Monday, February 11, 2013

Krystal's Style Sliders

This week’s theme is guilty pleasures, which to me conjures images of food with insanely-high calorie counts, such as megafries (French fries covered in melted cheese, with bacon and ranch dressing), or something dead-simple such as grilled cheese (white bread, processed cheese). I figured I’d split the difference, and make Krystal’s style sliders.

In case you’re not familiar, Krystal’s the southern equivalent of White Castle, tiny burgers that you end up eating a dozen of at a time and feeling like crap afterwards. I’ve only eaten there once during a college road trip, but I definitely remember those sliders. My take on them isn’t an exact replica, but I think I captured the spirit of the thing pretty well. The rolls are actually a dinner rolls recipe from the King Arthur Flour website, and the sugar adds sweetness, as do the caramelized onions (Krystal’s just uses dehydrated onions, if I recall correctly). The mustard and pickle work perfectly to balance out the sweetness.

Hamburger Rolls
56 grams lukewarm water
227g warm milk (100 to 110 F)
23 grams butter (slightly less than 2 tablespoons)
10 grams sugar
½ tablespoon salt
14 grams instant yeast
361 to 422 grams all-purpose flour (I ended up using ~361g)

Add the water, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 10 minutes or so, until the yeast starts to foam.

Add 312 grams of flour and mix with the dough hook attachment until the ingredients form a mass.  Add flour, ¼ cup (30 grams) at a time with the mixer running, until the dough forms a smooth ball (this took me about ½ cup total). Knead using the dough hook for about 5 minutes (or by hand for 10 minutes), until the dough is soft and smooth, and feels tacky to the touch.

Turn the dough out into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on how warm it is in your kitchen), until the dough is puffy and has risen ~50%.

Remove the dough from the bowl, and work into a rectangle approximately 8” x 12”. Cut into 4 strips, then cut each strip into 3 portions and form into balls, rolling on a cutting board to give them their shape.

Place the rolls into a 13” x 9” baking/roasting pan that has been lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let the rolls rise for 20 to 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 190°F. My rolls didn’t really brown at all by the time they reached this point, so I turned on the broiler for a minute to give them some color.

Remove, and let cool on a baking rack.

Sliders (for 2 servings a.k.a. 6 sliders)
½ large white onion, diced
1 tablespoon Butter
Scant 1/2 lb. Ground Beef (I used 80/20 Chuck)
Mustard (plain old yellow mustard, none of that fancy stuff)
American Cheese (processed only, none of that ‘real’ cheese here)
Salt and Pepper

First, you’ll want to caramelize the onions. Heat a medium pan over medium high heat. Toss in the butter, then the onions. Let them cook for about 8 minutes, until they’ve released a good amount of liquid and taken on some color, then add salt. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or so. We’re looking for onions that have some color on them, but not full-on French onion soup style caramelized onions. You’ll probably need to turn the heat down as the onions are cooking to prevent burning. Make sure you keep an eye on them so this doesn’t occur. These can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

Finally, the burgers: Form the beef into 6 small patties, approximately ½” to ¾” thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook in a heavy-bottomed pan, over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side, until cooked through. Top with cheese, onions, mustard and a pickle. Serve with a side of French fries.


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