A Grilled Slider Recipe for Super Bowl Sunday

Grilled Sliders

What is your favorite thing about watching the Big Game (Super Bowl Sunday)? Is it the actual game, the commercials, or all the food? There are so many finger foods served when watching football or tailgating. The classics include chicken wings, nachos, pizza, chips and dips, smokies, and more.

One often forgotten classic is sliders. There are so many creative options when making sliders. Sliders can be made with pulled pork, brisket, bacon, lobster, or ground meats like beef, chicken, or turkey.

So how did the slider get its name?   One source cites U.S. Navy sailors during World War II who called mini-burgers “sliders” on account of their high grease content.   They slide right down your gullet.   Actually, sliders have been around since 1921, when Walter Anderson and Billy Ingram founded the White Castle restaurant chain in Wichita, Kansas.   Their onion-scented sliders also came in a small bite format, and the cooks would take pride in sliding plates of the mini-burgers down the Formica counter to waiting customers.

Today, I’m going to share a traditional grilled burger slider recipe with a twist.

Grilled Slider Recipe

The Holy Grail Steak company sent their Tajima American Wagyu ground beef to make my sliders. The marbling in the Wagyu beef is perfect for making a juicy slider. The beef has a buttery texture and extraordinary flavor. The flavor you expect from American-raised Wagyu beef isn’t lost when prepared as sliders. This might even become your go-to ground beef for burgers and sliders.

I began by dividing the ground beef into equal portions with a two-ounce ice cream scoop.

Grilled Sliders Recipe

Next, I flattened each ball to form the burger.

The cooking time for the sliders will be the same since they are of equal shape and weight. I liberally seasoned each burger with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Grilled Burger Patties

I opted to use my gas grill to cook the sliders, since most people have a gas grill or bring a grill fueled by propane to tailgating parties. Once the grill was heated to high, I placed the burgers on the grill grate. I left one quarter of the grill off for a cool zone in case there were any flare-ups.

Due to their diminutive size, the sliders cooked quickly, only 2 minutes a side. Now for the twist: Instead of toasting all the buns and building each burger individually, I assembled them all at once. I placed the bottom buns on a wire rack over a rimmed sheet pan. On the bottom bun, I arranged lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion slices, the burger, pickle chips, bacon, and cheese. I used two types of sharp cheddar cheese. (I used shredded instead of using pieces of cheese made for full-size burgers.)  I added ketchup to the top bun and covered the sliders. I dressed the top of each bun with melted butter to help crisp up the bun, then added my home-made barbecue rub to the top of a few of the buns for another level of flavor. (Full disclosure: My wife preferred her sliders without the barbecue rub.)

Sliders on the Grill

The entire rack of sliders went back onto the gas grill, which was now set-up for indirect grilling. The heat of the grill allowed the buns to lightly toast and the cheese to melt. By setting up the grill for indirect grilling, the burgers didn’t overcook while the cheese melted. The edges of the buns got crusty, and the cheese melted in just a few minutes.

Grilled Sliders Recipe

I placed the sliders on a piece of butcher paper and served them family-style. Barbecue rub-spiced waffle fries were the perfect match for the sliders. The crusty buns, crisp lettuce, fresh red onions, and crunchy pickle chip balanced the luscious and flavorful burger. The bacon provided a smoky flavor that paired perfectly with the Wagyu beef. The melted cheese held it all together. I chose to go with classic burger accoutrements, but feel free to get creative with your slider toppings.

Here are a few simple substitutions that will spice up the flavor profile of your slider. Swap out the ketchup for chipotle mayo or your favorite barbecue sauce. If you like it spicy, use pepper Jack cheese and sliced jalapeños. Use a blackening seasoning to build a flavorful crust and top the slider with blue cheese dressing and crispy bacon. If you are looking for fun alternatives to the classic burger or slider toppings, check out my blog “The Battle of The Grilled Beef Burgers.”


Sliders are a fun, filling, and delicious way to eat when watching the big game or tailgating. Take your sliders to the next level with the Tajima American Wagyu ground beef from Holy Grail Steak.

Recipes for Burgers

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