the best damn burger in the land
I wish I could take credit for this, but in no way is this something I cooked. I didn’t help with prep, didn’t mix anything, didn’t grill it. Oh, I did slice the cheese. And hold open the buns for burger placement. While I did my two jobs excellently (of course), all the credit goes to G. I stupidly didn’t take pictures of the process, but I can tell you about what it tasted like, and hopefully my translation of G’s recipe (below) will work well enough that you can recreate it if you want to. Of course you’ll want to.
We had some friends over the day after our engagement to hang out and eat good burgers. G rose to the occasion and made burger patties using shallots and eggs, which he grilled and topped with bacon, ridiculously good onions that had been sautéed for a long time in port wine, saint andre cheese, and homemade aoli with farmer’s market parsley. Yum yum yum. Really, I think it was the best burger I’ve ever had. One of the best things about it is that when you take a bite you don’t just taste everything separately (like when you get a bacon cheeseburger and get really excited when you get a bacon bite) but everything tastes like it’s supposed to go together…like the ingredients just melt together. Ok, I’m being cheesy and over the top, maybe, but I can’t say enough good things about this burger.
I was going to make buns when we decided to do this earlier, but after getting engaged I was too giddy to focus on anything. Luckily, G found a bakery in south Minneapolis called A Baker’s Wife’s Pastry Shop that got good reviews online for buns. They were great. Grilled perfectly (put a little butter on them first) and had that perfect combination of airy-ness, chewy-ness, and grill-ness. A couple extra notes in addition to buttering the buns: I’ve included the recipes for the onions, patties, and aoli below, but when you make these you also want to bake the bacon until it’s about 2/3 done. Then refrigerate it. Also ahead of time you want to put the saint andre cheese in the freezer to get it firm before slicing it. Then when you’re ready to grill, put the cold refrigerated bacon directly on the grill to crisp it and fold it on top of the burgers as soon as you flip them. To construct the rest of the burger on the grill, put about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the onions and two thick slices of saint andre cheese on top of the bacon. Leave on the grill for about 15 more seconds until the cheese melts. Serve with aoli on the grilled buns and eat!
port wine onions
makes onions for 9 burgers
2 medium size vidalia onions, sliced very thin
butter for sautéing
about 2 cups of port wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar
fresh cracked pepper
Saute the onions in butter with salt. When they become translucent, cover them with port wine (about 2 cups) and a cup of balsamic vinegar. Add the pepper. Simmer for about 90 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed/evaporated and you’ve got shiny black sautéed onions. Set aside for the burgers.
makes 9 patties
about 4 1/2 pounds (72 oz) ground beef (we used 80% ground beef)
1 medium-sized shallot, minced
3 tablespoons chicken stock
salt and pepper
Saute the shallots in butter until just about translucent. Set aside to cool.
Mix all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a large bowl (don’t over work the meat). Form into 8 oz patties. Put pepper and salt on the patties and put in fridge for minimum of three hours to chill (we put ours on plates and covered with plastic wrap). Take out about 10 minutes before grilling so they come up to room temperature. Grill to desired done-ness.
note: It is really important that all ingredients are at room temperature.
chopped garlic, about 4 cloves
2 egg yolks (if you want white aoli instead of yellow, you can use whole eggs)
salt & pepper
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
note: We did this in our KitchenAid mixer, with the whisk attachment. I’m sure you can use a hand electric mixer if that’s what you have.
Put all ingredients except the oil in the mixing bowl. Add 1/3 cup of the oil. Start mixing, then drizzle in the rest of the oil in a steady slow steam. Keep whipping until the mixture emulsifies and becomes thick. refrigerate.