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Burger on weeknight tastes like weekend

  • A burger with pimento cheese. AP



Associated Press
Monday, September 03, 2018

If pimento cheese is already part of your life, then you are blessed for sure. If not, get ready for life to get a little bit better.

And get ready for one of the best burgers of your life.

It’s dangerous ground for a Yankee like me to start messing around with a Southern recipe like pimento cheese. This may well not be how you (or your mom or grandma) make it. But I’ve done a bit of research now, and a bit of testing, and I humbly submit this version for your consideration.

Don’t use pre-grated cheese for this – freshly grated cheese tastes better and makes the mixture adhere together better. Talented Southern chef Griff Day shared his secret ingredient with me: He uses a splash of bourbon in his pimento cheese, and that little trick really seems to add some depth and extra flavor to my version as well.

Make this at least one day ahead to allow the flavors to meld. Serve leftovers (there will be leftovers, and you will not be sorry about that) with crackers.

Burger with Pimento Cheese Spread

Pimento Cheese Spread:

½ cup mayonnaise

3 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon bourbon

½ teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce, or to taste

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

Large pinch cayenne pepper

½ pound grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 7-ounce jar pimentos, drained and minced

Kosher salt to taste

Burgers:

1½ pounds ground chuck

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

6 hamburger buns, to serve, toasted if desired

Sliced tomatoes, onions and lettuce to serve (optional)

In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cream cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce, bourbon, Sriracha, smoked paprika and cayenne. Stir in the cheddar cheese and pimentos, season with salt to taste, and add more hot sauce if desired. Pack into a container and refrigerate for at least one day, and up to seven.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and use your hands to mix in the seasonings.

Form all of the meat into six equal-size patties, making the edges as neat as you can. Use your fingers to make an indentation in the middle of each patty about 1 to 1½ inches wide and about ½-inch deep. The burgers will swell a bit during cooking, and therefore end up flat, not rounded (which would make any toppings slide off).

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Grill the burgers for about 4 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked as you like them.

Place each burger on the bottom of a bun, top the burger with a generous spoonful (about a heaping tablespoon) of Pimento Cheese, and let everyone top with the tomatoes, onions and lettuce as they please.