I really have been in fun food mode, especially with Halloween coming up and fall here. See, in the summer most of us Minnesotans are out doing whatever we can to take advantage of the weather, but when fall comes we like to tuck in and party at home. Or at least I do! And especially if I have Juicy Lucyfer Sliders.
See, once I got the idea of a Juicy Lucyfer Slider, which is a play on our local Minnesota tradition of the Juicy Lucy, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. And in my mind, the Lucyfer slider has just got to be a devilish little version of my full-size Juicy Lucy – the Ultimate Cheese Stuffed Burger, only with a touch of heat and a touch of sweet!
About Juicy Lucyfer Sliders:
First of all, a Juicy Lucy has to have cheese, and my Juicy Lucyfer Sliders deliver on that count, with a good dose of melty, ooey gooey pepper jack cheese. Or maybe habanero pepper jack if you prefer. I’m either getting old and jaded or pepper jack cheese doesn’t pack the punch that it used to. Maybe it depends, too, on what brand of pepper jack cheese you use, but my sliders were actually quite mellow. (If you’re after more heat, another option would be to add diced up some Pickled Jalapeno Peppers to your cheesy layer.)
Then we have to top the Juicy Lucyfer Sliders with something, right? And what could be better than a crispy bacon, but not just any ordinary bacon. This is bacon slathered with Jalapeno Pepper Jelly. Hot Pepper Jelly it’s sometimes called. It’s easy to make Jalapeno Pepper Jelly Bacon. Just cook your bacon on a sheet tray, like I do for my Buffet Style Oven Baked Bacon, preferably on a rack and when it’s just done but not too too crispy, slather it with the Hot Pepper Jelly and turn on the broiler. Watch it closely, though! We want a little heat but no fire!
Then I anguished a bit (do I take food too seriously? don’t answer that! Uff-da) about what else to put on my devilish little sliders. Ketchup just didn’t seem right, and neither did any of the standard toppings. I thought about a little more of the Hot Pepper Jelly as a glaze and then decided that would be a little too match, matchy. So on went this Honey Chipotle Glaze that I usually make for my Grilled Flank Steak with Honey Chipotle Glaze. It added a depth and earthiness that grounded the brasher jalapeno. I doubled it so it could be a glaze and then passed for anyone that wants more. That is a seriously delish little condiment.
Making Juicy Lucyfer Sliders:
There is nothing so delish as a Juicy Lucy. Biting into that burger with the center of molten (yeah always let them rest for a minute) cheese is not just an amazing taste but an experience. And there’s nothing worse than the when expectations don’t meet reality. It’s a bummer when the cheese has all leaked out of your Juicy Lucy.
So Juicy Lucys aren’t hard to make, but over the years I’ve made many and came up with an absolutely foolproof method that will ensure your Juicy Lucy (or in this case your Juicy Lucyfer Sliders) will work every time with every single burger. It takes a little time and its a bit fussy – precise, but if you think all you have to do is take a ball of ground beef and stuff a piece of cheese in it, you will be sorely disappointed with the results. Or at least someone will. Because some of them will inevitably leak. So follow my method and you’ll have results like mine – with every single Jucy Lucy you make. You can see this same method on my post for The Juicy Lucy – the Ultimate Cheese Stuffed Burger, too, with a little more explanation.
Almost everytime I come up with an idea, I google around to see if anyone else has done it – and surprise, someone usually has and usually a lot of people! A major TV network, I won’t say which, did a Jucy Lucyfer Slider – but they used the ball method and then in their video, after showing all the burgers on a sheet tray with the cheese blown out, then showed a cut burger with melty cheese inside. It was doctored. Shame, shame, shame. So here’s the difference between the burgers made with the stuff a piece of cheese in a ball method and my fussier method.
