Miniature versions of meals and treats are festive and wonderfully kitschy, and I’ve been a huge proponent of the bite-size movement for as long as I can remember. I mean, who doesn’t love a mini lobster roll or a milkshake shot? They’re ADORABLE.
I’m pretty sure my obsession with miniature food was inherited from my mother. As a child, I was always mesmerized by the shrunken versions of crowd-pleasing favorites that she served at her fabulous cocktail parties. Crab cake bites, mini meatballs, crostini of all kinds, and itsy-bitsy lemon tarts. People were always complimenting my mom on those small bites, which is probably why I hopped on the finger food bandwagon at such a young age. (I’ve clearly been on the lookout for compliment-inducing trends my whole life.)
The most outrageous/hilarious smorgasbord of teeny-tiny food I have ever experienced was my 21st birthday (aka the best night of my life). When it came time to plan the menu, my mother and I told the unsuspecting caterer that we wanted to go with an “all miniature” theme. She definitely thought we were
batshit mildly crazy, but luckily, her team more than delivered on the tiny food front.
Throughout the night, my nearest and dearest crushed mountains of sliders, mini grilled cheeses, and other creative bite-size snacks with reckless abandon. Dessert consisted of root beer floats in shot glasses and the tiniest ice cream cones I’ve ever seen. It was glorious.
Unfortunately, while the food was miniature, the cocktails were normal size, so very few people actually remember this miniature food festival. This is disappointing, but c’est la vie.
Honestly, I have to actively restrain myself from posting all manner of tiny foods on this site. If I had my way, most recipes would have the words, “mini,” “bites,” and “shots” in their titles, but I realize that may turn me into some sort of niche blogger, and I don’t want to pigeonhole myself. (That would diminish my chances of becoming famous. Duh.)
But sometimes, albeit very rarely, my tiny food obsession leads to the creation of something so epic, I simply cannot keep it to myself and my roommate (a fellow finger food fetishist). And that, friends, is why you are looking at some very sexy sliders on your computer screen right now. Allow me to introduce you to the word’s best bite-size burgers: Bacon and Smoked Cheddar Stuffed Cheeseburger Sliders with Jalapeño Relish.
SO SMALL, YET SO DANK. [Cue tears and string of expletives.]
I should probably retire from food blogging now. Leave on a high note and just disappear into the sunset with a giant doggy bag of these showstopping stuffed sliders (preferably to the tune of Coolio’s Fantastic Voyage).
Yes, they’re that good.
I mean, regular cheeseburger sliders are delightful, but when you stuff seasoned patties with crispy bacon and smoked cheddar cheese? It’s practically obscene. Each otherworldly bite oozes beefy, cheesy, bacon-y goodness and leads to what can only be described as an explosion of flavor fireworks in your mouth. Your taste buds may never recover.
Take note, the smoked cheddar is the gamechanger here, folks. Yes, you can obviously use regular cheddar (or even American if you’re a cheeseburger traditionalist), but there’s something about the smokiness of the cheese that elevates these burger bites to a whole new level of awesome. It’s tough to describe the unique flavor profile, but you’re going to want to experience this je ne sais quoi for yourselves. Trust me. (Don’t panic, most markets carry smoked cheddar.)
And the jalapeño relish! We need to geek out over this stuff for a second because after Srirachup, it’s my new go-to fancy condiment. The simple mix of finely chopped pickled jalapeños, bread and butter pickles, red onion, and garlic creates a magical relish that’s equal parts sweet, tangy, and spicy. It’s the ideal complement to these savory sliders, but you should also consider using it to dress up everything from hot dogs to pulled pork sandwiches. Moneymaker.
If you’re still not fully grasping the life-altering deliciousness of these mini miracles, I suggest you watch my roommate’s reaction here.
