The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

Build A Better Burger - No 1

First Image
Between a new burger from Applebee’s I recently tried and a new cookbook my boss gave me, I have a feeling this will be the Season of the Burger. A few weeks ago I tried a new burger at Applebee’s called a Quesadilla burger. Ever since then I have been trying to reverse engineer it so I can try it at home. I’d been discussing it in work with my boss. This got him thinking about burgers and he started looking at a book called Build a Better Burger at the mall. Not only did he buy one for himself, he was nice enough to grab one for me. It took all of 2 days before it was put into use.

As soon as I opened the book I could see what attracted my boss. The recipes were winning entries from a yearly contest held by the Sutter Home Winery. These weren’t just recipes for beef burgers, there were pork, lamb even veggie burgers. There was a wide variety of interesting recipes. When I sat down to give the book a serious look I quickly found half a dozen recipes I wanted to try. At this point I stopped looking, but I know I will find many, many more. This past weekend I made the first of what I know will be many burgers from this book. I also made my version of the Quesadilla Burger which started this whole thing. I even reorganized this site to create a Beef 3 page to hold the picture entries for the forth coming variety of burgers. I have a feeling this blog will be the first of many describing the various burgers I try. A friend who heard about what I was doing mentioned I’d be burgered out. I didn’t reply but simply smiled and thought: “Never happen”.

Second Image

The spicy burgers on the grill & the buns are being toasted

One of the reasons this won’t happen is the diversity of all the entries in the Build a Better Burger book. The first one I tried was called a Cuban-Styled Burger w/ Grilled Ham & Cheese. This burger used a mix of fresh herd and jar spices to flavor the burger. The burger was topped with ham and cheese and finished with a doctored mustard. This burger doesn’t take much longer to put together than a normal burger. Believe me you’ll never mistake it for a normal burger. You start by chopping some cilantro and garlic. This is the only time consuming part of the cook. The rest of the prep can be done while your grill is heating up. Chili powder, cumin, salt pepper and a dash of Tabasco sauce finish the mix for the meat.


The finished burger topped with it’s own mustard

The burgers are topped with a slices of ham and Monterey Jack cheese. Many of the recipes in the book contain condiment recipes to compliment your burgers. This one was a doctored mustard consisting of yellow & brown mustard plus relish. It was the perfect compliment for this burger. These burgers were really tasty. Perhaps it is because I have been expending my horizons a bit lately, but a lot of the things I have been making have surprised me. These burgers were no exception. The first bite was not at all what I expected. It was a series of subtle, yet somehow intense bursts of flavor. The flavor that was a little more dominant was the cumin, which I’m not used to tasting in a burger. By the time I finished my first Cuban Burger I knew it was a keeper. I may try cheddar cheese on it as the Monterey Jack was a little subtle. The next burger I plan to try is also a Cuban influenced burger, but this time it is made with pork.


The finished burger topped with it’s own mustard

If you like burgers, check out this book: Build a Better Burger authored by James MacNair. It has a wide variety of great burgers to try. Even if you don’t like burgers check it out. These aren’t just beef hamburgers, I’ll bet there is even something in here for die hard burger haters. I am purposely being vague on the recipes because I want you to buy this book so the author will make some money and write more books.

  CUBAN BURGER Burgers Picture Entry
  QUESADILLA BURGER Burgers Picture Entry


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