The Great 4th of July Steakhouse Steak-burger | BBQthingz Recipes & Blogs
The succulent Steakhouse Steakburger is an elusive beast — hard to find a proper one in a restaurant and even harder to make at home. It is a big fat fellow, about 3/4-inch thick, weighing in at 8 ounces or more. It wastes no space on the bun. It has a thin, rich salty cordovan crust that gushes molten fat. With each bite, it reminds me that a great burger is a gustatory delight as elusive as any delicacy. Its natural habitat is the white tablecloth steakhouse, where it is treated like hand-carved prime rib and broiled or grilled by a flame, but the price is outlandish. It took me a year to perfect my technique. What I learned negated almost everything I thought I knew about hamburgers. These are so juicy that I serve them in a bowl.
What You'll Need:
- Grilling Tools - click here
- Grilling Gloves - click here
- Grilling Apron - click here
- Grill Brush - click here
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 1 pound loosely ground chuck, 25 percent fat
- About 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 hamburger buns
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 thick high-quality bacon slices
- 2 tablespoons Burger Glop (see link to accompanying recipe in the directions)
- 2 iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves (see Notes)
- 2 slices raw sweet onion, about 1/8 inch thick
- 2 slices from a large tomato
Prep: Mix the pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Spread the meat out on a plate and sprinkle it evenly with the mixed seasonings. Gently form the meat into 2-inch-wide balls. Don’t worry if the seasoning doesn’t appear to be evenly distributed. Don’t compress the meat; you want juices to collect in small air pockets and keep the burgers tender. Each one should weigh 8 ounces. If not, adjust so that they are of equal weight. Gently press the balls into disks about 3/4 inch thick and 4 inches wide. Try to smooth over deep crevices, which will allow heat to penetrate to the core too quickly. Notice there is no salt on the inside of the patty.
Fire up: Set up the grill for two-zone cooking. The indirect side should ideally be about 225 degrees. No smoke yet.
Cook: Butter the buns and put them, buttered side down, on the direct heat side of the grill. Do not walk away. They can go black in a hurry. When the butter has melted and the buns are lightly browned, set them aside.
Now get some smoke rolling by putting wood on the hot spot. Put the bacon on the indirect side. Place the burgers on the indirect side and sprinkle one side of the patties with salt. Close the lid and cook for about 10 minutes until the bacon is the desired doneness. I like it bendable.
Push the tip of a rapid-read thermometer into the side of both burgers. You may discover that one is cooking faster than the other. Turn them over, sprinkle with salt, and cook for another 10 minutes. Because they are not over direct heat, you do not need to flip them often. When the burgers are about 20 degrees below the temperature you want, get ready to move them to the direct heat zone. If you are on a gas grill, crank it up to high. On a charcoal grill you might want to add more pre-lit coals. If necessary, take the meat off the grill and close the lid while the hot side heats up. If you have a pellet cooker or another grill that doesn’t have enough radiant heat to sear, put a cast-iron pan or griddle in there — when the griddle collects a lot of heat, it can do the job.
Put the burgers on the direct-heat side and leave the lid up so all the heat is concentrated on one side of the burger. If the fire flares up, move the burger to another spot — flares can deposit soot. Flip the meat every minute or so, acting like a human rotisserie, so all the energy is focused on one surface at a time. The interior will warm, but not too much. Remove the burgers when the interiors are 5 degrees below the desired temperature. Don’t overcook them while waiting for the second side to be perfect. If one side is paler than the other, that’s acceptable.
Serve: Set the bottom of each bun in a bowl and put some glop on the bottom so it can help hold the burger in place. Then put the bacon on the glop. Put a burger on top of the glop and crown it with a lettuce leaf, an onion slice, and a tomato slice. Top the second burger the same way. I put the big slippery stuff on top of the patties because you have eight fingers to manage the top of the bun.
Grasp the sandwich with both hands, and no matter what Momma told you, put both elbows on the table. Push your chair back a few inches so you are leaning forward over the bowl. The hardest part of this recipe is trying to keep the juices off your shirt.
Notes: You want cold, crisp lettuce that crunches and squirts ice water on top of the hot meat juices. Iceberg or romaine lettuce is perfect for this.
I like a single thin slice of raw onion the same diameter as the patty. In season, I go for sweet onions like Vidalia (May through July) or Walla Walla (June through August). If they are not in season, it’s red onion for me. Don’t slice the onions too far in advance. Onions taste best when freshly cut. Sometimes I put the onion on top of the burger while it’s on the grill to take the edge off the onion and make it less slippery. Another technique for taming onion is to soak the cut onion in cold water for about 10 minutes. If you like onion but a solid slice is too much, break the slice into rings. If you’re making a cheeseburger, put the cheese on top of the onion—it will anchor the onion in place as it melts.
If you want to do some stylin’, try sweet-and-sour pickle slices, pickle relish, grilled tomatoes, roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms, thinly sliced pears or apples, potato chips, or slaw. Many joints place a sunny-side-up egg on top to complete the steak and eggs combo.
- Justin Jordan