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Black and Blue Sliders

Whenever you take something wonderfully delicious and make a mini version of it, it seems to become twice as delicious. It’s kind of ironic because usually smaller doesn’t mean better. But in the case of food, it sure does. Today, we’re talking about and making some Black and Blue Sliders.


As you probably know, if there’s any place I’d rather be than hanging out in chilly Central PA, it’s floating on a ship in the Caribbean with my friends over at Carnival Cruise Line. About two years ago I went on my first cruise. I totally loved the experience and have been on four different ships since then. The seas are clearly calling! Lucky for me, I’m going to be bumping that number up to five in the very near future.

One thing that I enjoy about cruising with Carnival is the endless supply of tasty food and drinks. Being a self-proclaimed foodie, I love that while on board, I can find something delicious to eat any time my tummy desires. (Also, I equally love the gym and plethora of activities to work off said food.) One delicious spot on several of the ships is Guy’s Burger Joint. (And yes, by Guy I mean Guy Fieri.) With fresh-off-the-grill burgers and hand-cut fries, “This place is money!”


Inspired by Guy’s Burger Joint and my love of burgers, blue cheese, and miniature foods, we’re going to be whipping up some Black and Blue Sliders.


While the recipe looks a tad intimidating with its long list of ingredients, it’s really fairly simple. And let me tell you, all of those ingredients come together in such a magical way to take your taste buds to “Flavortown.” (I’m attempting to cleverly incorporate Guy quotes throughout this post. You’re welcome.)

Also, thanks to my friend and graphic designer, I’m showing you how to make a black bean variety of a slider. It’s also for those of you who are vegetarian or just want something a touch healthier.


To pack these little sliders full of flavor, you will need a few things before you get started. First, is the blackening spice. This is a combination of spices that you’ll add to your patties before frying them. The spice has a little kick to it so it adds some bold flavor to these tiny bites.



Secondly, we are going to make garlic butter. With this made, we will spread it on some of those sweet Hawaiian-style rolls and toast them up before layering up the sliders. Seriously, there are little pockets of flavor everywhere.



Finally, we’re going to whip up Donkey Sauce. This is one of Guy’s signature sauces. (Normally I need a lot of ketchup on a burger, but because this stuff is so tasty, I don’t need a drop.)


Now, whether you’re making the traditional beef burger or the black bean variety, you’ll want to stuff them with blue cheese. I understand that some people don’t like blue cheese, so you’re welcome to substitute whatever cheese you like. If you do however, I wouldn’t recommend calling them Black and Blue Sliders.




After your burgers are cooked, you’re ready to assemble them. I’ve given you a delicious combination of toppings that works beautifully with all the other pieces to this slider puzzle. However, you’re welcome to use whatever combination of toppings you like.



Oh, and if you decide to add bacon to these sliders (which you totally should) you can check out my secret way to make the best bacon here.


And that’s it. Sliders are a go. Invite some friends over, close your eyes, take a bite, and pretend you’re sailing in the Caribbean. (You may need to turn up the heat in your house and blast some tropical tunes for the full effect.)



Now, for the recipe.


Black and Blue Sliders
Makes 12 sliders

Here’s what you will need:
Blackening Spice:

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Garlic Butter:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, minced

Donkey Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup roasted garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 pinches black pepper


  • 32 ounces ground beef (80/20 blend)*
  • 12 ounces blue cheese crumbles
  • 12 mini Hawaiian-style rolls, sliced in half


  • 6 slices applewood bacon, cooked
  • 24 dill pickle slices
  • 1/2 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 or 3 small tomatoes, finely sliced
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 12 wood skewers

*Alternatively to make Black Bean patties you will need 2 cans (15 ounces) of black beans and 1 cup panko bread crumbs. In a bowl, mash the beans with a fork and combine with bread crumbs. Add about 4 tablespoons of water to bring the mixture together. Prepare the sliders exactly the same, substituting this black bean mixture for the ground beef.

**Optional. You can top these burgers however you’d like. However, these ingredients do make a delicious combination.

Begin by preparing the blackening spice. In a small bowl, whisk together the black pepper, onion powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika, chili powder, and Kosher salt. Set aside.

Next, make the garlic butter. In a medium sauce pan over medium-heat, add the butter and garlic. Melt the butter and cook the garlic for about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, and mix well. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Then, prepare the Donkey Sauce. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, roasted garlic, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, salt, and pepper. Mix well until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until slider assembly.

To make the patties for the sliders, divide the ground beef (or black bean mixture) into 24 balls. Then using your hands, form the balls into 2-inch round patties. Evenly top half of the patties with half (6 ounces) of the blue cheese. Place another patty on top, seal the edges, and re-form into a patty. The final patty will be about 3 inches round. Repeat to make 12 patties. Then season both sides with the prepared blackening spice.

Grill or pan fry the patties until fully cooked. Just before removing from the heat, evenly divide the remaining 6 ounces of blue cheese to top each of the patties. Remove from the heat when the cheese begins to melt.

Next, brush the cut sides of the rolls with the garlic butter. Toast the rolls on the grill (or pan) until golden.

Finally, assemble the sliders. Smear a bit of the Donkey Sauce on both toasted sides of the roll. Add the patty, then layer with bacon, dill pickle, onion, tomatoes, and greens. Top with the bun and and secure with a wood skewer.
Serve immediately.


“Holy sliders, Batman!” Don’t they look delicious!? They are!


I promise this recipe isn’t as intense as it seems. Plus, you will have some extra blackening spices and Donkey Sauce for more sliders next week or to incorporate into some other recipe. It’s a win-win.



Now, go whip up some sliders, and while you’re at it, be sure to swing by the Carnival website and check out some of their other on-board dining options. What sounds most delicious to you?

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.