
    dennis Says:

    can i buy these burgers and make them at home?

  9. 9
    Bob Fairlane Says:

    You can make these yourself, by purchasing Kings Hawaiian sweet bread rolls, and grilling the meat similar to that process described here, in a baking pan and with a toaster oven. Cook the patties till done, and put the buns on top of patties for a minute with the coils turned “off” but hot, so they do not burn the buns. You can make your own patties simply enough by hand. A cheap way is to grind the meat and onions in a food processor with some Cheezits and pack into little patties for fast cooking. don’t forget the Pam spray.

  10. 10
    Bob Fairlane Says:

    In the Southeastern US, a chain called Krystals sells these type of hamburgers. They are low quality ingredients and usually have substandard service, but the burgers are tasty and suffice for truckstop fare.

  11. 11
    superyankees Says:

    Sliders is also known as the effect about an hour after eating a whitecastle burger ;) SLides in one way and then slides out the other.

  12. 12
    Cary Says:

    The term sliders is an old Navy cook’s slang term. It meant a burger that was so greasy it literally slid off the plate. Doesn’t sound so appetizing now, does it?

  13. 13
    gma Says:

    Even though the small burgers from White Tower carries the name “Slyder”, I am disappointed that the name does not have a BASEBALL connection like so many other terms and slang used in everyday language. That would make them more of a true American Pass-time Favorite.

  14. 14
    know-it-all Says:

    sliders are greasy.
    they slide right out of you.

    white castle has had this nickname since the 70s.
    much like mcdonalds has been called mickey d’s.
    mcdonalds finally realized they need to grab a hold of the “black slang” and embrace it.
    at first they were reluctant.

    white castle has done the same with “slyders”. embrace it and it will take out the negative connotations.
    gay people used the pink triangle to negate the effects of what the nazi’s used it for during WWII.

    the fact that companies like t.g.i.f and the like use sliders to describe mini-burgers is
    hilll-air-eee-ous. it only works with white-castle.

    and to gma, the term is pastime not pass-time.

    Pronunciation:
    \?pas-?t?m\
    Function:
    noun
    Date:
    15th century

    : something that amuses and serves to make time pass agreeably : diversion

  15. 15
    neilwhyte.com » African Amber Says:

    [...] balanced taste – not too fizzy, which made a nice change!  Alongside this I was introduced to sliders – think mini burgers, usually served in portions of three.  It’s fairly usual in a bar or [...]

  16. 16
    Shreddette Says:

    I’ve always found the term sliders a rather disgusting term for a mini burger. Slide right down your throat… etc. We don’t need to think about body functions when eating, kthnx.

  17. 17
    jake Says:

    i think it is kind of good when i tried to cook them i accidently burnt them so i cooked them today again and they were the best i had ever heard!!!!!!!!!!!how did u like them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????

  18. 18
    Chicken Sliders « Well-fed Everyone Says:

    [...] will argue that my miniature chicken burgers are not really sliders (technically thin rounds of beef steamed between a pile of onions and a squishy, white bun), but [...]

  19. 19
    ceirra Says:

    dam you people

    from the mayor andmy dog o and those nasty ass so called burgers im going to shit on your place

  20. 20
    Alex Says:

    Sliders are not mini burgers. They are totally different. Slider specifically use a steam method to cook the meat and mini burgers is just a tiny version of the standard burger.

  21. 21
    Twin disappointment | The Waffle Says:

    [...]launched the Twin Burgers in Canada in October as its response to the the popular culinary phenomenon sweeping restaurants across North America: the slider. [...]

    http://thewaffle.blog.com/2009/12/30/twin-disappointment/

  22. 22
    Cath Says:

    I am an Aussie who loves my burgers, and Slyders are great! My Australian take on them I add ground bacon, steamed, (in lemon juice) ground mushrooms, sauteed onion & garlic, fresh oregano & a little bit of parsley to the raw ground beef (in a proccessor) 1/2 a teaspoon of sweet paprika, murray river pink sea salt (Aussie product..& awsome for adding subtle flavour!) & ground pink & white peppercorns..make into thin, disk shaped small patties & cook over onions sauteed & then softened with a little strong natural beef stock. Put into a small SOFT hamburger bun with a squeeze of ketchup & a slice of cheese. (pickles optional) DELICIOUS! Try it..you will not be disappointed!

  23. 23
    Carol Says:

    The information is fine but there is no mention as to why small hamburgers are called ‘”SLIDERS” What does “sliders” mean with regard to the little hamburgers?. Thanks.

  24. 24
    Weakness for wings « munchkie’s munchies Says:

    [...] chicken wings have never really climbed the ranks up the menu to reach haute cuisine status like sliders (served at both the New York Four Seasons Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago, albeit they use [...]

    from munchkie.wordpress.com

  25. 25
    bridgman Says:

    I thought the name came from Navy tradition, where the motion of the ship led to some new names for food items, eg sliders (hamburgers) and rollers (hot dogs / sausages).

  26. 26
    Rich Says:

    Please fix yourself: “burger bun is also placed onto of the cooking patty.”

    Also, I know people speak this way but, “should always try and replicate…” should be try to replicate…”

  27. 27
    admin Says:

    @Rich – updated, kind sir.

  28. 28
    Jack Says:

    In 1921 with $700 of borrowed money, the first White Castle opens in Wichita, Kansas, offering hamburgers at the unbelievable price of $.05 a piece.

    I was eating sliders in the 60′s at 127th & Western, Blue Island, IL

  29. 29
    Delia Soto Says:

    Hello Fellow Slider Fans!

    I love Sliders and originally from Chicago where White Castle is everywhere!
    I now live in Florida and found them in the frozen section but they don’t taste quite the same as fresh ones from White Castle! Great beef patty with onions grilled right on! Soft bun and pickle with melted cheese!
    I take apart the frozen ones, heat only the patty, onions, cheese…toast the bun, then reassemble, lol.
    I also tried making my own sliders, but they don’t have the signature holes for steaming…I’ll find a way!

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