Food & Swine

Working Calves & Cattlemen’s Sliders


We now interrupt your regularly scheduled swine-programming for a trip to work calves with Grandpa and Aunt T. It was a fun day.  We didn’t get to help as much as the kids wanted to but truthfully, it is less stressful on the calves if less people are around to excite them.  (Less stressful on the vet and other workers too.)  There was also a little disappointment when they weren’t going to be cutting the bulls today because last night before bed my daughter was already barking about who got to carry the ‘nut bucket’.  Seriously.  I can’t make it up.  Ohhhhhh kindergarten, are we ready for you?



Growing up, my folks raised cow-calf pairs and row cropped and raised up a nice offering of hay. (All of this they still do, of course.) The cattle kept us around home and busy. Truthfully, I can say until an older age I thought EVERYONE that row-cropped (raised corn, soybeans etc.) also had livestock (cattle, hogs or other).  I don’t think I knew that there could actually be ‘grain farmers’ only.  After all, what on Earth would they do if they didn’t have animals to tend to every day?


Teaching the next-next generation how to act around the ‘girls’.


They were surprisingly relaxed and the ‘working’ went quite well.


Every time I think my Dad is cutting down on the herd he replaces some of his cuts with some nice cows.  The other day he went to a herd dispersal and bought a great group of cows.  He still likes to mess with me quite a bit though.  Before I had seen the cows he told me he’d bought a group of “gummers”, which is slang for older cows because they possess less functional teeth than the younger cows.  When he mentioned that HE bought a group of ‘gummers’ I actually thought he was off his game a little.  Definitely messing with me, thanks Dad.  (I saw the group today and they are solid, great looking cows. Whew.)


Since this is a cattle post, I’ll leave you with another slider recipe, this one aptly named “The Cattlemen’s Slider” and another recipe inspired by the Iowa Slider Challenge sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Winefest Des Moines.  Not the winning entry as seen here, but the recipe inspired by my Dad, a real cattleman.  Not quite a cowboy (no horse) but a great steward of his stock. He’s not into ‘frilly’ food, so this is the type of burger that works for him.


Iowa Cattlemen’s Sliders
24 oz Ultra Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon
2 lbs. ground chuck 80/20 blend
10 ounces Maytag white cheddar cheese
60 slices of premium dill pickles (juice reserved)
5-6 C (one large order) thinly sliced prepared fried onion strings/rings
Western Style BBQ Sauce or ketchup
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Cut bacon strips in half so pieces are smaller. Fry bacon in large skillet over grill grate until chewy/crisp. Drain slightly on paper towels. Set aside. Divide ground chuck into 18 portions.  Press into desired shape to fit slider bun, handling meat as little as possible.  Depress center of raw burger slightly with thumb so burger doesn’t puff during grilling. Season patties. Grill patties on one side 2 minutes.  Flip patties, place a generous 1/2 ounce of Maytag White Cheddar cheese on each patty top. Finish grilling patties to medium rare or medium doneness.  Remove from grill to platter and let rest 3 minutes. Meanwhile, spread onion strings out in dry skillet.  Toss to heat through and crisp. Toast buns over grill grate.
To assemble:
1. Sprinkle 1 tsp pickle juice on bottom bun.
2. Add cheese topped patty.
3. Add 2 ‘short’ strips of bacon in an X pattern.
4. Add 3 slices of dill pickles
5. Twist 1/4 C onion strings together for each slider.  Place on top of pickles
6. Spread 2 tsp – 1 TBSP Western Style BBQ Sauce or ketchup on toasted bun tops.
6. Cover onions with toasted bun top.
7. Place wooden skewer through burger to hold in place.
You can make your own onion strings by slicing onions very thinly into rings, soaking in buttermilk and tossing in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  Fry in 350 degree oil for a couple of minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oil with slotted spoon.  Sprinkle with salt.
Serve Immediately
Makes 18 sliders
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  • Reply Jodi June 4, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    “The nut bucket” love it! Lol

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