White Castle virgin no more

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Last week was a whirlwind visit to Michiana for a friend’s wedding, and a perfect opportunity for some de-virginizing: White Castle, that is.




White Castle slider in box – Chicago, Illinois

by Flickr user Marshall Astor – Food Pornographer

10 clammy burgers later… I’m still not sure what my verdict is. Those are some odd little sandwiches. With that steamed sticky texture, they seem more related to bao than to burgers.

Hmm- what’s the next travel-to-food item I should cross off my list?

19 Comments

posted August 14th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Hmm. That description you gave of those burgers just might have killed whatever vague and slight curiosity I had about White Castle.

Not that this is a bad thing…I’m just sayin.

- Kim
posted August 14th, 2008 at 1:04 pm

Congrats?

Did you have them as a regular meal? Because sliders are best eaten in a certain setting: say, after Friday Night Bowling League, when Sam and Nancy run up to the WC and bring back a bag of 40 of them and everyone chows down before moving on.

Next time you’re in Chicago maybe see if you can make it to one of the original deep-dish pizza places, or just get an authentic Chicago hot dog. I too love trying out the local specialties when we travel!

I see your point-
We did eat them in a particular setting: around midnight local time, in a car, in the parking lot, while marveling over the fact that we just ordered 10 burgers with 2 fries. :) Yeah, needed beer.

–McAuliflower

- Peggasus
posted August 14th, 2008 at 1:25 pm

I find that White Castle (or Krystal in the south) is best eaten when you have had a few (or few to many) beers… You don’t notice the texture as much then.

Mmmm- bet you don’t have to chew them as much that way either!

cheers
–McAuliflower

- Jolene
posted August 14th, 2008 at 2:47 pm

I have to say I agree with Kim. As a transplant to the US, I’ve long wondered about these little burgers and had a desire to try them. No longer!

posted August 14th, 2008 at 3:59 pm

As the previous posters mentioned, sliders taste better after beers, and the time matters as well. They taste a lot better after 1 am. Preferably in the 2:30 – 3:00 am range. And then, they must be eaten with those little fried onion wedges they sell too…

Although, they do have other uses as well. When my mother was working as an RN for an OBGYN, they would “prescribe” white castles for constipated pregnant mothers.

- evan
posted August 15th, 2008 at 7:38 am

The southern U.S. equivalent of White Castle, a small square steamed beef patty with a little bit of onion on it, in a super light almost gummy if you let it sit too long white bun, is Krystal. You’ve heard of it from that Jimmy Buffett song, “… sittin’ in a Krystal just as drunk as we could be, in walks the deputy sheriff and he’s holdin’ our TV …”

We used to say “Krystal isn’t somewhere you go, it’s a place you end up”, reinforcing Evan’s notion that both alcohol and time matter a lot in the flavor.

However, your notion of relating them to bao makes a whole lot more sense. And has lowered my appreciation for dim sum…

posted August 15th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

two words … Maid Rite

Hmmmm- I need educating on that one!

–McAuliflower

- deanna
posted August 15th, 2008 at 3:57 pm

I (heart) White Castle.

- Shawn
posted August 17th, 2008 at 7:17 am

Maid-Rite = loose meat sandwiches. Kind of like the Lanford Lunch Box on Roseanne. I never really saw the appeal of them, really.

posted August 17th, 2008 at 7:39 am

Really, really.

posted August 18th, 2008 at 2:26 am

Love Michiana-vacationed there by the lake last summer! There are White Castles everywhere here in Ohio. My family loves sliders. Me-no thanks the smell is enough of a turn off!

posted August 18th, 2008 at 9:34 am

Have you tried Tommy’s Chiliburgers yet? You have to get the little yellow chilis to eat with them. Best for that late night/early morning-the alcohol is wearing off and we are starving moods.

- lori
posted August 18th, 2008 at 10:13 am

Omg. When I was living in NJ/NY, about every three months I’d have a White Castle craving and send the man out for a bagful of sliders. It’s not that they’re good exactly, it’s that when you want them nothing else will do. Just ask Harold and Kumar. *grin* (And don’t ever fall for that frozen box of LIES in the grocery store freezer- not the same at all.)

posted August 18th, 2008 at 10:20 am

Make them from scratch….they are great!

finely chop onions and cover a large griddle with them and cook until opaque. Lightly salt.

Meanwhile, make 4 inch square THIN hamburger patties with 4 small holes (like a 4 die cube). Place on top of the onions to cook and lightly cover with a sheet of foil. The hamburgers steam rather than fry. Cook until done to your liking ( I think about 10 minutes-it’s been a while since I did this)

Pull the patty with a huge blob of the onion mess and top with a pickle. Place on small potato dinner rolls

I cheat and add brown mustard on mine

- lori
posted August 18th, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Bleah!

- Les
posted August 19th, 2008 at 6:55 am

Haha. I live in Chicago and I’m still not sure if it’s something that’s decreased in quality over the years or if you just had to grow up with it, but somehow my grandpa can’t get enough White Castle whereas one trip in my lifetime was good enough for me!

posted September 1st, 2008 at 11:04 am

From a former Michigander…now living in the land of Krystals…who personally, if she must, would prefer to eat a White Castle over a Krystal any day…

1. During student teaching, my kids called them “gut bombs” from “Gut Bomb City”, which makes for even less appeal;

2. I’ve heard the secret to their…um…special texture is…baby food..you know…the beef baby food…like that..

- Mary
posted September 5th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I grew up in Louisville many, many years ago and I adore White Castle hamburgers. You are right, the frozen ones are not the same. It’s funny how we form some of our food tastes based on what we grew up eating. Thanks for the recipe. I’m anxious to try the steaming method.

- gloria sullivan
posted September 7th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

The recipe that Lori has won’t taste a thing like White Castle/Krystals- it will only taste like a standard hamburger which is not what a slider tastes like.

Add 1 lb ground beef with 2/3 beef broth. I also added some dehydrated onion flaked in it as well. Skip the baby food as the ones i’ve seen have a short shelf life and some complain that it generates an awful smell when cooked. Plus you definitely don’t need it.

Lay mixture on top of a saran covered baking sheet and cover with another layer of saran.

Flatten to about a quarter or an inch or the size or a standard slider with a rolling pin. Score meet with a pizza roller so they are 2 inch squares, poke holes into them with a straw then freeze. When frozen, you can properly break them by just snapping them apart at the score line.

Take boiling water, about a half cup to a cup (i make it as i go along) and add dehydrated onion flakes into it. Add a lot of the flakes. When they become soft in about 10 min, fire up a pan, add the water to the pan and drop in a few patties. Cook each side for 2 min.

When flipping over the first cooked side, lightly sprinkle the cooked side with a dusting of salt and onion powder (it doesn’t quite taste like a slider until i did this- also i used low sodium beef broth, so you may not need salt if you use regular strength broth) At this point, you can take some cheddar cheese and top with half a dinner roll and a dash of mustard on top to get steamed. Keep adding water if it gets low in the pan.

For a pickle, i used the sliced Vlasic garlic crips in a jar and cut them to size.

Don’t overcook the patty and let it burn, otherwise it will taste like a standard hamburger. The trick is to keep it cooking in a thin layer of water.

After the patty is done, cook off the water and scoop up the onion bits and add to the burger.

NOW you have a proper tasting slider!

- Jay

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