Published February 1, 2013 - Last Updated January 22, 2021
Did you have a county fair growing up? I did. It was called the Mid State Fair, and it was one of the highlights of my year. Every summer, my family made the trek to the county fairgrounds in Paso Robles, California. For two weeks, it seemed like every resident in my hometown set aside some time to visit the fair. It was never a question of “if” you’d go, but “when.” There was no shortage of things to do and see. Almost everybody knew a student who was showing a 4-H heifer or sheep, a year-long labor of love that might end with a ribbon and a cash prize. There were the craft competitions… quilting, costumes, paintings, pottery. Massive metal warehouses were crammed with temporary booths displaying new products, homemade jewelry, ranch equipment, cowboy hats. Petting zoos allowed the little ones to get up close and personal with bunnies, goats, and llamas. Older kids headed straight for the carnival, where rickety rides like “The Zipper” tested their bravery. If you were lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the Budweiser horses in the stables. At night, the ground vibrated with sound checks as country rock bands warmed up on the Grand Stand stage. The hot night air, the colorful lights, the smell of fair food… roasted corn on the cob, churros, smoked turkey legs, deep fried everything… it was all so exciting, and sort of magical, for a small town kid like me.
One of the fair foods I looked forward to most was the barbecue beef sandwich. Men in cowboy hats and boots would smoke the beef till it was super tender, shred it into small pieces, drench it in sweet honey barbecue sauce, and serve it on warm sesame seed buns wrapped in foil. It was always a challenge to eat one without getting sauce all over your chin. Those flimsy paper napkins didn’t cut it. Your fingers would get sticky with sauce. But it was so worth it… that tender, sweet meat was the ultimate treat.
A few years ago, I learned how to make barbecue beef that was every bit as delicious as the fair sandwiches of my childhood using a slow cooker. Over time, I began serving the meat on little slider buns because my family liked it that way. With Super Bowl Sunday just a few days away, this seemed like the perfect finger food to share with you. All you need is a slow cooker, a few ingredients, and a little patience. You’ll be handsomely rewarded with tender, melt-in-your mouth brisket slider sandwiches… mini bites of honey barbecue deliciousness. I sometimes add a few slices of dill pickle or a bit of Pickle Slaw on top of the meat. If you want to make this a really authentic experience, wear a cowboy hat while you’re cooking. Yeehaw!
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Thanks for stopping by! I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...