Us carnivores clamor for tickets to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash, but they sell out so quickly that we find ourselves whining aloud to drive-thru window attendants at fast food joints instead. (FYI: They don't give a crap.)
So this year, as previously promised in our preview piece (how's that for alliteration?), we're going to do a public service and share recipes and insights from three of the event's People's Choice award winners: Michael Schlow (2008), Spike Mendelsohn (2009), and Michael Symon (2010) so you can have your own BB at home. The entire recipes, along with suggestions for sides, sauces, and toppings, can be found in the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, $35).
The recipe follows, but we'll let Schlow take it from here:
New Times: What will you be serving up this year at Burger Bash?
Michael Schlow: We're definitely going to serve the 'Schlow Burger' again: a slow cooked burger topped with really good cheddar, crispy onions, and horseradish-black pepper sauce. Not sure if we're serving it as a slider or a big burger just yet...We're still working on it.
What do you think is the secret to winning Burger Bash?
I used to think winning the Burger Bash was just about having the best burger, cooked correctly. But the last couple of years the competition and imagination at the booths, coupled with all the TV stars involved in the Burger Bash... well, I think the winner is going to have to have a few tricks up his or her sleeve. With so many past winners participating, it's going to take a special burger to win.
What specific side goes best with a burger?
I don't think there's one hard, fast rule regarding sides. I stick with the basics, but try to elevate them. Great French fries will usually trump all else.
I like my burgers medium-rare, started on a hot grill, then cooked slowly, on a lower temp the rest of the way.
Michael Schlow's Schlow Burger
18 oz. 80 percent lean ground beef
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup mayonnaise
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tsp. prepared white horseradish
2 thick slices Vermont or English cheddar cheese
2 brioche hamburger buns, split and toasted
Crispy onions (recipe found in the book)
Heat a grill to high. Combine the meat and oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
Divide the meat into two 9-ounce portions and form them into patties. In another mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and horseradish. Season with pepper.
Let patties stand at room temperature for 5 to 7 minutes before grilling.
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Grill for 1½ minutes for rare meat. Give the patties a quarter turn to mark them, and cook for 1½ minutes more. Flip and cook for another 1½ minutes. Rotate a quarter turn and cook for 1½ minutes more.
Transfer the hamburgers to the top shelf of a gas grill or to a cooler section on a charcoal grill, and cover each with a slice of cheese. If using a gas grill, turn off the heat. Cover the grill. Cook for 4 minutes more, or until the cheese has melted and the hamburgers are rare to medium-rare.
Place each burger on the bottom half of a toasted bun. Spread plenty of the horseradish sauce on each hamburger; it should drip down the sides. Top each with some crispy onions. Season with pepper. Slather more sauce on the other half of the bun, and place it on top of the hamburger.