I’m currently in a slider coma. But don’t worry about me. It’s not the kind of coma I don’t want to be in. This is the best kind of coma possible; a food coma. And I’m not talking about the kind you get after eating two Thanksgiving Day dinners, one right after the other, either. This is more of a give me ten sliders and then right after I’m done devouring them, without a care in the world, give me ten more and I’ll eat those as well, kind of coma. Now that I think about it, that’s pretty much the same type you fall into on Thanksgiving. What can I say, my only goal in life is to eat as much as possible. So far, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of it.
The thing about sliders, though, is that they’re mini hamburgers. Do you guys understand that? MINI. HAMBURGERS. Hamburgers that are mini. Itty bitty burgers. Tiny buns with tiny meat. (Okay I’m done, I promise). You’re required to eat more than two. It’s a rule. I think that’s what makes them so appealing. Perfectly bite-sized burgers are the way to go. And I know what you might be thinking, “But Jonathan, sliders are more than just one bite. You’re crazy!” I don’t know about you, but all I can tell you is that if you’re not shoving sliders into your mouth, whole, then you’re doing it all wrong. You need to reevaluate your eating habits. The word “sliders” is Greek for “eat it in one bite.” Okay, maybe it isn’t, but we all know it should be. By the way, I totally can’t even eat a slider in a single bite. It’s more like two. (Maybe one and a half, on a good day).
These sliders were a visionary collaboration with my significant other. The apple of my eye. The ol’ ball and chain. I was thinking about making a sliders post, so we both sort of began throwing out over-the-top ideas just to be funny, because that’s what we do. Then it became a competition about who could come up with the craziest slider idea. Naturally I won. I lie. He won, but don’t tell him I said that. So the crazier our ideas got the more and more they began to make sense. That’s usually how it works. We were super excited, pacing around the dining room as we continued to brainstorm. All his ideas were comfort foods meet sliders and I was totally into it. I wasn’t quite convinced with mac and cheese sliders, though. I don’t know if the world is ready for it, just yet, but we did think it’s about time pot roast sliders made a bigger appearance. So kaboom pot roast sliders with sriracha aioli because “sriracha is really big right now” he yells at me, “and crispy onion rings with homemade brioche buns,” I scream! As it turns out brioche is kind of complicated and I was too lazy to go through with it, so I had to toss everything and start from scratch. But it’s all good because everything slider buns were even better. And that’s how pot roast sliders were born. (Some events might have been dramatized for the sake of this story).
I’m going to be completely honest with you, right from the beginning, because I think our friendship deserves honesty. There are a lot of steps to this recipe. Sure you’ll probably think to yourself, “Whoa Jonathan is crazy. There’s so much to do! I can’t do this!” But the reality is that, yes I am crazy, but you can totally do this! I have faith in you. I wouldn’t post something that I didn’t think you couldn’t handle. The steps can be a little tedious but I guarantee you, they’re all worth it and in the end, once you taste the sliders you’ll understand why I’m so crazy. You might even become crazy yourself.
We’ll begin our adventure by making the pot roast. This is the most important part of the recipe because there wouldn’t be any “Pot Roast Sliders” without the pot roast. The good news is that the it is actually the easiest part of the entire recipe. Sort of like a “set it and forget it” type of recipe. Although with a few important steps in between.
We first need to season the beef. I’m using a boneless chuck roast. I prefer using a boneless roast so that later on I don’t have to worry about removing the bone and also I feel like it’s easier and cooks faster when the bone isn’t there. Season both sides liberally with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
**Note: Don’t be afraid to really season the roast with lots of salt and pepper. I’m using a 4 pounder. That’s a lot of meat so it requires a lot of seasoning. We don’t want our pot roast to be bland and I feel like this step determines whether or not it is.**
We’re going to sear this roast. Searing is just one of those fancy cooking terms we throw out there often. In case you don’t know what that is, let’s learn. Our trusty companion, Wikipedia, states that “searing (or pan searing) is a technique used in grilling, baking, braising, roasting, sautéing, etc., in which the surface of the food (usually meat, poultry or fish) is cooked at high temperature so a caramelized crust forms.” In this case, we’re going to do some pan searing and in order for the roast to get a good crust, we’re going to lightly coat it in flour. Just plain flour.