Saving Money on Juicy Lucyfer Sliders:
Buy cheap ground beef for your Juicy Lucyfer Sliders. Actually, the quality is up to you, but buy ground beef that is 80/20 or 75/25 and preferably one that has never been frozen. This burger is manipulated quite a bit and pressed together and a leaner beef will really taste like sawdust with all that handling. The extra bit of fat also helps make the cheese ooey and gooey. The advantage is that the fattier beef is going to taste so much better and the bonus is that it is probably a lot less expensive than the leaner ground beef. I normally buy ground beef in larger packages and freeze for when I need it, but when the burgers do matter, I don’t like frozen ground beef.
As far as the bacon, here again, you want a decent bacon but not a premium thick cut. Once the jelly is slathered on and it’s broiled, it will crisp up and that Hot Jalapeno Jelly will practically turn that bacon into candy. A thick bacon will be just too hard to easily bite through.
Just like when I made my Chicken Cordon Bleu Sliders the other day, I chose to use dinner rolls as my slider buns. These came from Aldi and were brioche rolls, but hey, for a party? They were $3.29 I think, for a dozen. A lot more than the potato bun rolls I got from my grocery bakery when I made Chicken Cordon Bleu Sliders. As far as the cheese, cheese is an item I really look for on sale or at Aldi. If the cheese isn’t opened, it keeps for weeks in the fridge and can be frozen if needed. When thawed it can be crumbly, which is fine for casseroles and items like this, but not so good for slicing or snacking. Keep your block of cheese clean, don’t use the counter to cut it on (counters can be so dirty) and use a clean knife. Immediately slip any remaining the cheese right into a Ziploc if there’s leftover and it will keep much longer.
Juicy Lucyfer Sliders
Refer to photos for preparation and assembly.
- 20 ounces of ground beef
- about 5 ounces pepper jack cheese, slice into 1-ounce slices, then slice each one in half the long way
- salt and pepper
- 6 slider or bakery dinner rolls
- 6 good slices of bacon (if your bacon is “scrappy” make an extra slice or so
- hot pepper jelly
- Honey Chipotle Glaze, doubled, from this recipe
In the photos below for assembly, I didn’t mention to season the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper before adding the cheese to what will be the inside of the burgers and also the top after assembly. It’s best to mix a small amount of salt and pepper and place it in a small bowl.
To cook the burgers: Preheat broiler on high for at least 10 minutes before baking sliders. When ready to bake, place sliders on a rack over a foil-lined sheet tray on oven rack. The rack should be set exactly in the middle of the oven six to 8 inches from the broiler. Broil on high for 7 minutes. The timing is rather particular – the burger has to be in the oven long enough to melt the cheese but no so long that it causes the cheese to expand and ooze out, so customizing your burger to cook to other temperatures such as rare, medium, well done, etc. is at your own risk.
Remove immediately (or they could stick) and rest for about 3 minutes before serving, which is just long enough to assemble. Place on buns, brush with the Honey Chipotle Glaze, top with bacon and top with bun. Serve with additional glaze.
To make the Jalapeno Jelly Bacon:
Follow this recipe for Buffet Style Bacon, preferably cooking on a rack over the foil-lined pan, but just before the bacon is “crisp” but after most of the fat has rendered, remove from oven, drain grease and brush bacon generously with hot pepper jelly. It’s best to place two tablespoons of the jelly into a small bowl so as not to contaminate the whole jar. You may need to spoon a small bit onto each piece of bacon and then spread it as it melts on the hot bacon.
Place bacon back in oven and turn on the broiler, watching closely, until the jelly bubbles. Remove and place on a paper towel lined surface for just a minute to absorb the excess grease, then remove quickly or the bacon may harden on the paper towel.
Note: Do not serve Juicy Lucyfer Sliders too soon or the molten cheese may cause burns, do not wait too long or the burger may cool and the cheese will no longer be melty.
How to make Juicy Lucyfer Sliders:
I’ll be sharing Juicy Lucyfer Sliders at Fiesta Friday #246, hosted this week by me. That’s right! I get to co-host Fiesta Friday along with Mila @ Milkandbun. Mila is an amazing blogger and baker, a Russian Ex-pat living in Dubai and you never know what glorious specialty she might toss out next.