Spring has sprung, and BBQ season is upon us! I’ve decided to share my coveted Meat Ball Slider recipe with you to help inspire your grilling efforts this season.
I’m not a big “measurer” when it comes to recipes, so you’re going to have to wing it a little, but to me that’s half the fun.
In a bowl hand mix:
Regular ground beef (not lean)
1 finely chopped habanero (remove seeds)
Worcestershire sauce (many dashes)
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 shallott finely chopped
1 raw egg
Add bread crumbs after mixing the wet ingredients well until you’ve got a good patty consistency rolling. (usually at least 2 cups)
Form the mixture into meat balls (not patties) about the size of a large egg. These need to be sized to match your slider buns. I find slider buns here in Vancouver at La Baguette on Granville Island and Whole Foods has also started stocking them. They can be tough to find in the right size and shape. I’ve had small potato buns work in a pinch. The buns need to be as small as you can find and as white as you can find. They need to support the flavour of the burger, not complicate or take over. Whole wheat of flavoured buns will destroy a burger in my opinion.
Before grilling the balls, prepare the sauce. My sauce is extremely simple.
2 parts plan yogurt
1 part mayo
smidge of dijon (just enough to tint the mixture yellow, less than you think)
Make more than you think you need, at least a cup or 2)
This is a good time to get your bacon going and slice your cheese. Grill the bacon right on the BBQ (on low heat) or however you like to do bacon in your kitchen. The cheese I use (and this is key) is Irish Whiskey Cheddar – I find it at Whole Foods. When I cooked these for the guys out at Jeffy’s I had to ad-lib by marinating white cheddar in Tequilla… actually worked pretty well. Any booze infused cheese will do, but the Irish Whiskey Cheddar takes this over the top, so try and find it.
After heating up your BBQ throw a cast-iron pan straight onto the grill. Get the heat down to around 300 degrees or so and fill your pan with the meat balls. Crack a beer and keep your tongs handy… you need to keep turning these guys almost constantly to get them to brown on all sides without over cooking. My goal is to keep the center of the ball pink and juicy while the outer edge is cooked well. (The meat keeps cooking right up until your first bite, so keep that in mind for your overall timing) While you’re grilling the buns lightly, top the balls with the Irish cheddar. Might as well kill the heat and close the lid for a a minute or two while you plate.
Lay all of your toasted buns out and spoon an extra large amount of the sauce on the bottom and top of each bun. Don’t be shy here. You’re gonna want sauce dripping out of all sides when you take your first bite! Place the meat balls on the bottom bun, top with an ‘X’ of bacon and pour some nice big glasses of red wine.
The last and maybe the most satisfying step: put the top of the bun on and with your palm give the whole burger a firm “squish”. Juices, both clear and pink come rolling out of the center of the meat ball flooded with melted cheese, bacon grease and the creamy sauce. That “squish” is so important before the first bite.
Rule: On your first bite, if sauce is not dripping down your hands and covering the corners of your mouth, then you need to use more.
Try and have just one… impossible.