RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Alabama Slammers

I like burgers that are neat, compact, and easy to eat. No one should have to disjoint their jawbones to fit a burger into their mouth.
This recipe incorporates variations of several traditional Southern themes into its construction. Slammers (or sliders) have always been popular burgers, and pimento cheese, chow-chow, fried pickles, and summer squash are all linked with Southern meals.

Ingredients 

BURGER PATTY
2 lb ground beef (93% lean preferred)
6 oz bacon (about 8 slices finely chopped)
1/2 cup plain or panko bread crumbs
1 tsp Montreal Steak seasoning
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

BUNS
Your favorite dinner roll (2 - 3 inches diameter)
2 tbs melted butter
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs sesame seeds
Ground black pepper

TOMATO AND OKRA CHOW-CHOW
1 can (14.5 oz) diced canned tomatos
4-5 spears pickled okra, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely diced green pepper
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp mustard seed

SUMMER SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI SLAW
1 Yellow summer squash, seeded and finely sliced
1 Zucchini, seeded and finely sliced
2 tbs mayonnaise
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tbs honey
1/2 tsp horseradish
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
pinch salt

PIMENTO CHEESE CHIPS
8 oz Colby Jack cheese, shredded
1 oz Gorgonzolla cheese crumbles
Pimento slices
1/8 cup pecans
ground black pepper
Parchment paper

FRIED PICKLES
36 slices dill pickle
1/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions 

BURGER PATTIES
Place chopped bacon in a frying pan on a medium hot section of the grill. Fry until slightly browned around the edges, but not yet crispy. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel. Reserve 2 tbs of the fat. Mix reserved fat into bread crumbs.

Combine ground beef, bacon, bread crumbs, steak seasoning, and worcestershire sauce. Spread out on cutting board and press to about 3/8 inch thick. Using pizza cutter, cut into 18 rectangles, about 2 by 3 inches. Transfer to grill and cook until done.

BUNS
Cut dinner rolls in half horizontally. Combine melted butter, olive oil, and garlic powder. Brush on cut sides of dinner rolls. Sprinkle rolls with ground pepper. Place rolls cut side down on low heat area of grill. Brush butter on tops of rolls and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Grill until lightly toasted.

TOMATO AND OKRA CHOW-CHOW
Combine canned tomatos, okra, green pepper, and onion. Place into cheese cloth and wring tightly to remove as much moisture as possible. Place into mixing bowl and add sugar, vinegar, celery seed, and mustard seed. Stir to combine and set aside.

SUMMER SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI SLAW
Combine squash, zucchini, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, honey, horseradish, pepper and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.

PIMENTO CHEESE CHIPS
Place parchment paper on cooking sheet. Sprinkle about 2 tbs of colby jack onto paper, making 18 mounds about 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle about 1/8 tsp gorgonzolla on each mound of colby jack. Sprinkle 1/8 tsp pecans on each mound. Place two pimentos on each mound. Sprinkle with ground black pepper. Place on a low heat area of grill, cover grill and cook until cheese melts into chips and just start to brown around the edges. Remove cooking sheet from heat, slide off parchment paper and allow chips to cool.

FRIED PICKLES
Place small frying pan on grill and heat oil to approximately 350 degrees. Drain pickle slices and place on paper towel to dry completely. Combine corn meal, flour, salt, paprika, pepper, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. Combine egg and milk in separate bowl. Dip pickle slices into milk/egg, then coat with corn meal mixture. Place into hot oil and fry for approximately one minute per side until golden brown. Remove pickles and place on rack to drain.

ASSEMBLY
Spoon 1 tbs chow-chow onto bottom half of dinner roll. Place hamburger patty on chow-chow, then spoon 1 tbs slaw onto hamburger patty. Then place fried pickle and pimento cheese chip on top. Close with top half of dinner roll. Makes six servings of three slammers per serving.

Comments 

Most of the ingredients for this entry were inspired by my Grandmother. She and my Grandfather raised my Dad and Aunt during the depression in a small Virginia town in the Blue Ridge mountains. A garden was a necessity in those times, and until my Grandfather died they always kept a huge vegetable garden in the back of their small property to ensure they had enough food to make it through the winter. Even after my Grandfather died my Grandmother kept as large a garden as she could. She was famous for her chow-chow, pimento cheese, pickles, and slaws, and every year she would can as many vegetables as possible, and prepare jams and jellies to last through the winter. Of course they cured their own ham and bacon, as many rural people did back then.

I've tried to incorporate these Southern recipe traditions into this burger by including bacon with the burger, and by including chow-chow, slaw, fried pickles, and pimento cheese into the components of the recipe. These are not duplicates of how my Grandmother made these. For example, I used canned tomatos (which she would never have done). But I find that the canned tomato more closely resembles the texture and flavor of the tomatos in her canned chow-chow than fresh tomatos would. I also omitted mayonnaise from her Pimento cheese recipe in order to make chips, and added a slight amount of gorgonzola just to add a slightly different flavor. And of course Dijon mustard in the slaw would have been an unknown in her pantry back in those days, but I included it into the slaw recipe for its unique flavor. Nevertheless, I intended this recipe to be a tribute to her and all the other hardy souls in the depression era South who persevered through hard times to give us what we enjoy today.