Pretty much everything is adorable when it is smaller. Think about it.
Babies, ponies, Simone Biles, and Laurie Hernandez: you just want to stick ‘em in your pocket and take them home. Show The Kid a puppy, and you’ll see my grown, responsible adult child babble like a drunken toddler and swoon like a professional Southern Belle.
Food is the same way. Those little tiny ears of corn, could they be more precious? On pancake night, my mom used to always make me a small stack of the baby version—and they always tasted better.
Sliders; the miniature version of burgers are everywhere, from burger joints to fine dining. The burgers were popularized by the White Castle restaurant chain. The name came from the Navy, where the burgers were small, greasy, and slid down easy.
Last week I was wandering the interwebs and saw a great variation on hamburger sliders. Pork, sliced from a cooked tenderloin. What a great idea; with an approximately 2 ½-inch diameter they are the absolute perfect size for sliders.
I didn’t even stick around long enough to look at the recipe or see how they dressed the sliders. I had opened up my computer notepad, and was coming up with sandwich variations. I ended up with eleven different sandwiches.
But first, let’s cook our tenderloin.
Oven-roasted pork tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin, approx. 1 pound
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 425. Get a cast iron skillet almost smoking hot. While it’s heating, brush the oil all over the tenderloin. Liberally season the pork.
Insert a probe thermometer set to 145 for medium-rare up to 160 for medium. Place meat in skillet and sear, turning with tongs to brown the entire surface.
When the outside is caramelized, place the skillet with the pork into the oven, and cook until desired temp is reached. Remove, and let rest, lightly covered for 5-10 minutes.
With a very sharp knife slice into about 10-12 thin-ish slices (you’ll use two slices for each sandwich) Makes 5-6 sliders.
Variations on a Porky Theme:
*Unless another type of bread is noted use any kind of slider bun.
Autumn in Paris-Cut pieces of French bread cut to about 3 inches. Cut in half horizontally and give the bottom schmear of Dijonaise (50/50 ratio of mayo/Dijon), layer pork, thinly sliced apple slices, and Brie.
The Buckeroo-Place sharp cheddar on top of 2 slices tenderloin. Melt under broiler. Spread thin layer of mayo on the bottom and a mild barbecue sauce on cut side of the top of a Hawaiian roll. Add crispy bacon and tomato.
The Croque-Mix strawberry jam with a little Balsamic vinegar. Spread on the bottom bun. Lay on meat, then arugula and shaved red onion.
The Petey (it’s how he likes his ham sandwiches)-Spread mayonnaise on bottom bun. Layer pork, white American cheese, and kettle potato chips.
Hey Mack-Diced onion, dill pickle slices, American cheese, and 1000 Island dressing.
The Kid-Mix lemon juice into Duke’s mayo to taste. Spread on bottom bun, then layer pork, crispy pancetta, kale shoots, and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
The What?-Spread Miracle Whip on bun. Add pork, fried green tomato, and pea shoots.
The Bayless-Green salsa on bottom bun. Melt Queso fresco or Oaxaca on the pork, then add thinly sliced avocado.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have space for all of my ideas. You are welcome to email me and I’ll send you the rest, or…have some fun with the family coming up with some ideas of your own.
Thanks for your time.