I have had a love affair with hamburgers since I was a little kid. I loved all hamburgers from grilled, broiled and especially fried. I liked the big thick burgers my dad would make on the grill, the pre-made patties mom would buy at the store and throw in the broiler, but my favorite burger has always been a diner style smashed thin patty on the flat top. I have actually eaten hamburgers all across the country. I have tried bison meat, turkey burgers, even the dreaded veggie burger.
Now you may ask so what’s the best burger you have ever had? Well that is a funny story. Have you ever seen the episode of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER where they are trying to track down the best burger in the city and can’t remember where it was? Well a few years ago my daughter was home visiting her mother and I we had said when it was time for her to fly home we would drive down to Philadelphia and go to a restaurant we had seen on one of the food channels and try several things from the menu. Well as with most plans involving travel we ran into a snafu and hit traffic heading into Philly and if we would have continued to the restaurant we had planned to visit we would not make it to the airport in time. So we checked with Yelp and found a bar with decent looking menu a few exits from the airport, so we headed there. It was right along the Delaware River and that is all I can really remember. I have no idea what the name of the restaurant was or where exactly it was. All I can remember about the menu was most of the menu incorporated various beers from Victory Brewing Co, from Downingtown PA, one of my favorite Micro Breweries. We started off with appetizers of French Onion Soup and Pretzel Sticks. Now being in Philly I had high expectations for the pretzel sticks and was not disappointed especially when they gave me the mustard dipping sauce with lager mixed in. The Onion soup really knocked my socks off. Now for the burger I cant remember what it was called exactly it was something like Ole Smoky or something similar. It was a burger made from sirloin, brisket and short ribs topped with cheddar cheese and a hickory bbq sauce with either Victory’s Lager or Golden Monkey in the sauce all on a brioche bun toasted to perfection. Without a doubt the best burger I ever had and I can’t remember where exactly it was.
So I have been on a mission to make a burger that could take the place of this elusive best burger I decided to try something a little different.
The place to start is with the root beer glaze. in a medium sauce pan bring 2 cups of you favorite root beer and 2 cups of beef stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until it is reduced by half to a thick syrup, about an hour. Then remove from heat.
Keeping with the burger from Philly I went with 1/3 lb ground brisket, 1/3 lb ground short ribs and here I deviated a little I went with 1/3 lb ground ribeye. I grind the meat myself here at home with the meat grinder attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer. If you don’t have a meat grinder jusk ask your butcher to do this at the store.
Combine the three meats and from into nice equal size patties but try not to work the meat too much or too long as the meat will get tough. I like to use a large pastry/biscut cutting ring to keep them all the same size.
Since I don’ have a diner style flat top in my kitchen, unfortunately, I went with the old standby cast iron. I got the cast iron skillet smokin hot and added butter to the skillet and once it melted I seasoned one side of the burger with salt and pepper and placed them season side down.
Once the burger is in the skillet season the other side and let the burger sit in the skillet getting a nice caramelized crust on the bottom. Flip the burger and cook other side again letting it get a nice crust on both sides.
Next take you buns and butter both sides from crust to crust, as Jeff Mauro would say., and season them with salt and pepper.
In a clean frying pan over medium high heat toast the buttered side until a nice golden brown.
Once buns are toasted it is time to plate and top the burgers. Now I am going to be perfectly honest with you the root beer glaze can be a bit sweet so it really needs something to balance out the sweetness. I have tried differnt tyoes of pickles and onions but the best topping I have found is Arugala. The pepper taste of the Arugala marries perfectly with the sweetness of the root beer.
1/3 lb brisket ground
1/3 lb short ribs ground
1/3 lb ribeye ground
2 cups root beer
2 cups beef stock
4 hamburger buns
salt and pepper
- In sauce pan bring root beer and beef stock to a boil over medium high heat
- Lower heat to medium low and reduce by half to a thick syrup
- Remove from heat
- Combine all three ground meats and form into 1/4 lb patties season with salt and pepper
- In cast iron skillet over high heat melt butter
- Add patties to skillet frying until a nice crust forms
- Flip and fry on other side
- Butter and season with salt and pepper both sides of 4 burger buns
- Toast buns over medium high heat in a clean pan
- place burger on bottom half of bun and top with fresh Arugala and drizzle glaze over top
- Add top bun and add a side of fries or onion rings