Texafied Pimento Cheese Burger

Texafied Pimento Cheese Burger
Texafied Pimento Cheese Burger

According to The Garden and Gun Blog:

As best as culinary historians can tell, the pimento burger was created there (edit Columbia, South Carolina) by Jacob “J. C.” Reynolds, who, around 1954, opened the Dairy Bar on South Main Street in the shadow of the state capitol. Reynolds introduced his signature burger sometime in the 1960s, and it quickly became a favorite of harried bureaucrats and hungover college kids. Reynolds spread homemade pimento cheese directly on the bun before adding a thin beef patty and a layer of chili. Other Columbia lunch spots followed his lead and created their own versions, and for decades the pimento burger ruled as an unheralded but much loved local specialty….

…A proper pimento burger is an exercise in balance and proportion, wider than it is tall, with a thin bun that, at a minimum, has been well-toasted or, better yet, given a sandwich-press squeeze just before serving. The key is to melt the pimento cheese, transforming it into a molten goo that seeps into the beef and the bun, a blissful, unified whole….

I’ve never had a Pimento Cheese Burger. Seen them on T.V., but never actually indulged in one myself. Loving both burgers and pimento cheese, I’ve been curious about trying one for years. After a fellow named Hashmaker on the Big Green Egg forum made one last week and then said to me, “I’d like to see your take on the pimento cheese burger.”, it was bumped to the top of the to-do list. But since I can’t seem to leave things well enough alone, I thought I would “Texafy” it.

How should we go about Texafing it? Let’s start with the pimento cheese. I love pimento cheese, so I don’t want to mess with that much. Let’s add some jalapenos! Next, the bun. Hamburger buns are good (it is a hamburger, duh!) Brioche buns? Been done and I can’t find them in my neck of the woods anyway. Think Texas….think local…Telera rolls! These are used to make Mexican tortas, why not my Texafied burger. Hmmm…what else does a burger need? Bacon! Gotta have bacon on a burger. Now we got us the start of a burger.

Cast of characters for the pimento cheese (minues 1/2 jalapeno diced)
Cast of characters for the pimento cheese (minues 1/2 jalapeno diced)

For the pimento cheese, I knew I wanted to go home made on it. Looked at a couple of recipes online, threw some out (no Paula Deen, I don’t need cream cheese in my pimento cheese, thanks) and finally settled on one that was on both the Serious Eats  and Savuer websites, but doubled the recipe (I wanted some for sandwiches later in the week) and changed a few things here and there.

Ingredients

For the Pimento Cheese

  • 4 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cracker Barrel)
  • 4 ounces grated sharp cheese
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon diced pimentos
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon diced jalapeno
  • Salt and black pepper

For the Burger (makes 4)

  • 1.5 lbs of 80/20 ground beef
  • couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • pinch of garlic and onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • Telera Rolls (or whatever buns you prefer for hamburgers
  • lettuce and tomato and onion optional
Hamburger patty onto the Mini BGE at 550.
Hamburger patty onto the Mini BGE at 550.

Directions

  1. At least 30 minutes before lighting the grill, mix together the ingredients for the pimento cheese in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Place pimento cheese in the refrigerator to chill and allow flavors to marry.
  2. Combine ingredients for the burgers and shape into 4 thin patties. Place in freezer for a maximum of 30 minutes prior to grilling.
  3. Light grill and pre-heat to 550F.
  4. Remove patties from freezer and cook for about 4 minutes per side. Flip and top with 2 tablespoons of pimento cheese per patty and continue to cook for another 4 minutes.
  5. Remove patties from grill when pimento cheese has melted and burgers have reached the desired level of doneness. Top with desired ingredients.
Flipped after 4 minutes and topped with pimento cheese
Flipped after 4 minutes and topped with pimento cheese

One thing I read and was a bit skeptical on (even though it made sense) was that the burger would not need any condiments. If you think about it, the mayo is already in the pimento cheese. If you want to add ketchup or mustard, be my guest, but try it first without them. I was pleased with the flavor and didn’t think additional condiments were necessary.

