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Hot Honey "Chicken Fried" Pork Sliders

This recipe is so crazy good, you will want to make it again and again.

Hot Honey "Chicken Fried" Pork Sliders

"Hot honey" chicken is very popular for a reason: fried chicken drizzled with and coated in a warm and spicy honey. Using that as inspiration, I came up with this idea to make a ground pork slider coated in bread crumbs and shallow-fried so that the crispy coating could soak up all that hot honey. Topped with homemade quick pickles and coleslaw, this dish is a home run on flavor and texture. The pork easily can be swapped for ground turkey or chicken. Store-bought bread-and-butter pickles and coleslaw can work just as well as the homemade variety. Any soft slider roll will long as it gets a drizzle of that hot honey!

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; mixing bowls; spoons; nonstick sauté pan; wooden spoon; small saucepan; fork; (3) wide shallow bowls; cast iron skillet or large sauté pan (with straight sides); rimmed sheet pan with paper towels; tongs or fish spatula

Slaw Ingredients: ¼ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar or agave

¼ teaspoon celery seed kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 cups shredded cabbage (green, purple, Napa, or Savoy (pictured))

1 carrot, peeled, julienne, grated, or matchstick (pictured) 2 tablespoons julienne fresh mint or chopped parsley

Pork Ingredients:

1 pound ground pork

1 small or ½ large apple, cored and finely diced 1 small or ½ large onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups fresh bread crumbs

vegetable oil for frying

Hot Honey Ingredients:

1 cup honey

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or 2 teaspoons hot sauce)

Garnishes: 8 slider rolls bread-and butter pickles or Quick Pickles

1. First begin to prepare the pork sliders. In a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, sweat the apples and onions in the olive oil until soft, but not at all golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and place the mixture in a large mixing bowl, pressing the apples and onions along the sides of the bowl to expedite the cooling process. Set aside.

"Using apples and onions with the ground meat not only helps to moisten the meat and establish that sweet-and-savory" flavor, but it also helps to stretch it so that you can get 8 sliders from just one pound."

2. Next prepare the coleslaw by combining the mayonnaise, sour cream vinegar, sugar, celery seed, and salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the cabbage, carrots, and fresh herbs, mixing well to coat. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

3. Add the ground pork to the cooled apple and onion mixture, season with the salt and pepper, and blend well to combine. Form 8 sliders and set aside.

4. Place the flour in a wide, shallow bowl and set aside. Then beat the eggs with a fork in a wide, shallow bowl and set aside. Put the fresh bread crumbs in a wide, shallow bowl and set aside. From left to right, line up the flour, egg mixture, and bread crumbs, respectively.

Breading is very procedural. It can be a messy proposition if you don’t follow the ILOC way: wet hand, dry hand! Using fresh bread crumbs is not essential, but it is preferred to achive a more tender and supple coating.

5. Dredge one slider at a time in the flour and shake off excess. Then dip the coated slider into the egg mixture, then directly into the bread crumbs. With a dry hand, toss well to coat and set aside. Repeat with the remaining sliders.

Breading Is As Easy As 1-2-3

You need three bowls: one shallow bowl with flour and seasonings, a second shallow bowl with eggs and other wet ingredients, and a third shallow bowl with breadcrumbs. Moving from left to right is key, and so is keeping one hand dry and one hand wet. That is, flour the food with your left hand (dry), but dip it in egg with your right hand (wet). Move the food from the egg, shaking off excess, to the breadrcumbs using your wet, right hand. Dredge the food in the breadcrumbs with your dry, left hand and move it to a pan or plate. Never put your dry hand in the eggs, or your wet hand in the flour or breadcrumbs.

6. Heat ½-inch of vegetable oil (about 1½ cups) in a cast iron skillet or large sauté pan over medium-high heat until the surface begins to shimmer. To test if the oil is hot, carefully lower the tip of one slider into the oil. If the slider sizzles and begins to brown, the oil is ready. If nothing happens, the oil is not yet hot, so remove the slider immediately.

7. Depending on the size of your pan, fry 4 sliders at a time in 2 batches. Fry on one side for 3-4 minutes, or until the bottom and edges are golden brown. Turn each slider carefully with tongs or a fish spatula in the order in which they entered the pan, and fry for another 2-3 minutes, or until the pork is fully cooked and crumb is golden brown.

8. Remove the sliders to a paper towel-lined sheet pan, or to a cutting board lined with paper towels to drain the fat.

9. Heat the honey and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until warm and loose, approximately 2-3 minutes.

10. Drizzle the hot honey over the bottoms the 8 rolls. Top each slider with quick or bread-and-butter pickles, then with a spoonful of the coleslaw. Drizzle with more hot honey if desired before finishing with the bun tops. Serve immediately...with napkins.

Makes 8 sliders or 4 servings.

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