Sunday, June 5th, 2005

Wite Kastle Clones

The other day I was exploring the always lovely A Hamburger Today site and came across Adam’s post on making White Castle burgers. I thought it was absolutely hilarious and incredibly dedicated of him to make them at home. I’d never had a White Castle burger before and decided it was high time I figured out why people go nuts for them.

I followed the same recipe Adam used, with the glaring omission of the baby food. I just couldn’t go there. I mashed up my meat with the beef broth until it was almost soupy (p.s. it smelled really gross). I spread the beef mixture out on a tray, scored it and froze it. Adam said punching the trademark holes was optional, but I wanted the real thing, so I painstakingly punched out holes in the meat. After the final freezing, I separated my patties and thought they looked pretty good.

I soaked the dried onions in water (smelled extra gross) and fried up some wild boar bacon (covered up the yucky smells). Once the onions were, uh, “rehydrated”, I put them in a pan and fried them up with the burgers. I was intending to cook them just on one side, as true White Castle burgers are cooked, but it became apparent that if I didn’t flip them, I’d either end up with raw burgers or rubbery, over-cooked burgers. After the patties were cooked through, they neither looked nor smelled very appetizing.

I used cut up hot dog buns, on which I placed a single patty, a spoonful of “onions” and a dollop of ketchup. I ate it in about three bites. It was better than I expected, but it didn’t wow me. On slider number two, I added a slice of melted cheese and wild boar bacon. Better, but the strong “onion” taste overwhelmed the bacon—and it was still missing something. On the third try, I added a dab of mayo, a slice of unmelted cheese and salt. The salt was key and finally I understood why people love these burgers, in a closeted, guilty pleasure kind of way. I ended up eating quite a few.

Overall, it was a fun experience to make these, but it was pretty time consuming—and I’m not sure if they’re worth the effort. Maybe if you didn’t punch all the holes. I don’t know what real White Castle burgers taste like so I can’t really compare; maybe the baby food I left out really is the secret to making them outstanding… (shudder)

31 Responses to “Wite Kastle Clones”

  1. ladygoat says:

    How cute! I’ve only had sliders a few times, and I mostly enjoy them for the novelty of holding tiny burgers.

  2. megwoo says:

    I heart mini-burgers! But they are waaaay too easy to eat…

  3. William C says:

    I used to eat WC burgers when I lived in Missouri. Down south we have copycat burgers from a chain called Krystal. Many a late night in college was spent eating “sackfulls” of Krystal burgers and studying for tests with my buds. A guilty pleasure that I still savor, in secret!

  4. Adam says:

    Ah! Did you put a hearty pickle slice on there? The missing pickle round might explain why you had to add salt to the burger. Though my dad, who got me started on sliders, loves putting extra salt on his. (Then again, he puts extra salt on lots of things.)

  5. megwoo says:

    Oh no! I totally forgot the pickle!!! I still have some in the freezer that I plan to cook up… is there a specific pickle brand I should be using?

  6. Adam says:

    I don’t think the pickle brand matters that much. My main factor in deciding pickle brand was shape and thickness. I was being lazy, so I went for presliced pickle chips. There were several available, from “Zesty Garlic,” to “Hot-n-Spicy” to “Bread & Butter,” but I went with a basic kosher dill pickle chip. I finally chose Vlasic’s Ovals Hamburger Dill (it’s not displayed on their site) because it had a good thickness–not too thick, not too thin–and the chips weren’t overwhelmingly large.

    (Do you think I’m putting too much thought into this?)

  7. megwoo says:

    Ha ha! That’s great William! I have a few of those guilty food pleasures as well…

  8. megwoo says:

    Thanks Adam,
    I’ll look for pickle thickness and shape.
    … and I’m the wrong one to ask about food obsessing!

  9. kevin says:


    I ran across the followig at eGullet and thought you might appreciate it.

    Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.
    Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.
    Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Bacon.

  10. Kelly Cunningham says:

    Im sooooo fucking jealous.
    Do you think you could wrap one in saran and fed ex it overnight to ny?

  11. eliz says:

    an online 50s food party! i love it! i’ll have to realtime invite someone with a digital camera. is jello mold wrapped in bacon gross?

  12. megwoo says:

    Kevin – I LOVE THAT! It’s so true.

  13. megwoo says:

    Hey Kel,
    I knew you’d be jealous! You should make them for your party this weekend. They’d be perfect!

  14. megwoo says:

    Eliz – Let’s do it! And yes, I fear that jello mold bacon anything might be gross.

  15. eliz says:

    cool, how does it work? should we set a date? i’ve never had an online dinner date before. i’m going to a bbq on saturday. maybe i can inflict my 50s food on them. well, maybe that should be a trial run.

  16. I still remember someone on Oprah recreating WC hamburgers about 10yrs ago, to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd.

    We still don’t have them here Down Under.

  17. megwoo says:

    Eliz, yes! Let’s set a date. I’ll email you and we can work it out.

  18. megwoo says:

    I find that both hilarious and very sad about Oprah. I mean they’re good, but it’s kind of like oohing and ahhing over Krispy Cremes.

    You should make them at home and be the envy of all your friends!

  19. Meg
    Ok I think I was oohing and ahhing too. It was a whole epsidoe dedicated to recreating McDonalds special sauce, KFC coating and Wendy’s hotdogs etc etc

    Hey a lot of people still ooh and ahh over KKs here. We only just got them Down Under about 18mths ago. At one point they were almost worth their weight in gold. Sad but true.

  20. megwoo says:

    Ha ha, thanks Biggles. Right back at ya.

  21. megwoo says:

    AugustusGloop – That’s so funny. I guess if we didn’t have so much damn fast food over here, I would ooh and ahh too!

  22. Sweetnicks says:

    Never knew so much work went into making those tasty sliders. A new White Castle opened up near us a few months ago, and I finally got down there last weekend. Mmmmm, yummy!

  23. megwoo says:

    I know! Too much work. I think I need to try a real White Castle burger.
    Anyone know when they’re planning to open in Seattle?

  24. We attempted a similar technique last year during football season with the same success, though I think cheese and pickles are a must.

    To say there was gastric discomfort for everyone involved later that evening is an incredible understatement.

  25. megwoo says:

    Oh no! I bet it was those nasty dehydrated onions!

  26. Simon says:

    Hey I just went to White Castle last night. http://www.PlateOftheDay.com/132/ It’s awesome. I love your post – I’d like to try it out sometime.

  27. megwoo says:

    That’s a great post. I LOVE the suitcase of burgers. I’m so jealous. I’m going to send your link over to Adam at A Hamburger Today… I think he’ll get a kick out of it.

    You should definitely try making them at home. It’s a lot of work, but it’s pretty amusing.

  28. Lyn says:

    When I was in high school, had a cookbook called “Top Secret Recipes” which was full of recipes meant to recreate popular fast food and commercially-produced food items. I seem to recall their Big Mac recipe was pretty on target. Check tou their website. You can order the books or buy individual recipes online. Quite a lot of the recipes are free (Heinz ketchup, IHOP pancakes, KFC coleslaw and Soup Nazi’s crab bisque). Unfortunately their recipe for Sliders is not one of the free ones. It’s worth a peek if you’ve got a favourite prepared food that you really like.

  29. Bobbie says:

    I’m from Chicago and grew up on sliders. I recently moved to Grand Rapids, MI and unfortunatley there are no White Castles around here. However, you can buy frozen 10 packs of them at any grocery store out here- check it out, it’s worth a try!

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