[Eds: this post is brought to you by Eva and Deanna together.  We should do more joint blogs…]

A really good burger starts with a good cut of meat.  Jim often buys a whole tenderloin and cuts it into steaks himself, rather than spending a premium on a tiny little cut at the butcher.  Once he’s cut all of his perfect steaks from the loin, there are inevitably some scraps, ends, and odd-shaped cuts that just won’t cook evenly on the grill.  These, he grinds up – for hamburgers.  To the ground tenderloin, Jim adds an egg, some panko (so much lighter than traditional breadcrumbs), salt, pepper, and a whole bunch of finely chopped garlic (he wanted me to emphasize this).  Jim’s advice is:

Keep it simple.  If you use a good cut of beef, you can cook it medium –rare.  Just because it’s a burger, doesn’t mean you have to burn it.

Jim likes to slather on some barbeque sauce while the burger is cooking.  But not just any barbeque sauce.  Oh no.  Barbeque sauce in our house is a day-long endeavour.  Lucky you, we’re sharing the recipe here:

BBQ SAUCE OF THE GODS

  • 2 cooking onions, diced
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 3 chipotle cubes, minced

Sautee in 2 T olive oil until lightly browned, then add:

  • 1 can of beer (to deglaze)
  • 1 C bourbon (we keep Jack Daniels in the cooking cupboard, not the liquor cabinet)
  • ½ C lemon juice
  • 1 C orange juice
  • ½ C lime juice
  • 2 C applesauce
  • 1 L ketchup
  • ¼ C apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ C + 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T pepper
  • 1 T paprika
  • salt, to taste
  • Molasses and brown sugar, just a little bit at a time, to taste

Cook, lid on, until the flavours are well-blended.  Then cook, lid off, until thickened. Blend in batches or using an immersion blender, until smooth.

I know it’s not a hamburger (why do they call them hamburgers when they’re made with beef?), but I’m sharing my recipe for halibut burgers with you (because not all of us eat red meat!):

Halibut Burgers with home-made tartar sauce

  • halibut filets, not steaks (you don’t want bones);
  • baked “Kettle” chips or Pringles (Kettle are better);
  • 1/2 the fat Mayonnaisse
  • salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Cut the halibut filets into burger-sized pieces.
  3. Spray non-stick spray on a baking sheet.
  4. Poke a hole in the bag of chips or pour the chips into a big, zip-loc bag and squeeze all the air out.  “Rolling pin” or smash the chips to crumbs.  Pour the chips into a pan or onto a plate for dipping.
  5. Lightly coat each of the halibut filets with mayo, then season with salt & pepper.
  6. Press each halibut filet firmly into the chips, making sure to coat each side.  Place on baking sheet.
  7. Bake without turning for approximately 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets.  The fish is done when you poke a fork into it and it flakes.  Serve with tartar sauce.

For the Tartar Sauce:  (trust me; it’s WAY better to make your own!)

  • 1/2 the fat mayonnaise (about 2T-3T per burger)
  • dill pickles, chopped (about 2 “baby” dills per burger)
  • capers, chopped (about 1 tsp per burger)
  • green onions, chopped (about 1T per burger)
  • pickle juice, to thin

Mix the mayo, pickles, capers and green onions.  Add enough pickle juice to thin to desired consistency.  Season with salt & pepper if you want.

Slather the mayo on the buns.  Add some lettuce.  Keep it simple.

And now for a little visual tour to wet your appetite:

1. 6th Place: In-n-Out Burger, 2. 3rd Place: Jeffrey’s Hamburgers in San Mateo, 3. Don’t worry little hamburger friend . . ., 4. Hamburgers Instant Service, 5. “funny face hamburgers”, 6. Hamburger 4, 7. Hank’s Hamburgers, 8. Johnny Rockets’ Smoke House hamburger, 9. Metzis Tasty Takeaway Hamburger with the lot – Australian style!, 10. Fran’s Hamburgers, 11. Hamburger 5, 12. Hamburger with the Lot

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