Burger assembled with bacon.
Burger assembled with bacon and served with onion rings.

Notice the toasted buns? Gotta have toasted buns with a burger. If you really don’t care about your health, go ahead and toast those buns in the bacon grease. I’m not saying I did that, but I I’ll deny it if you ask. 😉 Look at all those spices in the melted pimento cheese. I may have gone a bit heavy handed there.

My new favorite burger
My new favorite burger

Ooey, gooey, meltedy cheesey burger!! I had been texting on and off with a BBQ buddy by the name of Dyal_SC through out the night. After two bites, I had to put down the burger to text him and declare I had found my new favorite burger! So good, so decadent. The perfectly melted cheese played nicely with the burger, creamy and delicious, with just a hint of heat from the cayenne and jalapeno. The bacon added the right amount of saltiness and smoked flavor. Like I said before, there was no need for additional condiments. I did put a slice of tomato on the bottom and it complimented it perfectly. Not sure how the lettuce would have worked out. While at the store, I thought I remembered having lettuce. Turns out it had gone bad, so I did without. After trying it, I don’t think it was really necessary. The pimento cheese burger was everything I thought it would be….and more! If you haven’t tried one yet, I highly encourage you to make one.

On a side note, I told you I doubled the pimento cheese in order to have extra for sandwiches later on. While the pimento cheese worked perfectly on the burger, standing by itself for a sandwhich…not so much. Maybe the hamburger patty, bacon and bun were enough to mitigate the heat and make it seem not so hot. Maybe overnight the flavors married and intensified. Whatever the case may have been, it was way too hot to eat by itself between two slices of white bread. Really put the burn on. I would suggest either not making enough for leftovers or leave/reduce the amount of jalapenos and cayenne pepper. Other than that, I’m calling this one a success with no need for tinkering.

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Rachel Ray’s Super Sloppy Joes

My take on Rachel Ray's Super Sloppy Joes
My take on Rachel Ray’s Super Sloppy Joes

     Not everything I cook is on the BGE. Sometimes I cook inside, just not very often. For some reason, I got a hankering for some sloppy joes yesterday. We didn’t get them a lot growing up as my Dad was not a fan. When we did get them, I’m pretty sure my Mom made them from one of those spice packets. Nothing wrong with that, but last night, I wanted to try to make a home made version. After looking around the net for a while, I decided to try Rachel Ray’s. Not sure why. I’ve never cooked any of her recipes. And truth be told, I’m not a big fan. She kinda annoys me. Too happy and waves her arms and hands around way too much, but I digress. Here is the recipe with a few modifications I made.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef 80/20
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend (I used Dizzy Pig’s Raising the Steaks, but McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning will work as well)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • couple of dashes of hot sauce
  • 4 crusty rolls, split, toasted, and lightly buttered (I used telera rolls)

Directions

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up. Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning. Add sugar and spice mixture to the skillet and combine. When the meat has browned, add onion and red peppers to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, peppers, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce with meat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer (I let it simmer about 15 minutes). Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, pile sloppy meat onto toasted, buttered bun bottoms and cover with bun tops. Serve with your favorite sides or sliced tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper. Have plenty of napkins on hand!

What I Thought

     This recipe really wasn’t for me. I’m not sure who it was designed for, but I have a strong suspicion that kids palettes heavily influenced it. I think the combination of the sugar and the red peppers made it too sweet. I would definitely cut back on both. Speaking of kids, I’m not sure most kids would like the onions and peppers in their joes, especially not picky eaters. I know I wouldn’t have as a kid. One last thing about the onions and peppers and then we’ll move on. Adding them after browning the meat? That just sounds weird to me. Usually you soften the onions and peppers in a recipe by sautéing them first. Maybe that’s just me.

     I thought the sloppy joes were underseasoned as well. When was the last time you saw a recipe that did not have salt and pepper in it? I had to add both. Come to think of it…no garlic? I think that would have helped. The hot sauce wasn’t in her original recipe, but I like things to have a little kick and thought it might offset the sweetness of the recipe (it did, but not enough).

