Next time you're hitting the grill… « blogging for burgers

Next time you're hitting the grill…


I started making this burger about five years ago, inspired by a copy of Bon Appétit that was laying in the office mailroom.  It was probably the best looking hamburger I had seen in my life to that moment.  Its soft potato bun contrasted sharply with the dark caramelized beef and andouille sausage patty and golden brown caramelized onions, accented even further with a dollop of– is that blue cheese???  I had to make this burger.

I first perused the list of ingredients: pecans, andouille sausage, ground chuck for the patties.  Pickled okra, watercress, caramelized onions, chipotle mayo, blue cheese for the accoutrements.  And that delicious squishy potato bun.  I decided to make my own version, since I had no interest in finding out where to buy pickled okra (this was back before Rick’s Picks put everything under the sun in a brine and sold it at the farmer’s market for six bucks).

I first caramelized the onions, since I knew that would take a while to do.  They weren’t getting as sweet as I wanted, so I decided to add some maple syrup.  “Why not,” I asked myself.

“Whyyyyy,” I asked myself when the finished product tasted like the bottom of a trash can at IHOP.  So I redid those (luckily I had an extra couple of onions), and went back on my merry way.

I toasted the pecans, keeping a close eye on them to make sure they didn’t burn.  The great pecan incident of 2001 lingered fresh in my mind.  The apartment smelled like a burned out brush fire for days.  That was really a hit with the ladies.  Once the pecans were done, maybe 15 minutes later, I ground them up and added them to a mixture of ground chuck and andouille sausage.  A touch of salt and pepper later, I was ready to make some patties.

Now, the art of patty-making is one of which I am not a master.  They are either: a) too thin; b) too small; c) too fat, and end up swelling up like meatballs; or d) perfection.  So, in this area, I cannot really tell you what to do.  No matter what shape they are, they taste good, so don’t let a few misshapen burgers stop you.

Now that the patties were done, it was time to hit the grill.  I got the grill to a nice medium-high temperature– if you can hold your hand over the coals for about 3-4 seconds, you’re probably golden.  The grill is going to get hotter when the fat starts rendering off the patties, anyway, so if it’s a little cool at this point, that’s just fine.

I threw the patties on for about 4 minutes a side, so they were a perfect medium rare.  The andouille sausage is pre-cooked, so I wasn’t too concerned about that (although my OCD forced me to check the label around 50 times).  After I took the patties off, I let them rest on a tray for a few minutes, so that all of the juices could gather themselves.  In the meantime, I grilled up the buns for a minute per side (the grill gets pretty hot, so careful not to burn them).

Once this was done, I was ready for assembly.  First, a little of mayo on the bottom bun.  Then, the patty, topped with a little blue cheese, and then some of those caramelized onions, and then the watercress.  Then, just for kicks, throw on a couple of pickles (or pickled okra, if you have hit the market lately), and a dollop of chipotle mayo (just mix mayo with as much chipotle as you like, it’s a personal thing).  Place the bun on top and prepare to have your mind blown.

Needless to say, these burgers are a hit.  I’ve made them probably around 25 times by this point, and they never fail.  Now I’ve gotta run– I smell some pecans burning!

The original recipe as featured in Bon Appétit can be found here.

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