Recipe: Muffin Tin Smokin' Sliders with 647 Secret Sauce
An innovative burger recipe cooked over the fire
Caramelized Onions & Seasoned Salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil (30 mL)
- 3 large sweet onions, sliced
- 1 tsp salt (6 g)
- 1 tbsp water (15 mL)
- 3/4 cup kosher salt (225 g)
- 2 tbsp sugar (26 g)
- 2 tbsp paprika (14 g)
- 1 tbsp celery salt (6.5 g)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder (9 g)
- 1 tbsp onion powder (6.9 g)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric (2.2 g)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano (0.9 g)
- 1/2 tsp ground thyme (2.15 g)
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (0.3 g)
Burgers & 647 Secret Sauce
- 2 1/2 lb freshly ground chuck, 80% lean (1.14 kg)
- 9 sli deli-style American cheese, quartered
- 1 16-ounce jar dill pickle chips (455-g)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (60 g)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles, drained well (35 g)
- 2 tbsp Dijon or spicy brown mustard (30 mL)
- 2 tbsp ketchup (30 mL)
- 1/2 tsp sugar, or more to taste (2 g)
Buttermilk Slider Rolls
- 6 tbsp butter (3/4 stick, 85 g)
- 1/3 cup sugar (67 g)
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (295 mL)
- 4 cup flour (500 g)
- 1 tbsp kosher salt (18 g)
- 1 pk active dry yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water (2 1/4 teaspoons, 9 g)
Nothing is more all-American than burgers on the grill. Sliders are burgers’ new-century party incarnation. Cooking them over fire in muffin tins is so much easier than flipping them all individually and lining the tins with caramelized onions imparts the vegetables’ sweet, rich flavor to the meat while they cook. Sheer genius, if we do say so ourselves. We like to serve them on our own buttermilk rolls because, really, what is better than homemade bread in any form? (You can buy rolls, but they won’t be as good.) Pass these babies with a few other appetizers and you’ve got yourself a party.
Prepare your smoker or kettle grill and bring temperature to 300°F (150°C).
To caramelize the onions: Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring often, until onions soften and just start to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions collapse completely and turn a rich, jammy brown, about 30 minutes. When onions are nearly done, add the water and stir, scraping the browned bits on the bottom of the pan into the onions. Set aside to cool.
To make the seasoned salt: In a bowl, mix all ingredients together, then grind in a spice grinder.
The sauce, a favorite on the burgers at Andy’s restaurant, Tremont 647, is great to have on hand any time you’re cooking with fire. This recipe can be doubled easily. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together. Cover and chill. Before serving, taste to correct seasoning with sugar and pepper. The sauce will keep, covered tightly and refrigerated, for up to 2 months.
To make the slider rolls, in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the butter and sugar until the butter melts. Add the buttermilk and blend well. In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend flour, salt, buttermilk mixture, and yeast with a large rubber spatula until moistened. Using the dough hook, beat the dough at lowest speed until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and a towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Divide dough evenly among 18 greased muffin cups. Cover loosely with oiled or sprayed plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until tops are puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
To make the burgers: Divide the ground beef into 18 golf ball–sized rounds (about 2 1/2 ounces, or 55 g each). Spread about 1/4 cup (72 g) seasoned salt on a plate and roll the balls lightly in the seasoned salt to coat.
Spread 1 tablespoon (5.5 g) of caramelized onions in the bottom of each muffin cup. Place 1 meatball on top of the onion in each cup and press down with your fingers to form into an even burger.
Put the muffin tins on the grill grate, close the lid, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the muffin tins, overlap 2 quarter-slices of American cheese on each burger, and tent the muffin tins with foil.
If your slider rolls are not fresh from the oven, wrap in foil and place on the smoker for 5 minutes, or microwave for 20 seconds. You want the slider rolls to be soft and squishy inside.
To serve, use tongs to transfer the burgers from the tins to the slider rolls. Then, with the tongs, pick up some of the remaining onions and place on top of the burger. Garnish with a generous schmear of 647 Secret Sauce and pickle chips.
Recipe from Wicked Good Barbecue: Fearless Recipes from Two Damn Yankees Who Have Won the Biggest, Baddest BBQ Competition in the World by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart with Andrea Pyenson ($23.99, Fair Winds Press)
Photos by Ken Goodman