6.139 The Original Slider – Cheeseburgers


24 (Sun) May 2015

The Original Slider – Cheeseburgers


by White Castle

in my apartment

-Ermita, Manila-



Signed up for a membership to S&R, the local affiliate of Costco; the selection of products was disappointingly limited, but I did manage to pick up one gem.

The slider is an American sandwich.  It’s a special type of burger recognizable by its small square shape but defined by how it’s made.

The technique evolved in restaurants looking to quickly churn out simple portable burgers for customers on the run.

Traditionally, the process begins by spreading and grilling a large quantity of minced onions on a griddle with a touch of oil.  The onions are then topped with ground beef, either a gigantic ball that’s smashed directly on the griddle into a thin layer or a slab that’s been rolled out separately and the transferred to the griddle in whole.  The flavor of the onions underneath penetrates the beef as it cooks.  Meanwhile, the meat is divided with a cutter into equal squares — say, 10 patties across, 4 patties up — each about 8 cm (3 in) in length.  The patties are flipped over using a long spatula — say, 1 column of 4 patties at a time — exposing the onions now caramelized and imbedded in the beef.  While the flip side cooks, each patty is topped with a slice of pickle, a slice of cheese, and the top bun, which softens and takes on flavor from the steam rising from below and fuses with the melting cheese.  The bottom buns — square buns are also much easier to bake — are separately laid out and swiped with mayo/mustard/ketchup.  When the meat is cooked and the cheese is melted, the patties are transferred to the waiting bottom buns to complete the process — 40 sliders within minutes.

The etymology of the term is unknown, but it may refer either to how the cook manipulates the patties in a sliding motion and/or to how the burgers are rapidly prepared and slid down chute and/or to how smoothly the burgers slide down the throat.

Contrary to popular belief (see for example 2.084 American Burger…), a burger does not become a slider by virtue of merely being small or square.


White Castle is an American burger chain.  Founded in 1921 in Kansas.  Still family-owned.  Just over 400 branches, mostly in the mid-west, as well as a handful in New York City, where it’s long been an icon of street culture (e.g., The Beastie Boys often reference White Castle in their lyrics; the famous pig-out scene in Saturday Night Fever was filmed at a White Castle restaurant).  With the slider as its signature item, the company is attributed both for raising a working class dish of convenience to national fame and for pioneering the concept of fast food.  Nowadays, White Castle sliders are also available in frozen form at the supermarket.

No pickle.

The sliders were good, in the worst possible way.  Squishy bread, sweet onions, creamy processed cheese, savory beef — steamy perfection after 2 minutes in the microwave.  The four that I had here accounted for 620 calories (about 25% of my daily recommended intake), 16 grams of saturated fat (80%), 8 mg of cholesterol (26%), and 1220 mg of sodium (50%). I had room to eat at least 3 times as much, and would’ve had more if available.  Dangerous product.

By sheer coincidence, a recent episode of the new series Food Factory on the History Channel featured White Castle…
…and the company’s packaged food line.


2 thoughts on “6.139 The Original Slider – Cheeseburgers

  1. More like worms out DA BOX. Worm epidemic. Worm infestation. Worm overrun. Crawling zombie worms who won’t die overflowing the world with their wriggly worm bodies. Worms who float off in outer space, infiltrating every last corner of the known universe, infesting every single wormhole (ha) leaving no escape! You and your literal explanations. Embrace the vernacular once in a while!

    By the way, how have you been? Are you in Manila for good (until the worm takeover destroys the planet Earth)? or will you ever return to Korea?

  2. loving your job? lucky you! But don’t you miss your family? (Or are you going to drag them out there, too?)
    You’re anointing me with the award for “Most Literary Comment” – I’ll take it! And I’ve never thought of you as a foodie (jesus fucking christ I hate that word). You’re an epicure/gastronome for sure.

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