     Usually, I just use plain ole hamburger buns for sloppy joes. While at the store yesterday, I spotted a package of telera rolls. These are the rolls used to make tortas (a Mexican sandwich). I went back and forth between these and hamburger buns and finally got the telera rolls. I lightly toasted them before making my joes. I think they held up better than hamburger buns. If you have access to telera rolls in your neck of the woods, I’d recommend trying them.

     All that being said, it wasn’t totally bad. Better than the season packets you can buy. If you like your sloppy joes on the sweet side, this might just be your recipe. As for me? I think it makes a good base line recipe to work with. I’ll tweak it until I get it right. Less sugar, more heat, salt and pepper and some garlic and we’ll be heading in the right direction.

 

Sauerbraten Chicken Wings

Sauerbraten Chicken Wings
Sauerbraten Chicken Wings

     With Mrs. G off to Germany, I’m just imagining all the great food she must be eating. Schnitzel, spaetzel, bratwurst and other sausages, pig knuckle and pig shank (Hey, don’t knock it if you haven’t had it. It’s really good).  Tons of good food. Most of which I can’t/never tried to cook. Thinking about German food, my love of chicken wings and a conversation with a fellow blogger, Kristi of Necessary Indulgences, about said chicken wings, got me doing some research until I came upon Sauerbraten Chicken Wings. Not something I saw while I was in Germany. For all I know, not something they even make, but it sounded good to me. 🙂

    Sauerbraten literally translates to sour roast meat. While usually referring to beef, it can include venison, lamb, mutton or pork (and even horse in the old days). Normally, tougher cuts of meat are used. They are allowed to marinate for 3 to 10 days in order to tenderize the meat. Since chicken is not a touch cut of meat, we can reduce the amount of time it needs to marinate down to one day.  As far as I can tell, this recipe is pretty authentic minus the juniper berries which can be difficult to find.

Chicken Wings cooking on the Big Green Egg indirect at 400F
Chicken Wings cooking on the Big Green Egg indirect at 400F (before sprinkiling with salt and pepper)

Sauerbraten Chicken Wings (serves 4)

(I cut the recipe in half since I was just cooking for myself in case you were wondering why there isn’t 4 lbs of wings in these pictures)

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs chicken wings, tips removed
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 lemon, cut into eight wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 4 Tbsp crushed ginger snaps
Almost done
Almost done

Directions

  1. Combine water, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, salt, onion, and lemon in saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Remove 1 cup marinade liquid (try not to get any solid pieces), cover, and reserve in refrigerator. Place wings in a Zip-Lock bag and pour remaining marinade over. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Set up grill for an indirect cook and pre-heat to 400 degrees F. Remove wings from marinade (discard marinade), shaking a bit to remove any excess liquid. Place wings on grill, sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, and cook  for about 30 to 40 minutes, turning once halfway through. Times may vary due to size of wings and different grills. Make sure to cook them to a minimum of 165.
  4. Towards the end of cooking, melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add flour to butter, stirring until flour begins to brown (should be golden brown in color), about 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the reserved 1 cup marinade and stock, whisking until smooth and slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add ginger snaps, whisking until dissolved.
  5. When wings are cooked, remove from grill to a bowl or serving platter. Pour 1 cup of sauce over wings and toss. If desired, add remaining sauce (about 2/3 cup) or serve passed as dipping sauce with wings.
Finished and all sauced up
Finished and all sauced up

    If you like, you can go ahead and pretend I served up these sauerbraten wings with some authentic German sides like Kartoffelknoedel (potato dumplings), spaetzle (a type of egg noodle that is to die for), Rotkohl (red cabbage), boiled potatoes or potato pancakes and a nice, cold pint of German beer. I don’t mind. No need to admit I ate it with tater tots and a bourbon and Coke. 