**Tip: You can skip this step, it’s not crucial. You’ll still get a nice browned crust on the outside, the flour just helps it along. But if you have an allergy to flour, then omit it and you’ll be fine.**
Coat the roast on all sides and then give it a big shake to allow the excess flour to fall off. Remember, it’s only a light coating that’s needed. We’re not trying to do a thick breaded coat like we would chicken, or something.
Heat a large, heavy duty pot (I like to use a dutch oven) over medium high heat. You want to make sure the pot is super hot. That creates the crust we’re looking for. Add a bit of oil to the pot (whatever kind of oil you have on hand) and place the roast in.
Cook the roast for about 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until it’s golden brown and crusty all sides. Don’t forget about the edges, hold it up with the tongs if you have to.
**Note: We’re not looking to fully cook the meat, obviously. That would take way too long. We’re just developing flavor and color right now. If you were to just throw all the ingredients together and let it cook like that, the meat would be flavorless and grey. Not appetizing at all. So this searing stage helps create a flavorful pot roast.**
As the roast is browning, take this opportunity to drink a large glass of wine. I’m kidding, but not really. You can take the time to cut the vegetables. Dice up an onion, few garlic cloves, carrots, celery, potatoes and mushrooms. All classic pot roast veggies. If you chop up the veggies now, they’ll be ready for you by the time the roast is finishing up it’s browning process.
We’re also going to use a few leeks. I love leeks, they’re one of my favorite vegetables. It’s sort of a cross between an onion and garlic, but totally better.
**Note: If you’ve ever seen leeks, you’ll know they have those super green tops. Don’t use that part. You’re only using the very bottom white parts to the lighter green parts.**
Slice the leeks into small pieces and then put them in a bowl filled with cold water. Then mix them with your hands and separate the layers with your fingers. This process allows all the dirt, grit or sand to fall to the bottom of the bowl, while the leeks float to the top. Easy cleaning process.
Now that all the veggies are ready to go and the roast is perfectly seared, we can proceed to the next steps. Transfer the roast to a platter or plate to rest for a bit. In the same pot, we’re going to sauté the veggies.
**Tip: The bottom of the pot might look burned and crusty and awesome. Don’t clean it out. All that is flavor. We need that flavor. It’ll lift up as we cook the vegetables.**
Add a bit more oil and throw in the onions and garlic, and cook for a bit until the onions have softened. Probably like 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom to pick up those bits of flavor we were talking about earlier. Then add the rest of the vegetables and stir it all together.
I’m a big advocate for “seasoning as you go.” I think it’s important to season every layer of a dish, that way you ensure it’s perfectly seasoned. So, let’s add some salt and black pepper to the veggies. We’re also going to throw in a few dried (fresh is cool too) bay leaves, and fresh thyme. Bay leaves are great for roasts, stews or soups that cook for a long time. You can add the thyme sprigs whole and then just fish them out later, once all the leaves have fallen off.
Cook the veggies for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until they just begin to soften. You don’t want to over cook them at this point, so keep an eye on them. Transfer all the veggies to a platter or plate. We need to make the gravy/sauce, so we’ll need the pot once more.
Add a bit more oil and the tomato paste, making sure to constantly whisk it. Cook for a minute or two until the oil has turned bright red. Add the flour and whisk once more. Don’t worry about getting it really smooth.
Now we’re going to add some red wine (optional but great flavor) and beef stock. Add the liquids and whisk until the flour has dissolved and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and black pepper, just a pinch. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce/gravy has thickened.
Okay, the roast is seared. The veggies are partially cooked. The sauce is ready. Now all we have to do it combine it all together.
**Tip: I used a slow cooker to make this roast. Dumped it into the slower cooker bowl and cooked it on low for about 8 hours. It’s a great thing to do in the morning and then it’ll be ready to go by the time you get home. If you don’t own a slow cooker or don’t want to use it, that’s okay. You can transfer everything back to the large pot and place it in a 275°F oven for about 4 to 5 hours, covered.**
But like I said, I dumped it all into my slow cooker and called it a day.
Nestle the roast around the veggies and then pour the sauce over it all. Cover and let it cook, whichever method you choose. Either way, you’ll end up with delicious pot roast that’ll fall apart like butter. That’s the best kind of roast. See you in eight hours (or four if using the oven)!
So while the roast cooks, you can do a number of things. You can rest and relax. Take a load off and just enjoy life. You can clean and organize or get some work done (no fun). You can also make some buns for the sliders, later on. I don’t know, might sound like a good idea. It just so happens, our last post was a slider bun recipe. Coincidence? Get the recipe here for Everything Slider Buns.
