No matter what the story is behind this burger, first or not, it is sheer perfection on a bun. This recipe is loosely based on the original hamburger that was invented and still served at Louis’ Lunch in Connecticut. One visit to the quaint little corner burger joint and you will see first hand how this burger phenomenon has captivated the regulars. The recipe, which has not changed since its invention in 1900, uses 5 different combinations of ground chuck and can only be topped with cheese, onion and tomato. In fact Louis’ Lunch refuses to serve ketchup or mustard saying it would corrupt the taste. This recipe yields a similar moist burger by combining chuck and grilled sirloin and uses a version of the restaurant’s cheddar cheese sauce spiked with lager. Surprisingly, the burger really does not need ketchup or other condiments; it definitely holds its own. The recipe was adapted from Steven Raichlen. Beer Recommendation: Samuel Adams Boston Lager was suggested to me for the cheese sauce and to drink with this recipe. There was a strong, but not overpowering, beer taste to the cheese sauce that I enjoyed.
- 2 cups colby cheese or 2 cups mild yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 1 cup lager beer
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb ground sirloin, at room temperature
- 1 lb ground chuck, at room temperature
- 4 hamburger buns
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- vegetable oil, for brushing
- 4 boston lettuce leaves
- 4 slices tomatoes (thinly sliced)
- Mix cheese and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Rub garlic all over the inside of a medium saucepan, add the clove and lager to the saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Add handfuls of cheese to the saucepan, stirring in between handfuls, until melted, and bring to a boil. Add mustard, salt and pepper and simmer over moderate heat until sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes; keep warm over very low heat.
- Lightly knead the sirloin and the chuck together in a bowl. Form 4 large equal patties about 3/4" thick. Season the burgers generously with salt and pepper and put on a saran wrap covered plate. Brush the insides of the buns with the melted butter.
- Light your grill and oil the grate once it is heated. Grill the burgers for about 10 minutes, turning once, for medium. Remove the burgers from the heat source and lightly grill insides of the buns until just toasted.
- Place a lettuce leaf and tomato slice on the bottom of each bun. Top each with a burger and a generous helpings of cheese sauce. Cover with bun and serve, passing the remaining cheese sauce to serve on the side.