It’s that time of year… Football season! I’m excited for a different reason than you might expect. To be perfectly honest, I could care less about the actual football games(I know, GASP). haha I am more excited about the entertaining / social aspect of it! Go figure. Me, social? No… [hello sarcasm]

Anyhow, you’d think that my hubby having played baseball his whole life, even into the minor leagues would be the typical sports-obsessed husband. Nope. Not a bit. Altough he enjoys a good game as much as the next guy, his world isn’t turned upsidedown if he misses it. No rearranging schedules to be home in front of the tv before kickoff. We actually watch more HGTV than ESPN in our houshold (thank the good Lord for that one!). He’s a keeper. I know. 😉

Anyhow, none-the-less, I am actually pumped for football season! Why? Because a football game is the perfect excuse to throw a shin-dig… one filled with dips, wings, sliders, and more. I am an appetizer /finger food fanatic! So a meal on finger food munchies? COUNT. ME. IN.  Plus, challenge me to a game of Football Squares and I am magically interested in the score… 😉

I made these BBQ Bacon Sliders for labor day, but they would be PERFECT for game day as well! Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Cheddar Cheese and BBQ? HELLO beautiful. I was inspired by P-Dubs’s latest Food Network Episode where she added cream into the meat. Um, the addition of cream method was just begging to be tested out… FABULOUS addition I must say. Two thumbs up Ree! Go make these for your next game day – you won’t be sorry!

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BBQ Bacon Sliders

Yield: 12 Sliders

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

For ease on game day: Patty the sliders up earlier in the day, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. You can also crisp up your bacon up and saute your onions ahead (just reheat the onions in a skillet prior to using).

Ingredients:

For the Onions:
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Sliders:
1.5 pounds ground beef (I used 85/15)
1/4 cups half and half
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup BBQ sauce of choice
1 tablespoon vinegar
12 slider buns
6 slices of cheddar cheese, quartered (24 squares)
8 slices of crispy cooked bacon, cut into thirds (24 pieces)

Directions:

For the Onions:
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, salt, and pepper. Saute onions for a good 20-30 minutes. Allow them to really break down and have the natural sugars come out. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to use.

For the Sliders:
Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350°ish). Place ground beef, half and half, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and black pepper into a large bowl and mix until just combined (don't over work). I like to use my (washed) hands to get it all combined. Use a 1/4 cup measure of meat and form into a patty, making an indentation with your thumb in the center. Repeat with remaining ground beef; should make 12 sliders.

Whisk together BBQ sauce and vinegar (to thin it out a touch). Place sliders onto the grill and close lid. Cook for 3 1/2 minutes. Flip, baste cooked side with BBQ, close lid and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Flip again, baste with BBQ sauce and add 2 quarters of cheddar to each patty. Close lid for another minute. Remove from grill.

Serve on slider buns with a scoop on sauteed onions, and 2 of the bacon pieces. Add additional BBQ Sauce (or BBQ Ranch would be fabulous!). Serve hot!

Inspired by: The Pioneer Woman