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I Love Meatballs!
by Rick Rodgers

Here is the all-American cheeseburger, transformed into a meatball. As miniature versions of a bigger food item, sliders could share "the cute factor" with cupcakes. Adorability aside, I appreciate how they deliver so many elements in a couple of bites—meat, bun.and more in a compact and delicious package.
makes 12 sliders, 4 servings


    • 1 pound ground round (85 percent lean)
    • 1/3 cup dried plain bread crumbs
    • 1 large egg, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 12 (1/2-inch) cubes sharp Cheddar cheese, cut from brick cheese
    • 12 store-bought slider buns or small Parker House rolls, split
    • 2 leaves red-leaf lettuce, torn into 12 pieces
    • 12 dill pickle slices (optional)
    • Tomato ketchup


1. To make the meatball sliders, mix the ground round, bread crumbs, egg, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours

2. Prepare a medium-hot fire in an outdoor grill. Using your wet hands rinsed under cold water, shape the meat mixture into 12 equal meatballs. One at a time, flatten a ball slightly in your palms and completely wrap a cheese cube in the meat mixture. Transfer to a plate.

3. Scoop out some of the crumb from each bun to make more room for the meatballs. (Save the crumbs for another use, such as using in meatball recipes.) Set the buns aside.

4. To grill the meatballs with a basket, lightly oil the molds (a pump sprayer works best). Place the meatballs in the basket and close it. Place the basket on the cooking grate and cover. Grill the meatballs until the undersides are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Flip the basket over and grill until the other sides are lightly browned and the meatballs are medium-rare, about 3 minutes more. Remove the meatballs from the basket Transfer to a platter.

(To grill the meatballs without the basket, lightly oil the cooking grate. Place the meatballs on the grill and cover. Grill until the undersides are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Flip the meatballs and grill until the other sides are lightly browned and the meatballs are medium-rare, about 3 minutes Transfer to a platter.)

5. Place the buns on the grill and grill, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. For each slider, place a meatball on a bun bottom and top with a piece of lettuce and a pickle slice Add a dollop of ketchup. Add the bun top and serve warm.

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