Browsing Tag: perfectburger


    New Menu Addition: Pico de Burger

    August 2, 2020

    Every week we get a fresh farm-to-table delivery from a farm co-op/community supported agriculture group in our area. It’s sooooo good.

    The most recent delivery had Roma tomatoes, red onions, jalapeno peppers, and fresh cilantro — pretty much the only stuff you need for pico de gallo. So I made a batch the same night the delivery came in and it’s delicious! (We’re still eating it.)

    Last night was burger night and I thought it would be interesting to try putting pico de gallo on a burger. Why not? Tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos are some of my favorite burger toppings, so I thought it was worth trying.

    After doing some online research, I settled on this simple combination:

    • Avocado
    • Thin layer of mayo
    • Monterey Jack cheese
    • Huge scoop of pico de gallo

    The first two ingredients went under the burger; the second two on top. And that was it. No BBQ sauce. No ketchup. Nothing else. This is what it looked like.


    Seriously, I thought I’d like it … but I LOVED it. This burger was 10x better than I ever expected it to be.

    And what’s cool is that it can be customized. Want more heat? Add some fresh or grilled jalapenos on top. And maybe add some chipotle/spicy aioli. I also wonder what it would taste like with some bacon underneath. So many ways to make it.

    It’ll definitely go on the menu at the burger joint.



    February 23, 2020

    I figure since I’ve posted so often over the years about all the great burgers I’ve made, I should post when I screw it up, too.

    Tonight’s “bright” idea was to caramelize the onions with bacon in the pan. I mean, right? Caramelized bacon and onions sounds like something they’ll have on the menu in Heaven.

    And it sure looked good at the start.

    That’s about three-quarters of a pound of bacon on top of about two medium sweet onions. There’s also a little butter under there, which was totally unnecessary.

    I added some kosher salt and brown sugar and had some Sherry vinegar handy, but it was also totally unnecessary.

    Why? Because the onion juices and the bacon fat combined to make what looked like soup for quite a while. As the burgers were getting closer to finished, I had to choose:

    • drain all the liquid, or
    • turn up the heat and reduce it

    I went with the second option.

    I don’t know if either option would’ve worked, but with option 2 I ended up burning the onions … which you can see starting to happen in the photo above.

    It got much worse after that.

    The bacon cooked just fine, and I was able to salvage enough of it to use on our burgers.

    The burgers were still good overall, I suppose. Just not up to standards. Maybe a 6 on a scale of 1-10.

    Live and learn. It was fun to try something new, but I really prefer it when the experiments work well.


    Burger #3 – The Macapeno (and the cooking process)

    February 25, 2018

    This thing of beauty and deliciousness will be the third burger on the menu when I get around to opening my own burger joint … someday.

    Maybe I’ll call it “Macapeno” or something like that. It’s a burger covered in mac-and-cheese and grilled jalapeno peppers, all sitting on top of a chipotle mayo. DELICIOUS!!! This was the maiden attempt at the Macapeno, and as good as it was, I’ll make a couple changes on the next try: better mac-and-cheese, for starters. I’m using Stouffers in the photo above, but it needs a high-quality mac-and-cheese like Beecher’s. Another change will be the addition of some BBQ sauce on top. And I’m also thinking it could use some melted cheese to counter the dryness of the main ingredients.

    Still, this was a great start and I’ll be tweaking this one until it’s perfect and menu-ready.

    My Burger Process

    How about a little photo collection showing the burger making process? Feel free to skip if you’re not interested. I’ll document it for myself, if nothing else.

    First rule: fresh ground beef only. No more frozen burger patties at Casa McGee. OMG, it’s a world of difference when you use fresh meat. And while you have them formed and sitting on the prep plate (paper, in this case), sprinkle a healthy dose of salt and pepper on them. (I like to use garlic salt, too, to add some extra punch.)

    Second rule: Use a cast-iron skillet if at all possible. It heats so evenly and consistently. When you have three burgers hitting the heat, you don’t have to worry about one cooking faster than the others.

    Once the burgers start heating up, get the jalapeno peppers started. If I’d had more space in the main skillet, I would’ve done the peppers in there, too, to soak up the juices. But with the three patties, I figured I better use a separate skillet to be safe.

    BTW, I’m cooking both the meat and the jalapenos in a thin layer of peanut oil.

    Once the meat is seared on the bottom, it’s time to flip and smash.

    Once you get them flat, sprinkle another layer of salt and pepper on this side while the bottom cooks. Pretty soon you’ll have a fully browned burger and it’ll be time for one last flip.

    At this point, the patties should be pretty well cooked through (unless they’re really thick) so you can add the cheese as soon as you make the final flip.

    Meanwhile, you’re also grilling the jalapenos and making sure those are tossed and turned so both sides are equally charred.

    And when those are ready, your cheese is melted, etc. … it’s time to get these beauties plated!

