If you want to teach someone how to do something, one of the best ways is to have them actually do it.
That was the lesson that students in Amy Smith’s Foods II class learned Friday afternoon during the perfect slider competition seventh hour..
“It’s a new concept that I haven’t tried before,” Smith said, as her students were busy preparing their burgers. “We’ve done some other competitions this year in foods including “cupcake wars” and “chopped” but this is a first for us.
“I think my kids really do well when there is a competition involved,” Smith added. “This was just a new way to let them be really creative and see what they could do.”
The rules of the competition were simple, find a way to create the perfect slider.
A slider is a smaller sized hamburger that has recently become a popular menu item in restaurants and fast food chains across America.
“We’ve been working on a meat unit for the last week and so I wanted to find a way to do something that wasn’t really ho-hum with the class,” Smith said. “Sliders are really popular right now so it seemed like a fun way to let them see what they could do.”
Once Smith gave the students the challenge the spatula was thrown down so to speak and the student’s creativity started cook.
“It’s a competition so of course I must win,” Alyssa Crawford a junior in the class said. “I want to go to culinary school in Louisiana after graduation so I’m pretty serious about this.”
Crawford said she came up with the recipes that used roast beef rather than ground beef as the main ingredient.
The meat was seasoned with garlic powder, ground black pepper and brown sugar and was served on a buttered toasted roll.
Many of the students served their sliders on buttered toasted rolls the, the results came down to two factors: the method of cooking and the condiments served with the slider.
Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, barbecue sauce and bacon were some of the choices of slider toppings chosen by many of the students.
In the end, it came down to the “spicy kick” from the kitchen of Sam Kindle, Landon Dove and Gavin Jones that most impressed judge Austin Thomas, a math instructor at Smith-Cotton.
“I really think that had a quality slider,” Thomas said. “They were all really good but their burger had that spicy taste that just seemed to set it apart from the rest.”
The three boys were thrilled with the win and commented that it was a team effort.
“I think we all came up with pretty much the same idea for our sliders,” Kindle said. “We used a basic seasoning and marinated the meat overnight.
“Then we grilled them on a medium/ high heat (using an indoor electric grill-cooker),” Kindle said. “We wanted it spicy so we made our own chipotle sauce to top them with.”
The sauce made with mayonnaise, adobo sauce, diced onions and chipotle peppers was the right blend of flavors for Thomas.
The student’s rubric included finishing the project on time, accurately representing the category and execution of flavor.
“I asked the kids to come up with what they thought would be the perfect slider,’ Smith said. “The kids always do a really good job and I’m proud of them all.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484