Need a surefire hit to serve at your summer barbecues? This juicy burger is extra cheesy and decadent, thanks to the homemade pimento cheese that's dolloped on top and cooked until melted and gooey. The recipe comes from Top Chef's John Tesar, who recently debuted his first cookbook, KNIFE. While you'll cook the burgers in a pan, not directly on the grill, it's a great addition to your summer gatherings and a tasty alternative to standard cheeseburgers. Check out the recipe below and liven up your backyard barbecues all season long.
What’s the difference between a pimento burger and a cheese burger? Besides the peppers, the pimento cheese is much richer than a slice of American cheese. It’s spicy, sweet, and creamy all at the same time, my tribute to the South. The leftover cheese makes a great dip and is even better on a grilled cheese sandwich.
FOR THE PIMENTO CHEESE:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup finely diced roasted red peppers, drained
- 12 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated
- 12 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar, coarsely grated
FOR THE BURGERS:
- 1½ pounds 80/20 ground chuck
- 2 teaspoons butter, softened
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
- 4 slices red onion, grilled
- 4 leaves Bibb or butter lettuce, optional
- 4 slices tomato
Make the pimento cheese: In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Whisk until combined.
Add the roasted peppers and cheddars and gently fold into the mayonnaise. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make the burgers: Remove the pimento cheese from the refrigerator.
Divide the ground chuck into four equal portions, 6 ounces each. Pat the meat into thin patties, each a little bigger than the bun. Smear ½ teaspoon of butter over one side of each patty and season that side with salt and pepper.
In a pan over high heat, heat the oil. Put the burgers, buttered-side down, in the pan and cook until they are brown and crusty, 4–4½ minutes. Season the top sides of the burgers with salt and pepper and baste them with the fat in the pan. Flip the burgers and cook for another 3 minutes. Put a dollop of cheese on top of each burger. Cover the pan and cook for a minute, until the cheese is melted and gooey.
Place a bun on each of four plates and stack with the onion, lettuce, and tomato. Top each bun with a burger, cheese-side up, and cover with the other half of bun.
Excerpted from the book KNIFE by John Tesar and Jordan Mackay. Copyright © 2017 by John Tesar. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Kevin Marple.
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