The Slider sandwich has been with us for some 30-plus years. It originated at a chain called White Castle and featured small, onion-grilled hamburger patties on a dinner roll. Today Sliders are a staple at bars, sports lounges and backyard parties. Like most things American, Sliders have evolved into their own “food group” with literally dozens of recipes and variations. One benefit of Sliders is that they can stretch a supply of burger to feed more folks than just straight hamburger. With a little care, you can get about six 2-plus-ounce patties from a pound of burger, and a couple of sliders, along with other hors-d’oeuvres can satisfy most any guest’s appetite.
I took a couple of pronghorn does about a week ago, and after processing some of the meat into burger I thought about making a tangy or zesty, change-of-pace Slider. You don’t have to use pronghorn; any game meat will do.
A word about pronghorn: Some people find the meat too strong for their palates. I’ve been eating pronghorn for nearly 40 years and have no problem with it. The sage-like flavor of pronghorn is a welcome change from other everyday meats. Part of the reason pronghorn can be strong is in the way the meat is handled. Often pronghorn are hunted when the weather is still pretty warm. Combine that with a coat of hollow hair designed to contain body heat and perhaps a not-so-zealous approach to meat care, and you will certainly have some rather “gamey” meat. Remember: Gamey meat is decomposing meat. Get it cool, keep it clean, and you’ll have fine table fare.
Okay, with all that history and caveats done, let’s make some Sliders that your friends and family will enjoy. You’ll need to start with the burger; figure five to six patties per pound. And here is the secret to adding a little pop to your Sliders. Hi Mountain Seasonings makes a variety of burger seasonings to satisfy virtually any desire. My penchant for spicy Mexican food led me to Hi Mountain’s Fiesta Salsa seasoning. Figure about 2 tablespoons of seasonings per pound—you can adjust that ratio depending on your taste. Mix the seasonings thoroughly into the burger and let stand for 15 minutes or so to give the meat the opportunity to absorb the seasoning.
Now to get the most patties per pound I use two pieces of waxed paper. I put the seasoned burger on one sheet; put the other sheet on top and roll the burger out to a pretty uniform 3/8- to 1/2-inch thickness. Then I take a #2 can—about a 12-ounce capacity or about 2 1/2 inches in diameter—that I have salvaged and cleaned and use it as a cookie cutter for patties.
You’ll need a hot grill to cook these. Because of their small size, these patties will cook quickly. I give them about two minutes on one side and a minute-and-a-half on the other. Sliders taste best when they have the least time from grill to roll and then to mouth. For the roll you can get smaller bun-like rolls from some stores and bakeries, but I usually just use a regular dinner roll split with a bread knife. If I feel real ambitious, I’ll make my own rolls from a sourdough starter I’ve had for more than 25 years.
That’s it! Sliders are a quick and easy way to satisfy a lot of hungry folks and stretch your hamburger supply. Making them from your deer, pronghorn or elk adds a bit of romance and adventure to the meal.
Oh, by the way...
My good friends at Hi Mountain Seasonings just down the road a bit in Riverton, Wyoming, have just opened a new FDA-approved small-batch beef jerky-making division at their facility. The ready-to-eat Beef Jerky is available in the company’s four most popular traditional western flavors: Original, Hickory, Mesquite and Pepper.
While jerky making is a time-honored activity for many hunting families, sometimes it is just not convenient to work up a batch, especially if it is on the cusp of a long-awaited hunt. Unlike many other popular jerky brands that use imported meat, Hi Mountain Seasonings Beef Jerky is made with 100-percent USDA beef, raised in the USA. Hi Mountain Beef Jerky is handcrafted in small batches to ensure it meets the company’s high standards—moist, tender and delicious.
Each resealable 3.25 oz. bag contains 10 grams of protein and 76 calories with no carbohydrates or sugars. Each of the four flavors is available for a suggested retail of $7.99.