    Don’t underestimate the bread — the bun will make the difference between a good burger and a GREAT burger. Don’t settle on the basic store brand seeded hamburger buns. Splurge a little extra for the good stuff — like these pub buns, or brioche if you like, or whatever else you prefer that’s not bland and cheap.

    And if you really wanna go all out, get another skillet going with a little bit of melted butter and lightly toast your bun before plating the burger. Maybe I’ll even give that a shot next time I work on the Macapeno.


    The Perfect Burger, Non-Bacon Edition

    February 21, 2016


    This is my Blistering Garlic Ranch Burger.

    I wish you all could’ve tasted this thing of beauty that I made a few nights ago, because it’s the best burger I’ve ever made. I’ve been tweaking this same burger for the past month or two, and finally got it to perfect burger status.

    What You Need

    Two frying pans
    Blistering Garlic Salt (link below)
    A good hamburger bun
    Red Onion
    Walla Walla Sweet Onion & Creamy Ranch Salad Dressing (link below)

    The Bun

    This is super important. It can make or break your burger. For years, I’d buy the inexpensive sesame seed buns and make good burgers. About six months ago, I started buying more expensive (and higher quality) buns and my good burgers became great. I tried a few kinds — brioche, ciabatta, etc. — but decided on something you can get at Costco: Pub Buns made by Portland French Bakery. You may have a different favorite bun, and that’s fine.

    To make this great bun even better, I use a small frying pan and heat up about 2 tablespoons of butter mixed with this wonderful garlic salt called Blistering Garlic Salt, that you can order online. Seriously, “blistering” is the right word. It’s so spicy that I sneeze if the jar gets too close to my face. You don’t need to use much of this at all to get a fantastic garlic taste.

    Anyway, the melted butter and garlic salt are heated on medium until the salt turns brown. At that point, you take both halves of your bun and pat it on the pan to get them covered with this awesome buttery garlic goodness. I did this right when I started cooking the burger, but I might do it last-minute next time to make sure the bun stays a little warmer.

    The Burger

    The meat is plain — no seasonings or anything mixed in. (Did that with the last batch of ground beef and I just didn’t enjoy the taste as much as plain meat.)

    I cook the burger in the same garlic/butter mix that I described above, so that gives the meat all kinds of flavor.

    The burger gets topped with one slice of American cheese and one slice of Colby Jack cheese. A couple weeks ago, I added a third slice — cheddar — and that was also really good.

    I slice and cook a generous amount of red onion in the pan while the burger is also cooking.

    The bun gets a layer of lettuce and a layer of tomatoes. The burger goes on top of that tomatoes. A few sliced pickles go on top of the burger, and then the hot sliced onions. And on top of the onions, I pour this amazing sweet onion and creamy ranch salad dressing.

    It’s the best burger I’ve ever made — at least without bacon being involved. So the next experiment is to add bacon to this masterpiece and see what happens, and then tweak and tweak it until I come up with the perfect burger with bacon.


    My Latest Burger Experiment: Syrup

    March 3, 2013

    I haven’t posted about it in a while, but I’m still trying to make the perfect burger. I’ve got several different burgers that I make and love — one with jalapeno peppers for when I want some extra zing, one with bacon and ranch dressing, one with barbecue sauce, etc.

    But my latest experiment might be the best one of all. I’m cooking and serving burgers with syrup.

    Yes. Syrup. Mrs. Butterworth’s, to be exact.

    Syrup? On a Burger?

    Have you ever been eating breakfast, and you have pancakes or waffles on the plate along a sausage patty or two? When you have that combo together, sometimes the syrup spills over from the pancakes/waffles onto the sausage. And I love that taste. So I thought … if syrup is really tasty on sausage, maybe it’ll be tasty on ground beef.

    I started a couple weeks ago (I usually make burgers once a week) with this creation:


    You may not be able to tell, but there’s syrup there on top, right with the ketchup. There’s also syrup used elsewhere in the burger, which I’ll explain when I find the best combo and post about it.

    That one looks pretty good, but it had some fatal flaws:

    • not enough syrup
    • overcooked the burger
    • it actually didn’t taste good with ketchup
    • believe it or not, it also didn’t taste right with bacon … although it might be because that was a different kind of bacon than what I normally like to eat

    My second attempt this past week was MUCH better, so I think I’m getting close. Hopefully I’ll have a new burger invention to report soon.


    Happy National Cheeseburger Day

    September 18, 2012

    Yes, September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day in the U.S. (I think every day should be celebrated that way, but anyway….)

    Here’s how I celebrated:


    I tried to follow the suggestions in this awesome article about burger smashing, but my patty was much bigger than what it recommends, so my burger ended up being a bit less crispy than I would’ve liked.

    Still really good. And pretty much ANY burger with the magical sweet onion/creamy Ranch dressing on top is going to be delicious.