Sauerbraten Chicken Wings ready to eat
Sauerbraten Chicken Wings ready to eat

     This was  quite an unusual twist from the normal wings. There was no heat involved. Instead, it had a nice mixture of sweet from the ginger snaps and sour and tang from the apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar. Definitely an interesting change to what most have come to expect from wings. While not my favorite wing recipe, I’ll be making these again. Especially next fall when Oktoberfest rolls around.

The original recipe that I modified can be found HERE

Smoked Cajun Turkey Breast Lunchmeat

Smoked Cajun Turkey Breast
Smoked Cajun Turkey Breast

     Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a package of lunchmeat? Truth be told, I haven’t, but I’m sure if I did, it would be scary. I’m sure they are filled with additives and preservatives and chemicals that you can’t pronounce. If you want, I’ll wait here while you go check.

     I know I should probably care, but honestly, I didn’t really make this turkey breast for health reasons. No…I made it ‘cuz I got a MEAT SLICER! And like a kid with a new toy, I just had to play with it. I guess I could also justify it by saying its cheaper than buying lunchmeat as well.

The Egg was set up for an indirect cook using apple wood chips for smoke.
The Egg was set up for an indirect cook using apple wood chips for smoke.

Ingredients

  • boneless turkey breast
  • Tony Chachere’s Injectables (I used their Butter and Jalapeno for an extra kick)
  • Dizzy Pig Swamp Venom or other Cajun seasoning
1 hour in
1 hour in

Directions

  1. Set up your grill or smoker for an indirect cook. Temperature isn’t really that important, but it will affect the time it takes to cook your turkey breast. You can run it anywhere from 250-400.
  2. Inject your turkey breast, rub it down with your Cajun seasoning and then place on your grill. If you are using wood chips (or chunks), add them at this point. I suggest a light wood like apple or cherry as turkey absorbs smoke readily.
  3. Smoke your turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F (mine took and hour and a half)
  4. Remove turkey and loosely tent with aluminum foil. The temperature will continue to rise to 165.
  5. After about 30 minutes, you can take a taste (for quality control purposes, of course). You can now slice your turkey, but it will slice better if you allow it to sit in the refrigerator and completely cool.
  6. Build a sandwich and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Finished and resting before slicing.
Finished and resting before slicing.

If your turkey breast was encased in netting, make sure to remove it before slicing your lunchmeat.

Sliced and ready to build sandwiches.
Sliced and ready to build sandwiches.

     We actually waited until the following morning to slice our turkey breast. Why do I say “we”? I should just say “me”. I’m not sure what Mrs. G was doing, but she was busy, hence the lack of any action shots of the turkey being sliced.

     While I have not constructed a monster sandwich out of the lunchmeat yet, I did manage to snag a few slices of it for quality control purposes and let me tell you it, it is far superior than any that you will be able to find at your grocery store. The hint of smoke from the apple wood, the spice and heat from the injection and the rub. So tasty and sliced paper thin…perfect for building giant subs with.  I’m going to have some good lunches this week. So what are you taking for lunch this week? 😉

Baltimore Pit Beef

Baltimore Pit Beef
Baltimore Pit Beef

Last week, I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something to cook for the Superbowl. Somehow, I wanted to tie the cook into the game. I started thinking “What is Baltimore famous for?” I thought about crabs and crab cakes but I really wasn’t feeling it. Then I remembered an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Man vs. Food where they had a sandwich. A Baltimore Pit Beef Sandwich to be exact from a place called Chaps. A quick check on YouTube of those two shows and I knew what I was going to make. (BTW, I also tried thinking of something for San Francisco, but couldn’t come up with anything BBQ or grilled. I thought about New Orleans as well and almost did a crawfish boil, but either I waited one day to late to order or I had to commit to either a 15lb bag or a 30lb bag. Kinda too much food for Mrs. G and I alone)

The star of the show - a 4lb beef round roast.
The star of the show – a 4lb beef round roast.

Having never done one before, and knowing that I couldn’t duplicate exactly what I saw on the videos, I turned to the guys at The Egghead Forum. I knew that if anybody knew how to do one on the Egg, these would be the guys and they did not disappoint. I got plenty of tips and pointers. I finally settled on Steven Raichlen’s recipe that was published by the New York Times HERE.

