The Slider Phenomenon
Can someone explain this to me? You want a burger, but can't possibly eat 6-8oz of meat, a huge bun and then all the fries. So you get three little burgers that are between 6-8oz total and three little buns which is probably more bread than a regular bun. Why? Plus, it's almost impossible to find a place that will cook them medium rare. And to top it off most places charge a buck more for the sliders. I will never get this, unless they are being shared!
They are a perfect bite of hamburger. The regular burger and bun have different taste and consistancy as you work your way from the center towards the middle. In a slider you get exact portions of bread ends, bacon and cheese in each bite.
I might have agreed with you until I went to a couple of places with truly great cupcakes. It's easier to eat a cupcake than a slice of cake (no plate or fork needed), and I do believe its structural integrity can lead to better taste. If it's very well made, the inside is so moist and buttery that a slice of similar cake might fall apart.
I think you just haven't had a great one.
I am just as excited about a cupcake as I am sliced cake. However, in defense of cupcakes, I like that I can go to a bakery and get several different kinds of cupcakes for about the same price/amount of one slice of cake. And I can eat them with my hands. So I get to try more flavors in one sitting.
This to me would also be the potential appeal of sliders/mini burgers. Sometimes restaurants will serve 3, each with different toppings/meats. Then you get to try more than one burger without having to order several burgers. If they're all the same then I'm not interested.
Yes--I've yet to have a great slider because they're too small to cook properly. Too much bun to meat ratio, too.
And on top of that , now you are supposed to serve them at parties as the great cocktail snack.
I just saw a big spread in a local magazine touting the latest holiday 'fun' idea for a party appetizer. Brie and Angus Beef Sliders, on a Parmesan Mini-Bun with Balsamic and Onion Jam. The accompanying recipe had 22 ingredients!!! What could you possibly serve for dinner after that performance?
Pass me the celery stick with cream cheese, please...
re: c oliver
I'll have to agree with Jfood on that one...but what I don't understand is now people want to say that everything besides a burger that's served on a small bun is also a slider...pulled pork slider, fish slider, turkey slider...the term is applied to a burger people, not just any sandwich! I had to get that off my chest; thank you and goodnight!
re: c oliver
White Caste serves sliders/slyders. the rest are mini burgers.
Now let's take the ridiculous to the stupid.....
- take any protien, form a mini patty and cook it. place on a bun and call it a tuna slider, a turkey slider, a thai slider, etc.
They are NOT, repeat NOT, sliders.
Soap box over.
Oh yeah, do not get me started on Thai Pizza or toffu-dogs.
A good slider is ambrosia
of bunned-beef euphoria.
Distinct from "Big Burgers"
in several ways.
(I'm referring to original White Castles here),
First, there's the squeeze of soft bun steamed in chorus
to the soft-meated pattie upon which we'll soon feed.
We fondle that mound of white wheat, and beef,
Ground to consistency that needs not our teeth.
We mind not that they're glazed
with a soft-frosted haze
of what can be only called grease.
There are those obese folks, called "Sackers"
who assault the White Castle
with a mind to slam down with alacrity
a full steaming dozen from full-crammed greasy sack.
(All power to them, as they park and they snarf
not sure that a dozen are just quite enough.
Why waste the gas, transporting their ass,
when they'll just wheel around to the drive-thru again?)
I, myself, not a "Sacker", am more of a quizzative "Fondler"
approaching each slider as a prized piece of art.
appraising the merit, sniffing, reviewing,
this wonderful fingerful that will soon meet my gullet.
It's not just the soft and the see'ductive texture,
but also the aroma, of rehydrated dried onions,
soft-steamed by the gifted quick-wristed grillmaster.
I hold it up high, to get the best light,
on greased haze that glistens before me.
Then, slowly, one at a time,
I blissfully dine
of this supple soft suckle before me.
All lovers of softness of white bread, beef, and onions
should trudge to the castle and join in the chorus
of praise, as did Harold and Kumar.
I'm remiss here, have forgotten, to add the delight
of tantalizing tickle that comes
from that one slice of dill pickle
they place in the middle
and the smear of the mustard quite light.
As an Okie, I've got absolutely
no knows of what beauties might flow from White Rose.
For now, it's White Castle
as the source of the Slider.
But thanks for the offer
of what White Rose might proffer.
For now, I'm content
to savor the glint
and the glistens, tastes, smells, of what nose knows.
Thanks for the link.
It helps me re-think.
