Our last visit to George’s 1 a.m. Burger Bar featured techniques for making great burgers by frying them in beef fat. Today I am going to talk about another type of simple but amazing burger inspired by the dives and burger joints of the Midwest.
First: let’s talk about fat. Chefs are obsessed with it. We often recommend that our friends order something with way more fat than any normal person might want. For instance, chefs and foodies might tell you to order the ribeye steak because it has a nice amount of fat. Other people might tell you not to order it for the same reason.
Well, for the record, I’m solidly in the first group. I especially like dishes cooked in different kinds of animal fat (duck and beef fat is fantastic for this). And, here and now, I am going to share a recipe for a great burger cooked in lard.
PRAISE THE LARD! BURGER
This will feed 8 normal people (or 3 or 4 of my friends). Remember, the success of any dish (these burgers included) depend on the quality of your ingredients.
2 pounds of George’s Grind from Gateway Market.
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 a cup of lard
8 white Zombie Burger buns, available at Gateway Market.
1 large onion, sliced
8 slices American cheese
Start by lightly toasting the buns in a toaster oven.
Mix your salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder with George’s Grind beef. Equally divide the seasoned beef into 8 balls.
Heat a large cast iron pan or griddle (medium high heat). Once the griddle is hot, add the lard. Once it has melted, add the sliced onions. Season the onions with salt and pepper and cook them until they just start to brown.
Place 4 to 6 balls of seasoned meat on the hot griddle or cast iron skillet. Smash each ball of meat flat (these burgers are best when the patties are very thin). I try to make sure the patties are far enough apart so that when smashed, they do not touch.
Sear the meat to a nice brown color, then flip them to give the other side some of that grill love. What’s important here is to cook the meat to your preference, so it may not be necessary to brown the other side. You can do these burgers a nice medium rare if you like. But since George’s Grind (from Gateway) is designed to be juicy when cooked well done, you won’t be missing out on anything if you let it cook a bit longer!
When the burgers are done to your liking, add the cheese and let it melt a bit, then remove the burgers from the griddle. Without draining, place the patties on buns. Add the cooked onions to the burgers.
Repeat the process with the remaining balls. If you’re making a large quantity of burgers, just keep going with more onions and patties. The lard, onion and natural beef juice just keeps getting better and creates an even more intense flavor.
Again, you need very little in the way of condiments for these – they might be some of the best burgers you will ever eat!