Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sweet As Pie: Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders

This was a January recipe and I procrastinated long enough that then I thought, "oh these will make perfect SuperBowl snacks."

Then PW said the same thing on Facebook and I was sold!

Then SuperBowl Sunday rolled around and I didn't want to do anything.  (Seriously, I am not even sure I got out of my jammies on Sunday. It was glorious! We had no plans, no party to throw or attend, and we just weren't into the fussiness of it all.)

So, I finally, finally made them for dinner today.  At long last, Mick and the kids and I went grocery shopping yesterday and picked up the few ingredients we needed, and Mick and I made these for dinner tonight.

(It's been a long month, with Mick's concussion, my parents here for a week, juggling other help for another week, then CAM getting strep, and now WHM sick with a terrible head cold.  You know I don't like grocery shopping here in Maine to begin with, but it really was a monumental project to contemplate recently, so going yesterday -- and going as a family -- was a huge, if bizarre to most folks, treat.)

In any event, I am so glad I finally cooked a real meal.  Here's the scoop.

Pioneer Woman Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders

Verdict: The best burgers we've had in ages. AGES.
Cook it again: Heck yes.  Maybe tomorrow. And you should cook it tomorrow, too.
Cost Factor: $15-ish

First of all, the recipe is brilliantly simple.  You need this small ensemble of ingredients, much of which you may already have on hand.

I was chastised by my friend Becca for using bourbon when I should have used whiskey in a previous recipe. So this time I grabbed some whiskey. I think this was good stuff. What do I know?!
For the record, that's a large onion, jalapeƱo slices, slider rolls, bbq sauce, whiskey, and two pounds of ground beef. We had one pound in the freezer already so I just defrosted it overnight, and then we bought a pound of ground pork yesterday.

Chop up that giant onion ...

Then have your helper form the meat into patties.  I chose to do a 50-50 mixture of ground pork and ground beef, which may be one of my better decisions in recent years. (For the record, I had it in my head that this recipe called for pork.  It turns out that it didn't, but we made the decision to use a 50-50 mixture anyway. I was afraid that the patties would be bland, and I was hopeful that the mixture would add flavor.) Why was I afraid that the patties would be bland? Because you don't add anything to the meat before you form the patties; you just make the patties and salt and pepper them on both sides. For the first time in ages, Mick and I cooked dinner together. That makes my heart happy, just like burgers make his heart happy. Win-win!

Our "sliders" were a little bit on the big side.  We took two pounds of meat and, as the recipe said, formed 12 patties.

In a mixture of butter and oil, we browned the patties, and then set them aside.

At this point, you're supposed to drain the grease and add the onion.  We skipped the "drain the grease" phase because there wasn't really a lot.  Then we cooked the onion about 5 minutes, until translucent.  I wish I had smell-o-vision, because it was incredible.  Or so I thought ...

... until we added half a cup of whiskey.

Oh my word, the house smelled amazing.

I could have stopped here and had whiskey onions for dinner, but I had other people relying on me to actually cook.  Well, and Mick was helping.  So, we pressed on ...

When the whiskey cooked off, we added a cup of bbq sauce (cheap-o store brand for us) and about a quarter cup of diced jalapeƱos, and then we set the sliders in the sauce.  We covered the pan and let the burgers absorb the sauce for a few minutes while we set the table and generally got ready to eat.  I'd like to say "while we got the sides in order," but the fact was our side tonight was potato chips.

Anyway, once we were done frying up those chips and seasoning them with truffle oil opening the bag of Lay's, we served each slider on a Hawaiian roll.  Straight up. Not even toasted, not even warmed in the microwave.

I am sorry for the blurry photo. Honestly, I snapped all of tonight's pictures with my cell phone and this one was an after-thought.  (The fourth burger from this plate was already on my own plate and half eaten!)

Holy deliciousness.  The burgers were divine.  The pork/beef mixture was flavorful in a way we've not had in a while, the sauce had some kick without being hot for the sake of being hot, and the whiskey gave it just the right undertones of ... well, what?  Wood-y-ness?  Smoky-ness?  It just added a depth of flavor that took the burgers from warmed-up bbq sauce with onions to something you actually made.

These were fantastically easy and "fancy" enough, and tasty enough, that you could serve them to guests and they'd be in heaven.

Just don't tell them how easy they were!



  1. Oh my God. I'm seriously licking my screen. And did you say "whiskey?" ;)

    1. This is one worth making, I assure you. And did you read the part where I said we've been shopping? There's another whiskey recipe coming up soon!