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Downgrade Your Trendy Foods: Sliders

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The burgers that launched a thousand overpriced menu items

Ever since Harold and Kumar’s fateful trip to White Castle back in the early 00’s, sliders have be steadily moving from stoner food staple, to bar food menu item, to mainstream acceptance. This is great for those of us who don’t live in New Jersey where, despite Harold & Kumar’s trials and tribulations, there seems to be a White Castle on every street corner. Sliders are great for when everyone at happy hour wants a hamburger, but no one wants to admit it or eat a whole one in front of their friends.

On the other hand, in the land of Coastal Foodie-ism, the rising popularity of the mini-hamburger platter means you get really weird and expensive shit like Kobe Beef mini-burgers with foie-gras aioli on rare Egyptian grain buns. And let’s be honest with ourselves here, you’re really only getting one hamburger with extra bread. So with that in mind, let’s break down how to break down your burger to make it more sharing-friendly. There’s two basic methods:

The Gourmet Method:

Meat: As a rule of thumb, one hamburger equals four sliders. So take the normal amount of meat you’d normally serve as one hamburger or chicken sandwich or plant burger or whatever and divide it in to quarters. Cook it appropriately so that it won’t give you salmonella or offend your friends when your tiny sandwich starts bleeding.

Bread: Find 4 tiny buns. The little butter rolls your mom always used to make mini-ham sandwiches for the neighborhood pool party will work just fine and come in packs of 8 or 16, so you could basically make an assembly line and crank these things out. Brush them with some olive oil and toast them for that fancy restaurant taste. Alternatively, a hot dog bun will work as two slider-buns. Or just slice up a baguette or something. You’re a big kid now, get creative in the kitchen.

Condiments: This is where you really get to have fun, and since we’re going gourmet here you’ll need something with a fancy Italian name. Say you want to make a chicken pesto slider. No problem, take some normal mayo and stir in some pesto. Voila: you’ve got pesto aioli! Or maybe you want Smokehouse BBQ Burger sliders: slather the bun with the leftover BBQ sauce you’ve got in your fridge and top the burger with a Funyun because those are basically onion rings anyway. If you were using salmon steaks to make little fish sandwiches, I’d recommend Trader Joe’s Creamy Lite Cilantro Dressing because that stuff is delicious and goes on anything. If you’re a vegan, you could top your bean burger with a spicy chipotle bean dip because that actually sounds kind of nice.

The Broke Ass Method: If you’re really lazy or in a time crunch, just go to your local burger joint, buy your favorite quarter-pound burger. Slice it in to four pieces and stick them with frilly toothpicks. Serve it on the nicest plate you can find in your rag-tag kitchen. It’ll be just like that McDonald’s commercial where the guy saves his terrible dinner party by retrieving 36 Dollar Menu hamburgers and puts them on a platter.

If you’re dinner party is really going to hell, just top your sliders off with some hallucinogenic mushrooms. I reckon it’ll turn out something like this:

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Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew is an East Coast transplant from Virginia hamming it up in San Francisco without any intention of leaving. Having worked every typical job from Bike Shop Employee to Bartender to Ad Agency Hotshot, to Dotcom Layoff he now busts his ass covering the "weird things to do" beat for gracious local audiences at and rallies the Western Addy/Lower Haight/Panhandle neighborhoods into action at His work was published in a real, paper magazine one time. One day he might even figure out how to make money from it.