The Slider: Delicious Burger Innovation or Small, Sad Excuse for a Sandwich?

Categories: Chow Bella

beef sliders.jpg
jeffreyw via Flickr

We had so much fun chucking Chow Bella contributors Ando Muneno and Lauren Saria into the ring over Alton Brown, food trucks, movie theaters with food pho and Matt's Big Breakfast that we put them back at it again.

This week's topic: The Slider.

Ando: What are the strengths of the hamburger? Opinions on this matter boil down to two basic camps:

1. Toppings
2. Patty

Adherents to the first camp believe that the toppings make the burger. They want to see some smoked Gouda up there, some arugula, roasted chiles infused with Gordon Ramsay's tears, etc.

The meat within their burgers is an anchor. Adherents to the second camp believe that meat is king. These are brave souls who hand-grind steaks into ground, who select ingredients solely to exalt that meat, framing it in all its glory.

Both paths are roads to the promised land of burger Nirvana. I wish only peace and safe journey to either.

You'll notice there's no "buns are awesome" camp. Therein lies my beef with sliders: They're all bun. They've taken the least important part of the hamburger -- literally just the thing that carries all the good stuff -- and doubled its importance in each individual bite. I wouldn't be excited if someone split a carne asada burger into thirds and wrapped each mini-burrito in an extra layer of tortilla. That would be silly, just like sliders.

Lauren: I'm shocked at your statement. Not because of the content of your argument, but because I have never known you to be a conservative diner, and yet here I stand, wanting to shout at the top of my lungs, "Think inside the bun!"

Sliders aren't about beef and cheese and bun any more than the modern-day burger is. Wake up and take a look around! We live in a world where turkey, ahi tuna, and black bean veggie patties stand side-by-side with beef in perfect burger harmony.

It is against this backdrop of limitless burger possibility that the slider -- the burger's adorable, teenie weenie sibling -- shines.

Check out this recipe chef Paul Lindsay shared with me last year. This trio of sliders goes so far beyond the limits of the traditional bun-beef-cheese recipe that it would almost be unfair to compare. Nobody ever said that sliders had to be shitty mini White Castle-esque burgers (although, I'd argue there's even a time and place for those greasy little suckers).

pulled pork sliders
Lauren Saria
pulled pork sliders

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