While normally pit beef is made from top round roast, I was told bottom round and eye of round would work as well. Someday, I am actually going to become better organized and plan ahead. When I went to the grocery store, the only top round they had was sliced for London Broil. I figured that was not going to work and after talking to the butcher and discussing what I was going to do, he suggested this beef round roast.

Beginning the sear at 450F
Beginning the sear at 450F

Ingredients

For the rub

  • 2 tbsp of season salt
  • 1 tbsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

For the sandwich

  • 3 to 4 lb top round roast (or bottom round, eye of round or rump roast)
  • 8 Kaiser rolls or 16 slices of rye bread
  • Tiger Sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced thin (optional)
  • iceberg lettuce (optional)

For the Tiger Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
I use this cast iron bacon press to hold odd shaped meats up so that I can get a sear on all sides.
I use this cast iron bacon press to hold odd shaped meats up so that I can get a sear on all sides.

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients of the rub in a bowl. Apply liberally to the beef, patting it in. Place in a baking dish and cover. You can cover the beef with the rub for a few hours, but for maximum flavor, leave it for 3 days in the refrigerator, turning once a day. (I applied mine about 6 hours ahead)
  2. Remove meat from the refrigerator about an hour before you plan on cooking and allow to begin to come to room temperature.
  3. Preheat your grill to 450F. If using a grill other than a Kamado style grill, set it up with a direct and indirect zone.
  4. Sear your beef on all sides. I did mine for about 6 minutes a side taking about 30 minutes total.
  5. Remove beef from the grill. If using a Kamado style grill, set it up for an indirect cook at this point and return beef to grill. If using another types of grill, move the meat to the indirect heat portion of the grill.
  6. Continue cooking until you reach an internal temp of 120 for rare and 125 for medium rare. You do not want to take it past this point or it will be tough. This will take approximately another 30 minutes or so, give or take depending on the size of your cut of beef.
  7. Allow meat to rest for 25 minutes,
  8. Slice beef as thinly as you can across the grain. A good, sharp knife works well, but an electric slicer would be better.
  9. Pile beef high on a roll slathered with Tiger Sauce and top with raw onions. You can top with lettuce and tomatoes is desired.
Cooking indirect at 450F
Cooking indirect at 450F

     If you watched the videos of Chaps, you will notice we didn’t follow their method exactly. They cook the beef over direct the whole time. You can try this method if you want, but you will be manning the grill the entire time. By searing and then moving to an indirect cook, you give yourself a bit of a break and can sit back and relax while the beef is finishing up.

Quality Control
Quality Control

Had to take just a bit while it was resting. You know…quality control and all that.

Ready to slice
Ready to slice

Breaking out the meat slicer that I got for Christmas. You do have a meat slicer, right?

Maiden Voyage
Maiden Voyage

The meat slicer worked great and made quick work of the beef. While not as heavy duty or as fast as the ones you would find in a deli, this one will work pretty good for home use. Just don’t rush it and force the meat. Allow the slicer to do the work for you.

Pile of meaty goodness!
Pile of meaty goodness!

Will you look at that? What a beautiful site! A pile of meaty goodness, nice and pink and tender.

Baltimore Pit Beef
Baltimore Pit Beef

     We ate ours just as they serve them at Chaps (I’m assuming), meat piled high, topped with a thinly sliced raw onion and the Tiger Sauce. Truth be told, I totally forgot about getting the lettuce out and slicing the tomatoes. Honestly, this sandwich doesn’t need it. The sharp, pungent flavor of the onion and the creaminess (yeah, I know, that’s not a word, but it should be) and heat from the Tiger Sauce paired perfectly with the beef. Slicing the beef thinly transformed what can often be a tough, lean cut of beef into a tender cut. Overall, a great sandwich and one we will be doing again. While it isn’t traditional BBQ, what with it being grilled directly and the lack of any smoke used, it is down right good eats.