Game On!

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'Slide' into college football season

By Greg Summers

A simple food suited for paper plates and disposable utensils has once again become the rage in trendy, high-end restaurants.

Sliders – small, three-bite burgers – have two personalties, said David Gerard Hogan, a professor of American history at Heidelberg College in  Ohio.  

According to Hogan, author of “Selling ’em by the Sack: White Castle and the Creation of American Food,” sliders have become a “bifurcated” food, enjoyed by both the upscale and working class.    

The reason is simple, he said. 

“We like eating like commoners – fish and chips, mac and cheese,” Hogan  said. “You see the mundane becoming elite.”

Sliders are double-entendre in every sense, including the name.

There is even a two-sided argument as to who coined the word.

Some credit the phrase to U.S. Navy sailors, who called them sliders as early as the 1940s, which meant a greasy square burger that slid easily down the throat. A slider “with a lid” was a small cheeseburger.  

Others credit the name to Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson. Known as the Henry Fords of burger makers, Ingram and Anderson founded the White Castle Hamburger chain in the Witchita, Kan., area in the early 1920s. Anderson is also credited with inventing the hamburger bun.

They priced their burgers (sliders) at five cents each.

However, referring to the trademark White Castle mini-burgers as sliders was viewed by the company as a slap in the face for almost 70 years.

The company shied away from the name until 1993 when it trademarked its sandwiches as “slyders” to give them a distinctive name and identity.

What was seen as a derogatory label has become a term of affection. 

The great thing about sliders is the ease of making them, which comes in handy this time of year when the college bowl season is in full swing.

Secondly, sliders qualify as finger food and are in manageable-sized portions.

“What you really want is a dish that appears complex, but that you can put together quite quickly in the kitchen,” said cookbook author Holly Clegg. 

Bowl game tailgating tips 

If you are going to invite friends over to catch a couple of the bowl games in the next few days, here are a few handy party tips:

– If alcohol is part of the menu, have a designated driver to get your friends and guests home safely.

– Remember, all you are doing is moving the party inside from the outside, so have plenty of napkins, or better yet, a roll of paper towels close by. 

– Don’t forget sturdy, disposable drink cups and when it comes to utensils, treat the family room just like it’s the stadium parking lot.

– Make everything disposable, including a throwaway tablecloth.

– When it comes to food, prepare everything ahead of time so it’s ready to roll by the coin toss. 

– Stick to finger foods as much as possible.

– Include cold vegetables such as potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salads, vegetable trays with dip, deviled eggs, cheese platters and fruit trays with dip.

– Make sure to have plenty of chopped-up condiments on hand. Include chopped onions (red and white), chopped pepperonis, relish, mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise.

Here are four tasty slider recipes to try while enjoying the games in the next few days.

Italian Sausage Sliders are sure to be a big hit. 

Alton Brown’s Sliders have become a favorite among Food Channel foodies.

Loaded with flavor, Rattlesnake Sliders have just enough heat to keep things interesting. 

Barbecue fans may want to try this easy-to-make Pulled Chicken Sliders.


Italian Sausage Sliders


2 pounds Johnsonville All Natural Ground Sausage or links, decased 

1 pound ground beef 

16 slider buns or mini sandwich rolls 



– In large bowl, combine sausage and beef. Using your hands, blend meats together and form into one large ball. Use a spoon or a small measuring cup to gather up about a 3-ounce ball and press into patties. 

– In large skillet over medium-high heat, pan fry four or five sliders at a time. Cook for about three minutes, then flip and continue cooking for another three minutes. Test for doneness. Internal temperature should be 160 degrees. 

– Slice buns and top sliders with your favorite condiments. 


– Recipe from Johnsonville 


Alton Brown’s Sliders


1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound ground chuck

8 (3-inch) buns or rolls, split in half

2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise


– Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Preheat a griddle to 350 degrees.

– Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

– Line a jellyroll or sheet pan with parchment paper, and place the ground chuck in the middle of the pan. Cover the meat with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Roll meat with a rolling pin until it covers the surface of the pan; it should be very thin. Remove the plastic wrap, and sprinkle the meat with the seasoning mixture. Fold the meat in half, from side to side, using the parchment paper. Use a pizza wheel to cut the meat into eight even squares.

– Wrap the buns in aluminum foil and place in the oven for five to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the burgers on the griddle and cook for two to three minutes per side.

– Remove the buns from the oven. Spread a small amount of mayonnaise on each bun and top with the burger and any other condiments, as desired. Serve immediately.


– Recipe from The Food Network


Rattlesnake Sliders


1.5 pounds ground chicken 

1 pound Andouille sausage, casings removed, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 tablespoon ground pepper

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Cheese, optional

12 King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls



– Preheat grill to medium-high.

– Using a food processor, process the Andouille until finely chopped.

– Transfer the Andouille to a large bowl. Add chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne. Mix gently, being careful not to overwork the mixture.

– Form the mixture into 12 patties and place them on the grill. Cook until the internal temperature registers 170 degrees, about 5 minutes per side. 

– During the last minute of grilling, add the cheese to the tops of the burgers, and toast the rolls (cut-side down, about 30 seconds).

– Remove the burgers and buns from the grill. Garnish with your choice of toppings and condiments. Serve immediately.


– Recipe by Jeff Crump (www.EzraPoundCake.com)


Pulled Chicken Sliders


6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 cups smoky barbecue sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

12 to 16 mini rolls

1 cup chicken broth

12 to 16 mini dill pickles



– In a large high-sided pot, add the chicken, salt and broth. Cover and bring to a boil, and reduce the heat and simmer until done, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle.

– With two forks, shred the chicken right in the pot, by pulling the pieces apart. Add the barbecue sauce, reheat the mixture and reduce the liquid if needed, or add some additional chicken broth if too dry. Split the rolls and mound about 1 tablespoon of the chicken on each bottom half; top with the remaining half. 

– Using a toothpick, secure a pickle on top and serve warm.


– Recipe from www.ivillage.com