For years now I’ve been avoiding making burgers when my boys come over for a BBQ for one simple reason—they’re boring, and I hate boringfood. Sure, you can dress a burger up to make it look sexy, but all the excitement is lost when we know what plain Jane burger is under the dress. This past year it hit me: I don’t use 100 percent beef to make meatballs or meat sauce, so why use all beef for a burger? And here it is, a burger that’s really hard to dry out, has awesome flavor and, when covered in makeup and avocado, has you dying to get it in its birthday suit!
– MAKES 8 SERVINGS.
– 1½ lb (680 g) ground beef (I like 80/20).
– 1½ lb (680 g) hot Italian sausage, removed from the casings.
– 2 eggs.
– ½ cup (60 g) dry unseasoned bread crumbs.
– 1 tsp (5 g) salt.
– 1 tsp (2 g) black pepper.
– 1 tsp (3 g) granulated garlic.
– 8 slices Swiss cheese (optional).
– ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil if using a frying pan instead of a grill.
– FOR SERVING (OPTIONAL).
– 2 ripe avocados, sliced.
– Strips of cooked bacon (optional).
– 1 white onion, separated into rings.
– 1 vine-ripe tomato, sliced.
– 8 Boston or Bibb lettuce leaves.
– ½ cup (110 ml) Cajun mayo (optional).
– 8 of your favorite bakery-fresh rolls.
Step 1: Cover 1 full-size baking sheet (18 × 26 in [46 × 66 cm]) or 2 smaller ones with wax paper. In a large bowl mix the ground beef and the Italian sausage with your hands until they are one meaty mess. Crack in the eggs (no shells!), add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper and garlic and mix again with your hands until everything is well blended. Make 8 equal balls and place them on the wax paper. No wax paper? Just put the burgers on the baking sheet and wash up later, man. Press the burgers down until they are about ½ inch (13 mm) thick.
Step 2: Fire up the grill to medium heat. Place the burgers on the grill and close the lid. After about 3 minutes, flip the burgers and cover again. Repeat until the burgers reach 155°F (68°C) on an instant-read thermometer, or until they’re cooked through (remember there’s pork—so no medium-rare). If you’re adding cheese, when the burgers are just a little underdone (for the scientists in the room, 145°F [63°C]), put a piece of cheese on each burger and close the lid. The cheese should melt pretty quickly, so check on nit once per minute.
Step 3: Don’t have a grill, or it’s pouring out? Take the biggest frying pan you have, and heat the oil in it on medium heat. Place as many burgers as you can in the pan without crowding them. (Hint, if the answer is 1 burger, you might think about getting a bigger pan, bro.) Put a lid on the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, then flip the burgers and repeat. Just like grilling, you’re going to repeat this step until the burgers are done, adding the cheese, if using, when they’re a little underdone.
Step 4: Obviously with a burger, variety is the spice of life. Dress your burgers however you like. In addition to the Swiss cheese, I like avocado, bacon, white onion, tomato and a leaf of Boston lettuce on mine. Condiments? I rock with Cajun mayo.