Please find a way to work Stuffed Cheeseburger Sliders into your summer entertaining plans as soon as humanly possible. The recipe is 110% idiot-proof (I promise), and it can easily be multiplied to feed a large crowd. They’re the perfect crowd-pleasing finger food for barbecues, and Father’s Day/Fourth of July is written alllll over these bad boys.
Tiny food 4 lyfe.
Bacon and Smoked Cheddar Stuffed Cheeseburger Sliders with Jalapeño Relish: (Makes 14 sliders)
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
½ cup grated smoked cheddar cheese (Yes, you can use regular shredded cheddar or any other cheese of your choice. Duh.)
1 pound ground beef (Use beef with at least 10% fat to make sure you get juicy sliders.)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
14 slider buns (If you can’t find slider buns, you can always cut hot dog buns into thirds.)
For the Jalapeño Relish:
1/3 cup pickled jalapeños, finely chopped
¾ cup bread and butter pickles, finely chopped
2 teaspoons pickle juice (from the bread and butter pickle jar)
3 tablespoons, minced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Coarse black pepper to taste
Preparing your Bacon and Smoked Cheddar Stuffed Cheeseburger Sliders with Jalapeño Relish:
-In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the jalapeño relish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
-Flatten the patty slightly. (Each patty should be 1¾-inches in diameter.)
-Heat a tablespoon of oil in large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliders and cook for about 1½-2 minutes on each side until the beef is cooked through and the hidden cheese has had time to melt. Depending on the size of your pan, you may find it easier to do this in two batches.
- 3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- ½ cup grated smoked cheddar cheese (Yes, you can use regular shredded cheddar or any other cheese of your choice. Duh.)
- 1 pound ground beef (Use beef with at least 10% fat to make sure you get juicy sliders.)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 14 slider buns (If you can’t find slider buns, you can always cut hot dog buns into thirds.)
- Ketchup (optional)
- 1/3 cup pickled jalapeños, finely chopped
- ¾ cup bread and butter pickles, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons pickle juice (from the bread and butter pickle jar)
- 3 tablespoons, minced red onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Coarse black pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the jalapeño relish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a small bowl, combine the crumbled bacon and grated cheese. Use your hands to form the bacon and cheese mixture into 14 small balls. They’ll be very coarse balls, but the heat from your hands will help them stick together.
- Place the ground beef salt and black pepper in a medium bowl. Mix until just combined. (Just use your hands, people.)
- Now it’s time to make your slider patties. Divide the beef into 14 balls (each should be about a heaping tablespoon.) Flatten each ball into a pancake about a ¼-inch thick. Place one of the bacon-cheese balls in the center of the beef. Gently fold the beef around the cheese, making sure it’s completely sealed within the beef, and flatten the patty slightly. (Each patty should be 1¾-inches in diameter.)
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliders and cook for about 1½-2 minutes on each side until the beef is cooked through and the hidden cheese has had time to melt. Depending on the size of your pan, you may find it easier to do this in two batches.
- If you like toasted buns (who doesn’t?), now is the time to throw them on the grill/under the broiler for 30 seconds.
- Place each slider on a bun and add a dollop of ketchup, if you’re into that. Top with jalapeño relish and serve immediately.
I’m thrilled to be a part of Food Network’s Summer Soirée event this week. For more badass burger inspiration, check out the amazing blogs below.
Dishin & Dishes: Grill Basket Stuffed Slider Burgers
Weelicious: Mexican Chicken Sliders
Devour: 5 Sizzling Burgers
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Greek Turkey Burger
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Green Chile and Bacon Burgers
Red or Green: Grilled Marinated Eggplant Burgers (Spicy)
The Heritage Cook: Juicy Turkey Burgers for Every Cookout
Taste With The Eyes: Chicken Burger Caesar Club Sandwich
Cooking With Elise: Super Smashed Burgers
Swing Eats: Shrimp Burgers with Sriracha Aioli on Bibb Lettuce
Daily*Dishin: Jalapeno Feta Bison Burgers
FN Dish: 5 Ways to Bring on the Burgers