BYÂ EMMA HABERMAN
I’d like to take this time to address two commonly misnamed bar staples: Buffalo wings and sliders. Though not actually misnamed, the origin of Buffalo wings’ name has baffled many a bar patron after a few too many suds. “But buffalo don’t even have wings!” Let’s clear this up right now – Buffalo wings are named for the city of their creation, Buffalo, New York, and defined byÂ their tangy, fiery sauce, usually served with blue cheese, celery and carrots.
Sliders are a more complicated matter. We loosely use the word to refer to any miniature burger, when in fact it refers to a very specific sandwich. A slider is a very thin patty of beef that is cooked on a griddle with onions and pickles piled on top. Though similar to a hamburger, what truly identifies a slider is the onion flavor that permeates the meat from the steam cooking. Mini-burgers are shrunken versions of traditional hamburgers, and come in all flavors and variety, including the one below.
These miniature burgers play on traditional Buffalo wing flavors by filling patties of actual buffalo meat, spiked with red onions and hot sauce, with Gorgonzola cheeseÂ (side note: I left out the carrots and the celery, since I don’t think that carrots belong on a burger and I never developed a taste for celery). Cooking with buffalo meat may make some wrinkle their noses, but buffalo is actuallyÂ more nutritious and environmentally friendly than beef. The two have a very similar taste, but buffalo has a lighter, almost sweeter flavor that doesn’t leave your mouth feeling greasy. Perhaps this is because buffalo has 70%-90% less fat than beef, and on average 50% less cholesterol. It’s also a great source of essential fatty acids and iron.
Most buffalo in the United StatesÂ are fed only grass, with no added hormones, antibiotics or steroids, so you can be pretty sure you’re eating all-natural meat. The catch is that buffalo can be hard to find (though it is readily available at most Whole Foods markets) and costs a few dollars more per pound than ground beef. The investment is worth it for a flavorful, lean burger that gives “Buffalo wing” a whole new meaning.
1 pound ground buffalo meat
6 mini potato burger buns
3 tablespoons hot sauce
1/2 red onion
1/4 pound Gorgonzola cheese, cut into 6 pieces
A few handfuls of your favorite leafy green
- Slice a few thin rings off of the onion and set aside to use as a topping. Dice the rest of the onion.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the buffalo, hot sauce, diced onion, salt and pepper together until well-blended. Form the meat into 12 3-inch discs. Tuck a hunk of Gorgonzola on 6 of the patties. Top them with the remaining patties and press together so that you have 6 Gorgonzola stuffed mini-burgers with a 3-inch diameter.
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized skillet. Cook the burgers, 3 at a time, for 3 minutes on each side until completely browned. Place on a foil-lined baking pan.
- Place the burgers under the broiler for 5 minutes on high heat. After 2 minutes, add the opened buns so that the insides toast. The burgers should be cooked through and the cheese should be melted.
- Serve the burgers topped with greens, sliced red onion, and ketchup or extra hot sauce if desired.
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Photos: Emma Haberman
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