Vermont Cheddar Burgers with Warm Maple Ketchup
The flavors of Vermont sharp cheddar and maple syrup bring a subtle tang and sweetness to a classic cheeseburger. Some grilled onions brushed with a little maple syrup are about the only other condiment you need - no pickles required. This recipe appears in the Summer 2012 issue of ZEST Digital Magazine along with our tips for grilling better burgers and two more burger recipes that are sure to please (see recipe notes for more info).
- 1 lb ground beef, well chilled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon panko crumbs
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 4 thick slices Vermont sharp white cheddar cheese
- 4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
- Maple Glazed Onions (optional - see recipe below)
- For the ketchup
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon grated sweet onion
Place the ground beef in a shallow bowl. Add the salt, a few grinds of black pepper, the mayonnaise and the panko crumbs. The mayonnaise and panko combination helps to hold the juices in the burger during cooking, but doesn't change the flavor or texture of the beef. The coarse texture of the panko crumbs is important because they don't add density to the burger like dry breadcrumbs would.
Use a wooden spatula to combine the meat ingredients as best you can before doing a final, gentle mix with your hands. Gently form the patties into quarter-pound portions and make a slight depression in the center of each with your thumb. This helps the burgers maintain an even thickness rather than developing a thicker "dome" in the center. Transfer to a plate and chill for at least 15 minutes before grilling.
While the burgers chill, combine the ketchup, tomato paste, vinegar, maple syrup, grated onion and a few grinds of black pepper in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Warm over low heat or at 50% power. Stir until smooth, cover and set aside.
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to a medium-high temperature (about 400°F). Oil the grates, add the burgers and grill until you see juices start to accumulate on the top of the meat, approximately 4 minutes. Flip them over and top with cheese after about 1 minute. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, to desired doneness. While the burgers rest, lightly toast the buns on the grill.
To serve, place a burger on each bun, top with onions and Maple Ketchup.
Makes 4 servings
Maple Glazed Onions
Slice a large sweet onion into 4 or 5 thick slices. Make a grilling tray large enough to hold them in a single layer from heavy duty foil. Brush the onion slices with a little vegetable oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Arrange on the foil and grill until soft, about 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Brush with maple syrup and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes. Watch closely as the maple syrup can burn rather easily. Transfer to a cutting board, chop roughly and set aside for the burgers.