When I was a kid, as soon as the Winter melted into Spring each year, my family would take every opportunity possible to have a big, backyard, family barbecue. Dad's grill was lit from Memorial Day right on through Labor Day. Each holiday, birthday, graduation and anniversary was celebrated in style under our lilac and cherry trees. The folding chairs and card tables were dusted off and set up outside. The coolers were hauled out and filled to the brim with icy cold beer and soft drinks. Everybody brought some kind of "picnic-y" dish to share. Everyone except my Aunt Giuseppina, that is. She always brought a huge tray of eggplant parmigiana. But, that's a story for another day.
As the "women" draped brightly covered plastic tablecloths over everything and set up the buffet, the "men" got down to the business of grilling the meat. I don't know how it is in most families, but in Italian families, hot dogs and burgers alone just don't cut it. No, no, no! There also needs to be chicken, sausage, ribs and a few nice ribeyes thrown in for good measure. Italians are always terrified that there won't be enough food when guests are over. It isn't actually one of the Ten Commandments, but it might as well be. Thou shalt never run out of food at a party. What scumbari!
I can remember looking at those huge mountains of meat and wondering how in the world anyone could eat all of that food! Of course, no one could. I'm half convinced that part of the reason for the food overkill was so that there would be enough leftovers for everyone to take home! Anyway, from an early age, my solution to this problem was to just take a few small bites of each thing. That way, I could try everything without exploding. The only problem with that rationale was that after taking bites off of various pieces of meat, those remaining pieces didn't look so appetizing for the next guy. But hey, it seemed logical to a six year-old!
We don't have many of those big backyard bashes anymore since my father passed away. Somehow, it just doesn't feel the same. But, a few weeks ago, over Memorial Day weekend, we decided to give it another try.
As I was shopping for hot dog and hamburger buns, I saw these packages of cute little slider buns in the bread aisle.
That's when it hit me. Instead of making big old hamburgers, why not make tiny little sliders. That way, everyone could still have a burger (or two or three), and still be able to enjoy some of the other stuff as well. (Don't I just dazzle you with my brilliance, sometimes?) So, I bought some of those buns and went home to make Smoky Chipotle Sliders!
These Smoky Chipotle Sliders are made just like regular burgers, except that I add some pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to them. The peppers are dried and smoked red jalapenos and come canned in a sweet and spicy red sauce that typically contains tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt, and spices. They can be added to all kinds of different foods, and in these sliders they provide a distinctive warm heat and delicious smoky flavor.
I made an easy peasy Smoky Chipotle Mayo to spread on top of them and served them on the toasted slider buns. I also cut slices of cheese into quarters and put one on each slider.
These Smoky Chipotle Sliders were a huge hit with my guests, especially the four teenagers that were there. They were the perfect size for a barbecue buffet. And, the addition of the chipotles in adobo not only added tons of flavor, but also just enough extra moistness to keep those little guys nice and juicy. I hope you'll give them a try for your next barbecue bash. I think your guest will love them too!
Smoky Chipotle Sliders with Smoky Chipotle Mayo
1 lb ground chuck
1 lb ground sirloin
1 medium-sized sweet onion, grated
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed with 2 tablespoons of sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
Salt and pepper to taste
Slider buns (Pepperidge Farm) or small potato rolls
Smoky Chipotle Mayo (recipe follows) and sliced American cheese, cut into quarters
Mix first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl. Form into small patties about 2-2 1/2 inches in diameter. Using an ice cream or meatball scoop for this makes the perfect sized sliders.
Grill or fry until sliders reach your desired level of doneness.
Top with a piece of cheese and Smoky Chipotle Mayo and serve on toasted slider buns.
Smoky Chipotle Mayo
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with 1 tablespoon of sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and whiz until well blended.
Makes about 24 sliders.Carolina Pulled Pork Sliders from The Daily Loaf