Let’s pretend that the time is flying by. The roast is almost ready. An hour before it’s done, you’re going to proceed to the next steps. Let’s make the Sriracha Aioli. Aioli is basically a fancy term for homemade mayo. No big deal. You can totally do it. And sriracha, well that needs to introduction.
You’re going to need a food processor or blender for this. Dump in an egg, grated garlic, dijon mustard, and fresh lemon juice. Pulse or blend until it comes together smoothly.
While the blender or processor are running, slowly stream in the canola oil and purée until the mixture gets thick and creamy. It’s like magic. Mayo is super easy to make. Mayo is magic.
Season with salt, pepper, and lots and lots of sriracha. You can add as much or as little as you’d like, depending on how spicy you like it. Blend once more.
Taste the aioli and check for seasonings. You can add more salt or pepper or sriracha if you think it needs it. Then transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.
**Tip: The sriracha aioli will keep in the fridge for up to a week. It’s great for all your dipping needs. Dip fries or onion rings into it. Use it as mayo for sandwiches or burgers! Eat it by the spoonful, not that I did that or anything. What were we talking about?**
Another layer of flavor that we’re going to add to our sliders is avocado. Everyone loves avocado, I’m no exception. It’s a requirement for these sliders. We’re trying to make the “ultimate” slider, remember?
Grab a few avocados, cut them in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. That’s all you need. Now just smash it together with a fork.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge in the meantime. Resist the urge to just dig in, right at this moment. I know how tempting it could be, but we need to save it for the sliders. Must save for sliders. Must save for sliders. Must save for…
Okay, so let’s get started on that last step. We’re going to make some crispy fried onions to put inside as well. So thinly slice a few yellow onions and throw them into a bowl with the buttermilk.
In a shallow dish (I like to use a pie plate) season a bit of flour with salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir it with a fork to combine.
Dip some of the buttermilk onions into the flour and toss them around to fully coat. Make sure that they are coated evenly. It’s going to get messy and your fingers are going to get all gunky, but that’s okay. It’s worth it. Crispy fried onion rings are always worth it. Don’t you forget that.
**Tip: You can use tongs to dip and coat and toss the onions but I feel like your hands are really the best tools for this. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty in the kitchen, every now and then. That’s half the fun.**
Shake off the excess flour and drop the onions into a skillet with hot oil. Fry for a few minutes per side until they are golden brown and crispy. As soon as they come out of the oil, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to catch the excess oil, you can hit them with a bit of salt at this point, if you wish.
I’m usually telling you to resist the urge to sneak a taste of something, but this time I’ll give you permission. Try some of those onions while they’re still warm. They’re delicious. Try dipping them into the sriracha aioli. You’ll want to for sure. Continue to fry all the onions. You can place them onto the sliders at room temperature or arrange them on a baking sheet and rewarm them in the oven before using.
So that’s it. We’re finally done preparing all the different components for the sliders. Finally, I know! It seemed like forever but now the fun part is about to begin. The moment we’ve all been waiting for.
Let’s not forget about that pot roast, though. Once it’s done, the meat will be tender and the vegetables perfectly soft. Slice the roast into pieces, discarding the fatty parts. Don’t forget to fish out the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Toss those out.
We’re going to assemble the sliders now. Just one more step before you can actually devour them. You made it this far, you might as well take it all the way. Warm a few of these homemade buns, in the oven. ( I guess, you can also just use store bought slider buns or dinner rolls instead. I’m a reasonable guy, I know we don’t always have the time to make fresh bread).
Spread some of that delicious sriracha aioli on the bottom part of the buns.
Add a few slices of cheddar cheese on top of that and then some of that killer pot roast (with a few of the pot roast veggies too).
Top them with a few (or as many will stay on top) of those crispy onion rings. Then finally spread some of the mashed avocado onto the top part of the bun.
Place the top bun on and you are ready to go. Stand back and admire your work of art. They’re almost too perfect to eat…almost.
They’re definitely worth all the time and effort. In retrospect, the pot roast is really easy. You just basically threw it all together and let it do its thing for some hours. No fuss and no muss. It’s great because if you do use the slow cooker, you can set it and forget it. Leave it cooking in the morning, while you’re at work and then when you come back home, it’s ready to go.
