I am not a sports fan. At all. I don’t watch any sports. None. But I can get into the food. I have been to baseball games for the barbecue nachos and the big beer, and I love a ballpark hot dog. So the big sports events tend to pass me by, unless I have an opportunity to prepare food. And who doesn’t love the type of comfort food that seems to go with sporting events – dips and cheesy things, burgers, dogs, sausages, fried delights and overloaded sweets. I may not know a full back from a full court press, but man I love the food. So here is my most recent contribution. All the joys of a cheeseburger in a bitty bite you can eat with one hand, so the other one is free for the foam finger (or a beer). Beef, bacon, cheese, condiments all in one. Yep, I am totally down for this.
Two slabs of 12 rolls each will fit in one brownie pan, you just have to wiggle them in. I use a straight sided brownie pan rather than a glass casserole so there is room and line the pan with non-stick foil with an overhang so the cooked rolls can be lifted out. Use a long sharp knife to cut the entire roll slabs in half horizontally, then fit them into the pan. I brush a little bacon grease over the cut side of the rolls, then toast them lightly so they stand up the filling. Once I have assembled the rolls, I run a sharp knife through the separation lines in the rolls so they are easier to cut and pull apart when cooked. The brown sugary butter topping just raises these up an extra special notch, but watch carefully when you brown the tops because it can brown quickly. And for another gameday perfect slider, check out my Baked Roast Beef, Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Sliders, which is one of my most popular recipes.
Baked Cheeseburger Sliders
8 strips of bacon
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 pounds ground beef
¼ cup ketchup
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated gouda cheese
2 packages Hawaiian rolls
¼ cup (1/2 stick unsalted butter)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- Cut the bacon into small piece (I like to do this with scissors). Drop into a large, deep skillet and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain, then carefully pour the bacon grease into a glass measuring jug and wipe out the pan. Let the grease cool slightly. Return 3 Tablespoons of the grease to the skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown. Add a ¼ cup of water to the pan and cook until it evaporates, stirring to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the onions are caramelized and sticky, around 15 minutes, then add the ground beef, breaking it up into small crumbles with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook until the beef is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain the meat mixture through a colander, shaking off as much grease as possible. Wipe out the skillet again.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with foil with ends hanging over. This makes it easier to lift out the cooked sandwiches. Use a high-sided brownie pan, not a shallower glass casserole. Use a long, sharp bread knife to slice each package of rolls in half horizontally. Do not separate the individual rolls, slice open the whole rectangle. Fit the bottom half of each roll slab into the pan. Place them next to each other vertically and wiggle them in. They will fit. Brush the cut surface of the rolls with a light layer of bacon grease, then cook for 10 minutes.
- When the beef is well drained, return it to the skillet. Heat over medium heat, then stir in the ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire until combined. Add the mayo and stir to thoroughly combine and coat the meat. Taste and add some salt and black pepper if you think it needs it (the Worcestershire sauce takes care of that). Sprinkle the cheddar cheese in an even layer over the roll bottoms. Dollop the meat mixture over the cheese and use a spatula or your fingers to spread it into an even layer, all the way to the edges of the bread. Sprinkle the gouda over the top of the meat, then fit the top halves of the roll slabs over the beef. Use a thin knife to run through the separations in the rolls to make them easier to pull apart when cooked.
- Melt the butter and sugar together in a small saucepan or the microwave. Stir in a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Drizzle the topping evenly over the sandwiches in the pan, using a spatula to spread it out evenly if needed. Leave to cool, then cover the pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sandwiches, covered, for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are heated through. Uncover and cook for a few minutes, just until the tops are lightly toasted – be careful, the topping can brown easily. Use the overhanging foil to lift the sandwiches from the pan, then separate them and arrange on a platter.