But upon cogitation,
I'd say that the bun, though lovingly prepared,
is better to "Big Burger" than diminutive slider.
The secret of a slider from WC
is their absolute lack of all texture.
They are formed to give glide
in smooth toothless slide.
(Is that maybe etymology of "Sliders"?)
Buns of WC
are browned, but are crustless
So, in concert with patties just steamed but un-browned
They go down the gullet in one single motion.
My assessment's not fair, since not tried WR
but for now I'll stick with the standard WC.
But "White Rose" has a wonderful marketing name.
Petals, inviting, versus WC's parapets,
We'll storm at the Castle,
but not trample the Rose.
Now it's off to the freezer for some good home-dried onions
and the clatter of bringing the skillet to fore.
SO has already made way to the store
for fresh beef, and a pack of potato buns,
One always gives joy of a slider night.
No White Castle around here. I'd never heard of sliders until they started showing up on happy hour menus, along with small tacos, bahn mi, fried oysters and other snacks. I can't recall seeing "hamburger" type sliders, they're usually pork or brisket or, yes, some kind of seafood. As with the tacos, they often come three to an order and are meant for sharing. Tasty enough. What's the big deal?
re: c oliver
For what it's worth, frozen is just not the same; don't get me wrong, I've had to resort to frozen as I now live in NC and there are no White Castle restos here so when a craving hits, I have no choice BUT as someone who grew up on them in Queens (Hollis Ave & Ozone Park locations) they are but a mere tease....excuse me while I wipe the corner of my mouth (lol)
No, it's not the same. But when the urge comes upon you, try my technique. Remove from wrapper and wrap two in paper towel. MW 30 seconds, unwrap, separate and rotate sliders 180 degrees and turn over, rewrap and MW another 30 seconds. Add yellow mustard and MW 10 more seconds. It ain't love but it ain't bad :)
re: c oliver
It took a while for this thread to rightfully get to the point (strange detour, all about cupcakes????)- SLIDERS = WHITE CASTLE. The original post said, "I will never get this," and they never will if they did not grow up on White Castles. Little hamburgers are not the Phenomenon. The White Castle culture, the nostalgia of trips to your favorite WC place. The onions, the grease. In some city locations, its OK if some shady characters are hanging around the edges of the parking lot because a cop will be in any minute for a cup of coffee. The ladies with hair nets, with thier various city accents.
So I am jumping in here to reply to c oliver to say I have eaten about 3- 4 frozen White Castle sliders in my life. I consider myself a White Castle fanatic, but like Cherylptw in North Carolina with no White Castle nearby, I am a refuge from the New York suburbs now in Florida, No matter how many times I could wrap or unwrap a slider in the microwave, it's just is not the same. Not tempted to go there. But on trips to Ohio, New York, and Detroit, I will go miles and miles out of my way to find real White Castles. I got bit by a dog a few years ago in Detroit, and had great medical care in one of their hospitals. My wife's relatives all came by, and they got the word to bring a few WCs ! When I fly into LaGuardia Airport in Queens, NY, I rent a car and get out my map of the White Castle locations nearest to the airport. And a few days later, on the way back to the rental car return, I pick up some sliders for the car rental staff. They never turn 'em down!
Frozen WCs? Fuggetaboutit!
re: Florida Hound
I can't say I grew up on any fast food, because my parents treated anything like that as a treat, If anything, I'd say I grew up on Burger King, but I've had quite a few late night runs to White Castle and even more stops to the local 7-11 to get a frozen sack of them. While I agree the frozen doesn't compare to the fresh, it's still pretty close. Yes they are not a phenomenon, but restaurants that serve burgers selling them is. That was my point.
For me anyway, a slider is in fact different from a regular burger.
It's not just the size. A proper slider, aside from being smaller than a burger, is made with a thin beef patty, seared first on a griddle with onions, and finished by covering it and steaming the beef and onions together to create one unique flavor profile. Cheese optional and pickles optional.
It's like that age old question, "what's the difference between a dumpling (jaozi) and a xiao long bao?" The trite answer might be something like, "I know it when I see it".
Adding to ipsedixit's rendition of soft burgers that require no dentition:
Their little beef patties
are punctured symmetrically
with five equally spaced holes.
These vents well facilitate
the transfer of steam bubbling
to the expertly top-placed bun.
And one other difference
is the strength of the grind,
pulverizing the beef
to a texture quite fine.
(Copycat recipes use the food processor
to get to that texture,
and add chicken liver
to boost up the flavor.
