This post is sponsored by The Home Depot*.
It’s finally the season for game day, and that means it’s time to get your game face ready! No, not for the State vs Tech matchup, for the tailgate (or, even better, “home-gate.”) As anyone who cooks out for the big game knows, it’s not enough to just feed people, you have to win. Well, with a little planning, I can guarantee you’re going to leave the other team in the dust!
The recipes below are going to be for sriracha-garlic turkey sliders, Italian meatball sliders and, of course, burger sliders. The meats are very good, but the true magic in a slider bar is having an amazing array of toppings. Let your imagination run wild! I love everything pickled, so I make sure to have giardiniera, pickled okra, hot and spicy dills, and grilled pickled peppers. I also heated up some marinara for the meatballs (check out that cute little cast iron pot) and have a variety of condiments and cheeses. Speaking of condiments, don’t stop with the standard ketchup/mayo/mustard. Sooooo boring. I went for some chipotle aioli, sweet chili sauce, stone ground mustard and more.
For this awesome slider bar spread, I teamed up with The Home Depot and one of the most iconic grills ever made, the Weber Kettle grill. When you’re looking to get your grill on, go no further than the Home Depot. They’ve got a ton of grills and all the charcoal, grilling accessories, and grills that you’ll ever need. If you’re looking for good equipment at a great value, then the Home Depot is your place.
Why is a Weber Grill so iconic?
About the Weber, it’s really an icon in American grilling history. It was introduced in 1952 with (at the time) ground-breaking grilling innovations such as a tight-fitting lid and adjustable air vents. This allowed the backyard griller, for really the first time, to have a readily accessible grill that could produce a great product, cookout after cookout. The Weber was also introduced at a price that made it affordable for the average consumer. It has been a huge hit since it was introduced.
I have a ton of grills. Like, a whole lot. BBQ has been really, really good to me, and luckily I have a three-car garage devoted to nothing but grills, restaurant equipment, and supplies. I have grills from the 1950s through prototypes that companies will be releasing in the future. However, a 22.5 inch Weber Grill will always have space on my patio (where I keep my go-to grills in “rotation.”) Why? It’s simple, it’s classic, and it’s extremely versatile.
Want to grill a steak? Perfect. The kettle is made for it. Want to smoke a Boston butt? No problem, simply stack your charcoal to one side, put a water pan over the coals, and put the butt on the other side. Add the wood of your choice and smoke away. You’ll soon get the hang of maintaining the proper temp by adding just a few briquettes of charcoal or chunks of wood every hour. You’ll end up with some succulent pork for a fraction of the price of some smokers. Will it take a bit more work? Sure, but when you can save thousands and still have an amazing product- who cares?
So, why do I need a Weber Kettle?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Below are some situations and some different ways to set up a 22.5″ Weber Kettle.
Q- How much charcoal do I need?
A- A lot less than you think. The Weber Kettle is an efficient cooking machine. I usually use a charcoal chimney to light my coals, and one chimney of lit coals is more than enough for most grilling applications.
Q- I’ve got a baseball team coming over for dogs and burgers. What do I do?
A- Get some coals across the bottom, with maybe 2/5th of the grill not covered in coals. You are “grillin'” and only grilling! Use commercial hot dogs and thin burger patties (those little heathens will love them!) If you get a flare-up, use your small safety zone to move the meat to keep it from burning.
Q- The office is coming over (8 people,) How do I cook for them and make them think I know what I’m doing?
A- First, relax. Secondly, slow down when you’re starting the charcoal (see the first question.) Most people flip out and think more charcoal for more people. No, that is not the case. Unless, of course, you want everyone at the office to think you invented “Pittsburgh raw” steaks or burgers. Ask for temps ahead of your cook, and put the more well-done steaks on ahead of the others. Get grill marks, then move to the cooler side. Put on your rare and medium-rare steaks. Keep grilling until they hit the desired temp (WHAT? You don’t have an instant-read thermometer? Do not pass go, and head directly to Home Depot to pick one up!)
Q- I’ve got some thick ribeyes that I want to cook. How do I cook them without over-charring the outside?
A- Simply set up the kettle with a “two-zone fire.” This means to put all of your charcoal on one side of the grill and have the other side as a resting zone. You can then cook your steaks traditionally- searing the outside first then moving to the cooler zone to finish. Or, my favorite way to cook a thick steak is the “reverse-sear method.” Start the steaks on the cool side, allow them to get to within 20 degrees of your desired finish temperature. When the steaks get to that temp, place them on the hot side for a good sear and some grill marks. With this method, resting the meat after it finishes is not necessary, so chow down!
Umm, get back to the sliders!
Sometimes I get off on a tangent. Sorry, but I do love cooking on kettles. Here are a few helpful hints about making sliders, then we’ll get to the recipe.
First, a kitchen scale is helpful but not mandatory. I usually make 2 oz patties for sliders. Just because it’s a slider doesn’t have to mean it has to be super thin. If you make your patties 2 oz, you’ll get a nice little patty that’s thick enough to stay juicy, but small enough to fit on a slider bun. When using a scale, go on and make all the ground meat into 2 oz balls, then go back and press them into patties.
Secondly, cold meat and damp hands make for nice smooth patties. If you are taking these to the game, make the patties and place on wax paper, then keep in an enclosable plastic container. Keep refrigerated. For the Italian meatballs, I simply bought fresh, pre-made Italian meatballs from my local grocery and flattened them a bit. Who says this has to be a lot of work?
Third, while I’m just making turkey, burger and sausage sliders, don’t let that hold you back. Cut chicken breasts into smaller pieces, use portobellos, pork tenderloin medallions or anything you want for your sliders. Almost anything is fun to eat on slider buns!
*This post and social media referrals are sponsored by the Home Depot. However, all opinions, reviews, information and advice contained within are my own and I was not influenced in those opinions by my sponsor or clients.