Saturday, January 31, 2015

Super Bowl Pretzel-Bun Sliders






This is what I will be serving up during tomorrow's Super Bowl. Little juicy burgers made from ground short ribs, served up on heavenly and unbelievably chewy pretzel rolls. I'll have a platter of slider fixings (onions, pickles, condiments, etc)...paired up with Kettle Chips seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.

First, let's talk about the meat. The meat needs to have lots of fat...at least 25% or more. If you try to make a slider out of lean ground beef....you'd be better off grilling up some cardboard instead. So I like  beef short rib meat the best. Great beef flavor and lots of fat. And because I grind it myself in a food processor, I can cook it to medium rare if I like. You can't do that with store-bought ground beef which is made with a cornucopia of body parts from many different animals.


When you grind your own, you are in total control of the hygiene. In fact, the meat that you grind yourself is even edible raw (known as steak tartare...a favorite of mine). Any ground meat you buy from a store must be cooked to 160º according to the food nazis working for Uncle Sam. So just grind it yourself. It's healthier. You'll get a higher fat content. And your slider will taste so much better.


Because you are using such high quality meat, you don't need much in the way of seasonings. Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Toss in a slice of cheese for those that want cheese sliders and you are all set. And while, I suppose, any dinner roll would do...I am making an urgent appeal to those of you who aspire to the finer things in life, such as matching shoes, please use a pretzel bun. As the name implies, they are made with the same dough as soft pretzels and they are to stinking die for. I buy mine at Costco.


Because these sliders are of such high quality and taste, it really doesn't matter how you cook them. You can grill them if you'd like. But they cook up so fast that I prefer to fry them on a griddle. That's the easiest way to get a quick char on both sides. If you don't have a griddle, fry them up in a non-stick pan. This recipe makes 16 sliders.


Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 lbs coarsely ground short ribs, rolled into 2-ounce balls, then formed into 1/2" thick patties
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
16 pretzel buns, sliced


Directions*

  1. Set griddle or stove-top to medium heat (approximately 350º). Add vegetable oil to your griddle or non-stick pan. Spread with a paper towel. 
  2. Increase heat to high until oil is shimmering. Place patties on griddle. Season patties with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook without moving for 1 minute**, then flip patties over. Season again with salt and pepper and put a splash of Worcestershire sauce on each. Top with cheese here if you are making cheese sliders.
  4. Remove patties after 1 minute of cooking on side 2. Transfer patties to buns and serve.

*Note: If you are cooking for a crowd, the cooking is so fast that it is impossible for a cook to do it all. Therefore, I would assign 5 people to the task. The first person cooks the patties. The second person does the salting. The third person does the peppering. The fourth person does the Worcestershire sauce and the fifth person handles the cheese.

**These cooking times are for medium rare sliders. If you want your sliders medium, cook the patties for 1 1/2 minutes per side.




Pairing: An ice cold beer!