Even if you don’t make the sliders, you can at least use the pot roast recipe for a weeknight dinner. A great solution would be to make the pot roast for dinner one night, serve it with a salad on the side, maybe some kind of pasta salad or something. Then with the leftovers, you can make these sliders. That way you get two different meals with the same dish. That’s a great way to disguise leftovers. I’m all for leftovers, in fact I think they taste better the next day, however, my sister hates them so I like to transform them as much as I can so that she doesn’t complain.
You can take a few shortcuts like using dinner rolls or buns you’ve found at the grocery store. You can also skip the crispy onions if you think it’s too much work or if you don’t feel like frying up some onions. They’re pretty amazing though. You can also make these into full-sized burgers if you want, instead of these tiny sliders.
These sliders are actually great for a party or gathering because you can serve them at room temperature. They are just as good, cold. A lot of the components you can make in advance, like the rolls, the pot roast, the aioli and just warm it all up and assemble them on the day of the party. They’re the perfect snack because it’s actually quite filling. Give them a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Pot Roast Sliders
We’re taking homemade pot roast and turning it into the ultimate sliders. It’s like comfort food meets comfort food. This is a pretty basic pot roast recipe that you can use just by itself, without the whole slider concept. The best part about it is that it gets better the next day, so you can make it one night for dinner with some sides and then turn the leftovers into sliders for another delicious dinner idea.
yield: 12 to 16 sliders
- 4 to 5 pound chuck roast (boneless)
- kosher salt and black pepper
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 5 yellow potatoes, cubed
- 1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 cups beef stock
- 2 avocados, smashed with lemon juice, salt and pepper
- cheddar cheese slices
- sriracha aioli (recipe follows)
- crispy fried onions (recipe follows)
- everything slider buns (recipe here), or store bought rolls or buns
1. Heat a large pot (dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the roast, liberally with salt and pepper, on both sides. Coat in flour and shake excess. Place in the heated oil and sear for about 5 to 7 minutes per side, until the outside develops a crispy and brown crust. Transfer the roast to a plate or platter to rest.
2. Add 1 tablespoon more of oil and throw in the onions and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the onions have softened. Add the rest of the vegetables, celery, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, leeks, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Sauté for a few minutes until the fews begin to softened, but not all the way. Transfer the veggies to a platter or plate. Add the rest of the oil and cook the tomato paste for a few minutes until it gets bright red. Throw in the ⅓ cup flour, wine and beef stock. Whisk until it’s completely smooth. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until it has thickened and become smooth. Place the roast, veggies, and sauce in a slow cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours. Or you can combine everything in a heavy duty pot, cover it and place in a 275° oven for about 4 to 5 hours, or until the meat is tender and soft. Once the roast has cooked, slice it and arrange with the sauce and veggies.
3. To make the sliders, warm the buns and slice them in half. Slather the bottom half with sriracha aioli, place a few slices of cheddar cheese. Top with some of the pot roast (veggies included). Add some crispy onion rings. Spread the top bun with smashed avocado and top the slider. Spear a long tooth pick to keep them together. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Fair warning, this sriracha aioli is addicting. It’s pretty much homemade mayo, mixed with sriracha. It’s great as a spread for burgers or sandwiches, but also really tasty as a dipping sauce for fries, onion rings and fried pickles. Make a batch at the beginning of the week and keep in the fridge for the rest of the week.
yield: about 1 cup
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¾ to 1 cup canola oil
- 3 tablespoons sriracha (more or less, depending on your taste)
- salt and pepper for taste
1. Combine the egg, lemon juice, garlic and mustard in a food processor or blender. Blend until completely smooth. While the blender or food processor is running, slowly stream in the oil until it has thickened. Add the sriracha and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Purée once more to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container for about 1 week. Enjoy!
Crispy Fried Onion Strings
I’m using these fried onions as topping for these ultimate sliders, but you can definitely slice the onions a bit thicker and serve them as a side instead of french fries.
yield: a lot of onion strings
- 1 large yellow onion (or 2 medium), thinly sliced into rings
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- canola or vegetable oil for frying
1. Heat a deep pot or skillet with high sides over medium-high heat, filled with about 3 inches of oil, enough for frying.
2. In large bowl combine the sliced onions with the buttermilk. Make sure they’re well coated. In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour and seasonings. Coat the buttermilk soaked onions with the seasoned flour, a few at a time. Don’t crowd the dish, you want to make they’re completely coated. Shake off the excess flour.
3. Fry the coated onions in batches, for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain off excess oil and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Place the fried onions on a baking sheet and keep warm in a low oven, until ready to eat. Enjoy!