Sliders

Formerly a disrespected black sheep in the hamburger family, the slider became trendy in the early 21st century. For a while, it was not unusual to find one-ounce hamburgers nestled in brioche microbuns served as butlered hors d’oeuvre at cocktail parties and on menus in expensive taverns. A gourmet slider might taste good – what’s not to like about a divot of grilled kobe beef? – but the soul of a true slider is déclassé; and classic slider service is off an oily grill under florescent lights.

Aficionados consider the Cozy Inn of Salina, Kansas, to be Mecca of the itty-bitty burger world. Opened in 1922, one year after White Castle debuted farther south in Wichita, this eat shack with its 6-stool counter claims the high moral ground in terms of burger purity by refusing even to offer cheese. You could get one without pickles, but that would be a mistake, as the deuce of dills in the bun actually outweighs the meat and contributes significantly to the Cozy Inn magic. Grilled onions are mandatory; their smell is as much a component of the little sandwiches as meat itself. The slippery pucker of the pickles and onions teases maximum flavor from the elusive little patty. You can buy a single slider for a dollar and change; but nobody eats just one. They are consumed as trios and quartets and by the dozen.

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