Well, can you believe it? This weekend is Labor Day already. Where in the world did the summer go?!
The nights here are already getting chilly, sun setting earlier and earlier….can we just stop time for a while?! I’m so not ready for winter yet.
Aside from the true meaning of Labor Day, I always think of it as the last real BBQ of the summer. Of course, we pretty much grill until there’s a foot of snow on the ground, but I feel like it’s that last time of hot weather, sipping sangria and playing outside, listening to the crickets and watching the fireflies.
So, I really want to savor this weekend, and enjoy all of those wonderful things, along with some incredible food, of course!
One of my favorite burgers to make is just simply, an old fashioned cheeseburger. Now, I wasn’t alive in the 50’s when people frequented drive in’s with carhops and diners, where the burgers were fresh and delicious. The beginnings of fast food when it was actually still REAL, good food! But, I was given a recipe long ago that is said to have been one of the classic ways they would have made burgers at those places. It may not look like much, but these things are literally the BEST burgers I’ve ever had. Juicy, flavorful, with a nice crisp, grilled outside and a melt in your mouth inside. I have also heard from my friends that these are extremely similar to a popular chain’s “Animal Style” Burger.
There’s a few little tricks to the trade that I”m going to share with you that make these burgers so special. The secret’s in the sauce!
Let’s see how it’s done!
Old Fashioned Cheeseburgers
For the Sauce:
+ 1/4 cup mayonnaise
+ 2 Tablespoons ketchup
+ 1 Tablespoon pickle relish
+ 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
+ 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo (if you like spice)
For The Burgers:
+ 2 large onions, finely chopped
+ 2 pounds ground beef
+ 4 burger buns
+ 8 slices American cheese
+ 1/4 cup yellow mustard
+ salt and pepper
+ Toppings, such as dill pickles, iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion rings
Combine all of the sauce ingredients with a whisk until smooth. Set aside.
For the burgers: First, we caramelize the onions **(If you don’t like onions, skip this step completely. It is optional).
Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the chopped onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until soft and golden. If they start to brown, your temperature is too hot. Caramelizing is a slow (but worth it) process. Uncover, increase the heat, and cook about 5 minutes more to saute them. Set Aside.
Shape the ground beef into 4 patties, about 1/2 inch thick. Season both sides of the patties with salt and pepper. Place on the grill or griddle over medium high heat. Brush the uncooked side with mustard. Cook for 3 minutes, and flip. Top with a silce of cheese, and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Top with some caramelized onions. Spread the toasted burger buns with some of the sauce mixture, and assemble your burger with remaining desired toppings.
Now, to balance out this incredibly decadent, saucy burger, I made some healthy (but oh so good) zucchini fries.
Now, you wouldn’t think it’s possible to get squash to be anything but mushy. But, these fries are crispy, crunchy, and extremely addicting. It’s a great way to use up some of those zucchini growing in the garden. Betcha can’t eat just one!
Crispy Zucchini Fries
What You’ll Need:
+ 2 or 3 medium zucchini’s
+ 1 cup italian panko bread crumbs
+ 2 eggs, whisked
+ 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
(The first trick to getting crispy zucchini fries is how thin you make the fries. Too thick; and they will not be able to crisp up all the way through, creating a limp and soggy fry.)
Take each zucchini, cutting off the top and bottom. Cut the zucchini in half so you have two “stumps” (not down the middle exposing the seeds). Take each stump, and cut into 4 thin, flat slices (long ways, not rounds). Then, cut those flat slices into sticks (sort of like matchsticks).
Combine the bread crumbs and parmesan in a shallow bowl. Have the beaten eggs in another shallow bowl. Dip the zucchini sticks into the beaten eggs, then the breadcrumb mixture. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Stick into a preheated oven of 425 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Flip the fries, and cook an additonal 10-12 minutes.
Added bonus; dip those fries in the extra secret sauce from the burger. Delish.
I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!!!