I often get inspiration from food shows such as “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “Man Vs. Food”, which means that I often use the Pressure Cooker, a potentially healthy method of cooking, to make junk food (though I contend that it is still healthier than some of the other methods of preparing such things). One such inspiration was when Adam Richman, of Man Vs. Food was visiting Ted’s in Connecticut, whose specialty is Steamed Cheeseburgers.
Since there is an entire country between where I live in SoCal, and Ted’s on the East Coast, I figured I wouldn’t be able to visit there any time soon, especially considering that I was craving a steamed cheeseburger now. Oddly enough, my home kitchen is not outfitted with a special cheeseburger steamer, but I started thinking, which is often a dangerous proposition, “Hmmm… I don’t have a special cheeseburger steamer, but I do have one of the finest means of creating steam in existence – my pressure cooker!” And while I was at it, I got the inspiration to combine the steamed cheeseburgers with the sliders that are dear to my heart thanks to my mid-west upbringing, and besides, sliders would fit better in the pressure cooker.
Once I had my plan in place, I headed to the local Trader Joe’s to pick up the necessary ingredients – a pound on 80/20 ground beef, a hunk of sharp cheddar, and Trader Joe’s mini hamburger buns along with a couple sweet potatoes to make an accompaniment of homemade sweet potato chips.
That evening I gathered the ingredients and got to work preparing vittles for myself and the S.O.
I had a pound of meat and 8 buns, so it didn’t take a genius to figure out that I would make 8 2-ounce burgers. I got out my trusty kitchen scale and started forming the balls. After the first one, it was easy to grab 2-ounce pieces. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t gotten a scale that so closely resembles my iPad. Often is the time I have nearly slapped a slab of meat down onto my iPad, only to catch myself in time and exclaim “Oh, crap!”, except for the time it was a fish and I exclaimed “Oh, carp!”
With steamed cheeseburgers, the cheese is melted in a separate container along with the burgers. It took a bit of kludging, but I managed to rig up a makeshift burger steamer using a stainless steel pressure cooker insert, a tripod and a mini cocotte which came as a bonus with my Staub dutch oven.
The eight burgers were a tight fit, but I got them all in, and using the tripod and cocotte, I suspended the cheese container above the burgers.
For the steaming liquid, I used one of my favorites, beer (it’s not just for drinking anymore). I used Anchor Steam, a California favorite, simply because that’s what I had on hand
I kept it at full pressure for five or six minutes before removing it from the heat. I did a quick release and opened ‘er up. There I gazed upon eight succulent slabs of deliciousness, and a container of gooey, melty cheese.
The secret to sliders is to not try to pile much onto the tiny buns. I opted for a pickle slice, a few diced onions and some thousand island dressing.
Although I had used the trick of making an indent in each patty to compensate for the burgers expanding in the center, some of them still bore an uncanny resemblance to meatballs. I will probably try to make them a bit flatter next time.
After I placed them on the buns, I spooned some of the melted cheese on top, placed them on the plate next to the homemade sweet potato chips (which were quite tasty, despite the burn marks on my arm), and dug in.