Summer Sliders

When summer hits its stride, burgers can become a regular staple when dinner time rolls around. And there's nothing wrong with that. But I like to shake it up a bit by making sure there a bit of variety in our summer traditions. So instead of sticking with one approach, I like alternating between full-sized burgers and sliders. Sliders make things particularly fun because my youngster gets downright gleeful about them. Then again, so do I:

This batch of sliders boasts some of our fantastic single-source lean ground beef mixed with my favorite pork sausage seasoning. You don't need to use the same seasoning, of course. Just remember that you're adding enough that you'll really taste it at the table. That makes for a stellar base for your sliders. Then, you can nestle those little patties in little pretzel rolls that have been dotted with coarse salt. And, for me, it's not complete without a little grainy mustard, some sweet sauteed onions, and some creamy gourmet cheese melted over the top. To make peace at the table, I had both jalapeno harvarti and smoked gouda.

Alongside a plate of sliders like this, I opt for purely summer sides. Traditional creamy potato salad and generous slices of watermelon fit the bill here. To drink? Anything that plays well with summer. Iced tea and lemonade are nice options, as are chilled beer and hard cider. Oh, and if you can enjoy this meal outside, all the better. Summer's only here for a short while, so it makes sense to get out there and enjoy it while you can! Happy Independence Day!

Pretzel Roll Sliders

  • 1 lb. lean hamburger
  • 2 tsp. pork sausage seasoning - or your favorite seasoning salt
  • 1 vidalia onion, peeled and sliced into thin strips
  • Slices of your favorite cheese(s) - I opted for jalapeno havarti and smoked gouda
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 bakery-bought pretzel rolls
  • 2-3 T. grainy mustard, divided
  • Course salt for the tops of the buns - optional

Hand-mix the seasoning of your choice into your ground beef and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. While the meat is resting, slice the onions and the cheese.

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to one half and spray lightly with cooking spray. Stir the onions every 3-4 minutes as you prepare the meat.

To prepare the meat, use a large ice cream disher to form small patties of the seasoned ground beef. Set the patties on the other half of the preheated griddle or large skillet. Allow each patty to cook, untouched, for 5 minutes before carefully flipping and cooking for an additional 3-6 minutes, depending on your desired level of doneness.

To assemble each slider, spread a little mustard on the bottom of a pretzel roll. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of the fried onions, 1 small hamburger patty, 2-3 slices of cheese, and the top bun. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the buns with coarse salt before serving.

  • Yields: 3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes

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