How to Make Your Own White Castle Slider at Home Slideshow
September 14, 2012
Don’t get yourself in a 'Harold and Kumar' situation — enjoy the slider at home with our perfected recipe
This tiny burger, of which 550 million were sold last year, is the ultimate recipe challenge. The slider is so popular that if the amount of the hamburgers sold since 1921 were laid side by side, they would reach the moon and back. To replicate it is a challenging task, but we took it on.
First we start with the beef, which according to Richardson is 100 percent all-natural USDA-approved. A special blend of specific cuts is chosen to create the slider patty, he said, and we decided to go with an equal amount of ground chuck and ground beef.
As Richardson said, the beauty of the slider is how the shape of the patty aligns perfectly with the shape of the bun. We used Martin’s Party rolls, which come in a bag of 12, but any square mini-roll will do, just so long as the patty is the same shape.
A lot of Anderson’s fame is due to his invention of the hamburger patty, which he developed when he flattened a meatball with his spatula because it was cooking too slowly. The beauty of the White Castle slider is its thinness, and we rolled ours out to ¼-inch thick using parchment paper and a rolling pin.
It wouldn’t be a White Castle slider unless it was a square, so we made sure to cut our sheet of beef into 3-by-3-inch squares. We found that a pizza cutter was the most efficient way to cut them up, but a regular spatula will do the job as well.
Fun Fact: White Castle Vending Machines
The White Castle slider became so incredibly popular by 1993 that White Castle decided to become the first fast-food chain to make its burgers available through vending machines.
White Castle is the first and only fast-food chain ever to cook their patties with holes in them. The layout was designed so that the patties cooked faster, and has been patent-protected since 1945. We wiggled a straw into the patties to give them some punctured love.
The Secret Ingredient
So many people think they know what the secret is in a slider, whether it's peanut butter or Lipton Onion soup, but Richardson insists it’s really quite simple. The secret ingredient is added to the onions, and it's something that is easily accessible and available to the home cook, he hinted. After much thought and deliberation, we decided on butter, and it’s as simple as that.
Part of the slider’s luster is those little white flecks of onion on the patty. We finely chopped ours and sautéed them for a couple of minutes before adding the patties so that they were just slightly cooked — retaining a crisp bite but giving a mellow cooked-onion flavor.
Fun Fact: White Castle Is WWII Savvy
Nothing stands in White Castle’s way, not even in a war. During World War II, they dealt with the onion shortage by using dehydrated onions for their sliders.
The Power of Steam
"Never underestimate the power of steamed grilling on a bed of onions," Richardson suggested, and we took his words literally. After he told us that one of White Castle’s standards of excellence was that there should never be an area of a White Castle griddle bigger than a dime that’s not covered by onions, we were convinced they were steamed.
Texture Is Everything
The fact that White Castle makes and distributes their own hamburger bun was a bit of a road block for us in the beginning, but we think we figured it out. "Texture and freshness are key," Richardson warned, so we wrapped our buns in a damp kitchen towel and zapped them in the microwave to give them a steamed, soft quality.
Fun Fact: Self-Sufficiency
White Castle is the first fast-food chain to own and operate bakeries that produce the special, small, white bread buns for its hamburgers. Along with bread, they’ve developed their own meat production facilities and now own two bakeries and three meat plants.
Richardson described it as the perfectly placed pickle, and we couldn’t agree more. We used one dill pickle slice to top our patties, and we didn’t feel a bit of shame about it.
After the trials and tribulations, we think we’ve created a masterpiece with this recipe and have succeeded in replicating the slider in all of its glory. The finished result: a plain patty topped with sautéed onions and a pickle, and wedged between two steamed buns — ketchup optional*. We hope you agree, but please share with us your thoughts, comments, and concerns.
*One More Fun Fact: Ketchup Snobs
When asked if the sliders do or do not come with condiments, Richardson told us that interestingly enough, the slider only comes with ketchup in the states of New York and New Jersey.