What constitutes a good burger? Obviously, the patty is the most essential part. But if you discount the toppings, you’re missing a very important part of the equation.
I like to season my patties with a little salt, lemon pepper, Montreal Steak Seasoning as well as garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer. This combination guarantees that my burgers are moist, have a lot of flavor and don’t turn into something that resembles hockey pucks when they are cooked on the grill.
As far as toppings, I like ketchup, mustard, fried onions, a slice of dill pickle and sometimes a dab of horseradish for a little extra kick. And there was a time I also liked to put a few potato chips on my burgers, a favorite of two of my cousins, Gordy and Dick.
Here’s a recipe from epicurious.com that looks as if it would pass my test for a good burger. Especially appealing is the andouille sausage, a heavily smoked meat, and the spicy mayo, which gives the burger a distinct Cajun or Creole taste.
Andouille and Beef Burgers with Spicy Mayo and Caramelized Onions
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning blend
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
½ pound andouille sausage, cut into scant 1/4-inch cubes
¾ cup pecans, toasted, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1½ pounds ground beef chuck or ground beef (20 percent fat)
1½ pounds onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing grill rack
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
6 large hamburger buns, split
8 ounces crumbled blue cheese
12 pickled okra pods, halved lengthwise
3 cups watercress tops
For spicy mayo, mix all ingredients in small bowl. Cover and chill. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)
For burgers, toss first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Add beef; blend gently. Shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties. Transfer patties to small baking sheet. (Also can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
For onions, prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Toss onions and next 3 ingredients in large skillet. Place skillet on grill; cook until onions are golden, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Remove from grill; season with salt and pepper.
Brush grill rack with olive oil. Grill buns, cut side down, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer buns to work surface. Grill burgers until brown on bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn over; sprinkle with cheese. Grill until burgers are cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium. Place some onions, then burger, on each bun bottom. Top each with okra and watercress. Spread mayonnaise on cut side of bun tops; place on burgers. Serve with remaining mayonnaise.
Yield: Serves 6.