The meat is rolled and pressed in a sheet, cut to squares,
then holes punched with a drinking straw pilfered from McD's).
As to buns:
they're so soft, and well yeasted
in their softly browned loft
there must be some smashed tater's in there.
These softly steamed treasures
of meat and of buns
are a giftt Callipygean.
Just my two cents, but I think it's more because they're cute and fun to eat than anything to do with the taste. There used to be a restaurant in Seattle that was famous for it's sliders which were made with ground hanger steak and were amazing. Though the meat patties were fairly thick, so purists would probably argue that they were mini-burgers rather than sliders.
I did notice some mini hamburger buns at the grocery store the other day. I think they were made by Sara Lee. In the past I think the closest option was to use dinner rolls if you wanted to make sliders at home.
Because people like them. They can be good.
It's interesting that some people consider sliders to be a "fad" (we have places near me serving them for over 50 years), and others don't seem to understand that there's a specific cooking method associated with a properly made slider.
With respect to those "sliders" that are all over restaurant menus, well that's another story entirely.
On Michael Symon's Food Feuds a battle between two slider joints open since the mid 40's; White Manna in Hackensack NJ and White Mana in Jersey City. White Manna in Hackensack was the winner....they use a 1.6 oz 10% fat meat, sliced onions and a potatoe bun. The White Mana Jersey City uses a 1 oz 20% fat meat, chopped onions and a white bread bun.
White Manna Hackensack has also been featured on No Reservations, Best Thing I Ever Ate and Diners Drive Ins and Dives.
There is a place that sells a 1oz slider? Isn't that a meatball that's been flattened?
Um, yes? Typical slider uses anywhere between 1 to 1.5 oz of meat. Anything bigger and it's not really a slider anymore. The White Castle Slyders are generally 1.2 or 1.3 ounces, and that includes (what everyone suspects is) babyfood of some sort.
White Manna puts any other sliders I've had (e.g., WC, Krystal's, Little Tavern) to shame. The cooking process is similar to WC's but they are served with a profusion of caramelized onions. I've only been to the Hackensack location, which is surely the most beautiful place I've ever eaten sliders (some Little Tavern locations in DC came close).
re: Dave Feldman
Agreed about White Manna.
I fear, though, that due to this episode of Food Wars they will be even more packed than usual. My secret during peak hours is to phone in ahead and get the order 'to go' (which usually visibly confounds the people lined up outside the door to see somebody squeeze past them, get their stuff, and be on their way in 60 seconds). If you want to soak in the 'experience' and sit at the counter then it is best to try and find a time when the crowd is thin.
I don't find that three sliders have more meat than a regular burger. Might be slightly more bread, but I doubt three sliders is even 5 oz of meat. I like them because they are not too big for me. I can eat two and not feel disgusting. They are usually prepared differently than a regular burger, and they are always served cooked thru - no option for medium rare on a slider. I think if you want a burger, you should get one. I hope sliders are here to stay.
Does this mean that the Slider, with aroma of onions and bunned-beef so sweet,
becomes nothing more than a Surrogate Teat?
I've no way knowing, how far in the past,
I gave my first chew to that succulent repast.
Heck, now I don't know which was the best:
was it Tittie, or Slider, or just being held to the Chest?
Whichever, I'm glad to have indulged in them all.
The phenomenon is that White Castle is popular, serves a unique burger, and has thusly been imitated, but only the size has been replicated.
The White Castle burger is unique. It doesn't taste like any other burger, insofar as it's flavors derive from the sugars in the onions and bun.
It is also small, and has not changed its shape to accord with the disgusting tastes of American consumers. People used to order two sliders and call it a day.
Now, Americans are enthralled with the burger for no apparent reason, and the slider gets more attention. As it happens, sliders are cheap to imitate, because they are small. Enter, crab "sliders". Half the crab, twice the price.
As far as burgers go, the whole thing works (sorta) to the degree that the onion powers the flavor. It's a way to make bad ingredients taste good. It makes no sense for a restaurant with a chef that makes a good burger to offer sliders. What you will get is burnt nonsense, with a 600% markup.
People order them because they look cute on a plate, giving the appearance of presentation. So avoid them and don't indulge the phenomenon.
Is it possible White Castle is still popular because of the so-called slider pheonomenon and the movie?
Quick Google....White Castle began in 1921, privately owned and has 422 outlets.
This is going back in the time.
