Saturday, December 3, 2016

Little Tavern Sliders Recipe



     There are many places that sell sliders, or little burgers usually steamed on a griddle and sold in multiples.  White Castle, Crystal and even Burger King with their burger shots but in Baltimore you had 2 locations that advertised for you to "Buy them by the sackful," Little Tavern and White Tower.  Both of these chains were only to be found in the Baltimore - Washington area and their flavor was quite different from the Northeast's White Castle chain.  Opened in 1927 in Louisville, Ky, Little Tavern eventually made their way over to Baltimore opening 13 locations.  Their menu was simple, sliders, drinks and a tasty coffee served in a heavy mug.


     Now there are dozens of recipes on the internet for White Castle Burgers but for Little Tavern I found a paltry few and they weren't quite there in terms of size and flavor.  Time to call a family member who used to work at Little Tavern back when they were in college and get the full story behind these burgers.  First, they're not steamed like a White Castle burger but rather seared on a medium heat griddle.  Second is the use of butter to grease the griddle before adding the burgers.

     I tried making the burgers 2 ways, first is to weigh out your ground chuck into 1oz meatballs then throw them on the grill and smash with a flat spatula.  This created a rather crispy char on one side and I wasn't fond of the flavor.  The second time I used 2 small plates to smash the burgers before cooking into thin patties which I kept separated with small pieces of wax paper.  This method cooked the burger without creating a char and the final product was out of this world tasty.

     Four sliders make for a very filling meal, especially when coupled with a side item like fries or chips.  For the buns, use any slider bun that suits your fancy.  I used fresh baked dinner rolls from the Publix Bakery.



Little Tavern Sliders

1/2lb Ground Chuck
1C Dehydrated Onions
1C Warm Water
8 Slider Buns
Challenge Unsalted Butter
Dill Pickle Chips
Season Salt (Morton's)
Ketchup
Mustard
4 Slices American Cheese cut in half to make 8 pieces (optional)

     If you have a kitchen scale, Make meatballs out of the ground chuck weighing about 1oz each.  Take some wax paper and cut into 4" square pieces, you will need 16 total.  If you have a burger press use it for the next step otherwise you need 2 small plates with flat bottoms or a pie pan, etc.  Place a piece of wax paper on bottom, then a meatball, then top with wax paper and smash thin.  Repeat until you have 8 sliders stacking on top of each other.
 They can be frozen this way up to 3 months and thawed before use.  Take the dehydrated onion and put it in a bowl with the warm water.  Stir well and set aside.  Take a heavy bottom frying pan or electric griddle and heat to medium.  Don't get the pan too hot because you don't want the butter to burn.  Place a pat of butter in the pan and spread it around so it coats well then add your burger patties.  Season each patty with season salt then place a heavy measure of the onions on top and press into the burgers with a spatula.  When the patties are cooked on the first side, about 3-4 mins, carefully flip them over so they're on top of the onions.  Place the split side of the buns on top of the burgers to steam them and warm them up. Add a little water to the pan and cover. After 3-4mins  the burgers are done.  Remove the buns and top each burger with a piece of cheese.  On bottom half of buns, place 2 pickle chips then top with burger and on top side of bun add a swirl of mustard and a swirl of ketchup.

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