The Unconventional Way Alton Brown Makes Restaurant-Quality Sliders

TV host and celebrity chef Alton Brown is known for his creative and sometimes controversial takes on classic recipes. Over 16 seasons of his Food Network show Good Eats, he has tackled everything from muffins to meatballs, and everything in between. Even with all of that screen time there are some recipes that never made the cut, and one of those was a recipe for sliders that he collected in his book Good Eats 4: The Final Years.

The best-known sliders originated with White Castle back in 1921. The restaurant quickly became well known for its minuscule patties that would sell for only 5 cents a piece up until the 1940s (via Kitchen Project). Over the years, they perfected a particular kind of burger preparation. According to Mashed, this included a cooking method which evolved into steaming the patties over a bed of chopped onions. This was paired with their five hole stamped patties to infuse the patties with flavor from the onion, and allowed their burgers to cook more quickly and consistently. White Castle is so proud of their slider method that they've even trademarked the five hole patties, and has refused to franchise its operations to maintain consistent quality across the brand.

Brown's creative take on sliders

The secret sauce to Alton Brown's ideal sliders seems to be mustard. As he details the process in a YouTube video the recipe includes "as much yellow mustard as you can stand" as the key difference between his sliders and those from White Castle.

To make his sliders, Brown rolls out a pound of ground beef into a thin, rectangular sheet. He then spreads yellow mustard and seasonings onto that sheet, and folds it over itself. This traps the seasonings and flavors in the middle of the patties. They are then cut into even rectangles with a pizza cutter, and taken to the grill. From there, things become a bit more traditional as the patties are steamed over a bed of onions, and added to a bun with dill pickles.

This take on the classic burger is far more tame than another of Brown's original ideas. Back in 2016, he collaborated with Umami Burger to bring a burger decked out with fried sage, smashed cheesy tots, and coffee ketchup to its menu. This makes his mustard-laden take on the classic slider practically seem conventional by comparison.