These yummy little sliders have some delicious southern flavors – a pimento cheese spread and fried pickles with a sauce that has a little bit of a kick to it!
4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup manzanilla olives, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grated onion
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
5 oz. cream cheese, softened, divided
2 teaspoons dill pickle juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 slices bacon, halved widthwise
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
48 dill pickle chips, drained (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
28 oz. ground chuck
8 oz. bulk pork sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon good quality hot sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
Additional vegetable oil to grease the grill
12 slider rolls or small dinner rolls, split
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
Pimento cheese spread: In a medium bowl, mix together the cheddar cheese, olives, grated onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1 oz. cream cheese; set aside.
Fried pickle sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining 4 oz. cream cheese, dill pickle juice, horseradish, Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; set aside.
Heat a large heat-proof skillet on the grill rack. Add in the bacon and cook until crispy, approximately 4 minutes per side; remove bacon from skillet; set aside and keep warm. Remove and discard all but approximately 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the skillet; set skillet and drippings aside for later use.
Set three medium-sized shallow bowls onto work surface. In the first bowl, place the flour; in the second bowl, crack and beat the eggs; in the third bowl, place the cornmeal, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and the cayenne pepper, mix together. Place a few of the pickle chips in the first bowl and dredge in the flour, then coat them in the beaten eggs, then coat in the cornmeal mixture. Follow this procedure until all the pickle chips have been coated.
Place skillet with bacon drippings back onto the grill rack. Add in the 1/3 cup vegetable oil and heat. Add in the pickle chips and cook until lightly browned, approximately 1 – 2 minutes per side. Remove to paper towel to drain. (May need to be cooked in multiple batches.)
In a large bowl, place the ground chuck, pork sausage, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, chopped onion, remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible, mix well. Form the mixture into 12 equal patties to fit the buns (approximately 3 oz. meat per slider).
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover and cook, turning once, until done to preference, approximately 3 minutes on each side for medium.
To assemble the sliders, onto the cut side of the bottom half of the rolls, spread 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoon of fried pickle sauce, top with 4 fried pickles, then with a slider, a half slice of the bacon (break in smaller pieces if necessary to fit on roll), then spread 2 teaspoons of the pimento cheese spread onto the cut side of the top half of the rolls and place cut side down on top of the slider.