Detroit: A Tour of Motown's Sliders
A few years ago, AHT founder Adam Kuban made a forceful argument regarding the use of the word slider. At the time, there was a trend afoot for restaurants to make mini fancy burgers, often out of animals other than cow, and label them sliders. Adam acknowledged he was fighting a losing battle but felt the distinction had to be drawn. I'm here to join in his losing fight and say those burger stubs are not sliders.
A true slider, the kind that makes my mouth water when I think of it, starts with a tiny beef patty, likely made of two ounces of meat or less, that's steamed atop a bed of thoroughly griddled onions before getting a nice sear around the edges. The patty is then placed on a soft bun, preferably with a healthy dose of the aforementioned onion along with cheese and a few pickle slices. There is nothing gourmet about a slider. The meat is typically not all that beefy, the buns are sugar-loaded processed breads, and the cheese is always American. But when cooked properly, sliders can be small bites of beef heaven.
As a proud Chicagoan, it pains me that my city has a glaring weakness when it comes to sliders. As far as I know, sliders don't exist here other than at White Castle. So when I travel to a place that does offer old school sliders, I feel compelled to check them out. I did it two and half years ago at Eat Rite Diner in St. Louis and again on two recent trips to Detroit, a place that ranks with New Jersey in terms of slider greatness.
Check out the slideshow for some details on seven of Detroit's best-known sliders.