Alpaca Sliders, Because, Why Not?
His name was Al.
It wasn’t really. I just made that up. Doesn’t matter though. His name could’ve been anything because as we happened to see each other across the walking paths of the local farmers market, it was fate that we would be talking, and soon. He was hawking the benefits of his product, ground Alpaca meat. Ninety-eight percent fat-free. Healthier than ground beef. Cheaper than bison, and more flavorful. But as he was speaking, he glanced over the bustling crowd at the precise moment that i looked over towards his booth.
He kept talking to the passers-by, but through the fencepost-like flashes of people walking between us, he gave me a quick head nod, which I instinctively returned. It was then that the rest of the action around me got a little blurry while his gaze remained in sharp focus. He was talking to the crowd, but clearly, somehow, getting in my head and communicating with me in a silent but strong and pinpointed message.
You’re a grill jockey, aren’t you? C’mere, I have something you’ll really like.
I heard him as if he were standing next to me whispering in my ear. I turned and blindly headed over, led by an irresistible urge to know more about this guy and his captivating smile, small brimmed fedora, and comforting accent, Moroccan I believe. I listened intently while he explained to another person about the different ways to use and prepare alpaca meat. He casually turned to me, gave a wink, and continued.
“And it’s great on the grill too, just so you know. Add in some chopped onions, diced mushrooms, or whatever you want to help retain moisture. Once you eat this, mate, regular beef will seem bland to you. And, it’s cheaper than bison. I’ll never go back, myself. I’d be willing to bet that you won’t want to either.”
Then another wink, as I stood there wondering if this guy was indeed reading my mind. He was quite interesting, and I’m sure I’ll see him again, because when I said goodbye, he just smiled, “Not goodbye, mate. Just until next time”. With a tip of his hat, I was off with the package of ground Alpaca in hand.
Until next time. I was sure of this now.
I bought his story, and I bought his product. So today, I’ll be grilling Alpaca sliders with chopped onions, panko crumbs, and Italian dressing. Let’s get after it.
All this goodness was mixed together into one big hunk-o-meat and then divided into eight slider patties, about 1/8 lb each. A sprinkling of salt and fresh cracked black pepper is layered over the top.
Meanwhile, my trusty old cast iron pan was slightly oiled and preheated over a hardwood fire so as to announce the arrival of the sliders by providing that amazing sizzle we all know and love.
They won’t take long, these little beauties, and I’m not here to tell you how to cook your burgers, but before you know it, it’ll be time to pull them off the grill to rest, just long enough to toast up the mini buns, completing the alpaca slider experience. Ya gotta have those buns toasted, yes?
After the buns are properly toasted, all that’s left to do is the burger build. Lettuce, tomato, onion
I look forward to Spring when the markets reopen and I’m once again able to meet up with the intriguing man in the fedora, and hear more of his tales and sample some of his other fare.
Until next time, indeed.
Because Life Is Better Wood Fired