I grew up on Long Island and there were a few White Castles which I didn't think they were any big deal then. In 1959 the first Wetson's opened and it was a big deal and their claim to fame was the 15 cent hamburger. Maybe the first real competition for White Castle (their hamburgers were 10 cents each). 1959 McDonald's opened their 100th store in Chicago also featuring a 15 cent hamburger. Not sure when they came to Long Island.
Yup cute, but sure as hell, ain't no slider. Here's another example at County Line BBQ, in Austin. Cute and delicious, but not a slyder. What happened to the prefix "mini"? On the other hand, it was ten o'clock in the morning and it would have been indecent not to have had something to eat w/ our Live Oak Ales.
There's a psychological aspect to being served "bites" instead of large portions, and a financial incentive and well-studied marketing trends speak to this all the time. You tend to eat and order more if you perceive the food as not "one huge piece or plateful."
Also, people love cute food; things that appear very manageable.
All that aside, I love White Castle and went there almost everyday when I lived near one. Not that they tasted so great- I just loved the size and the onion flavor and the steaminess of them and the fact that I could down a bagful and be just fine! (That wouldn't happen today.) And the Kobe sliders at Morton's Happy Hour are good, but they're not burgers; they're chunks of filet sandwiched in small brioches.
"Just fine" denoted my ability to top off that fine repast with a half-box of Cap'n Crunch while studying and not gain weight. Back in the day, you know? Those two combined with a lot of black coffee, tuna and cottage cheese were my mainstay diet for years. It's a wonder I've got teeth.
I had no knowledge of White Castle or of either "sliders" or "mini-burgers" until they began to make an appearance in Montréal a few years ago. That said, I like little burgers, and have more than one option for decent small buns. They are far easier to hold and eat without making a mess. I usually make them with ground bison, and a slice of a smallish tomato (out of tomato season, something like the so-called "Campari" tomato). No bacon or cheese. People like them - indeed, they are about the same mass as a meatball, but typically meatballs aren't pure meat - they are bound with egg and some kind of starch as well as other possible ingredients.
I'm actually not at all interested in the rather junk-food original and prefer what I serve. Nothing steamed.
Ah, lagatta, of course, of course you have screamed
ecstasy with small buns, no matter if steamed.
Please accept: there are purists among us of minds most traditional
thinking back on those White Castle days
When wispy steamed patties were served up with onions
and mustard and a slice of dill pickle.
It ain't that We're Right,
but we just might give fight
from today's rampant flight
from that 1930's model that cost just a nickel.
The concept of "slider" has been morphed to new mystery
from those lunch counter days of Depression-era history.
Today, seems that that term can encompass most anything
as long as it's bread, beef, and something that's small.
In today's weird array, the buns are so fat
and burgers like meatballs, ensuring that:
the source of name "slider" is no longer intact
from its early original source.
Imagine, to travel back about 80 years
to see workingmen lunchmen
reduced to sweet tears
jostling their elbows at crowded lunch counters
They'd spent funds that were dear, of nickel, dime. quarter
for a freshly steamed plateful of burgers they'd ordered
Just to savor as down gullet did burger give glide.
The original, pro-generative, onion-steamed slider,
is a place that has basis, an excellent guide.
I'll posit that sliders of yesterday's yore
now firmly ensconced in we old farts' folklore
should serve as a basis
for them seek to replace it.
Now I shall retreat to my beckoning sauna
'cause my crusted old buns need relief from this trauma,
with a seat of soft onions
to relieve my butt bunions,
and, as always, accompanied by steam.
K let's bring this thread back to life.. I had White Castle about two hours ago (so I will need to leave the computer soon) They are not what they used to be and cost $7.12 for a four burger pack. Not worth 7 bucks. However they do still have that certain appeal I don't know what they put in them but they taste good going down..
IMO I feel the best sliders/Mini Burgers I have ever had are at White Manna in Hackensack, NJ.
I tried the JC location not so good. I also had White Rose (a little greasy) and the now defunct White Diamond in Linden, NJ. If you have not been to White Manna, Try it you will like it..
Jfood had a leisurely ride to Laguardia last week and stopped for a 6-pack in the Bronx. The were about $4.50 but i did not have fries or soda (that is 10X of my childhood price).
As a lifelong WC lover i will say that the memories were better than the burgers. The meat was real beef but lacked any seasoning and was somewhat bland. I still liked the onions ketchup and roll with the meat but it may be I have outgrown these as well.
I only find them about once a year (closest to my house is >20 miles) and that time frame may get longer. I will still defend the use of the word slider should only relate to these steamed little gems though.