Cheddar-And-Onion Smashed Burgers With Homemade Sesame Buns
Happy Memorial Day! Memorial Day usually kicks off grilling season around here. I love being outside and eating hot dogs and hamburgers and grilled chicken, steaks, and salmon. I can't wait until we have a house with a yard so we can have our own grill. Once we do, I look forward to throwing some sort of protein and corn on the cob on the grill all summer long. For now I just relish the times I get to hang out with friends and family who have grills and outdoor space.
Because we can't grill outside, I'm always on the lookout for tasty recipes I can make indoors in a grill pan or using my Cuisinart Griddler. I was pretty excited to see an article in Food & Wine about burgers actually being better on a griddle. Of course, if you read the whole article, you soon find out they want you to put the griddle on the grill. I knew if I followed the recipe without using a grill, my burgers wouldn't get that smoky grill flavor, but I figured they'd at least partially satisfy my craving for grilled foods.
I remembered that Alicia had recently made her own burger buns, so instead of buying some this time, I decided to make my own too. I found a recipe from King Arthur Flour and set to work on the buns about 3 hours before I wanted dinner to be ready. They are so easy to make. As long as I have the time to make burger buns, I'll be doing that as opposed to buying them from now on. They are definitely worth it.
Homemade Sesame Seed Buns (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
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Makes 8 buns
3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water (less in humid environment, more in dry climate)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 egg white, beaten
Sesame seeds, for topping
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, combine water, butter, egg, flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.
Run mixer on low speed until dough becomes soft and smooth.
Transfer the dough to a large buttered glass bowl, cover it with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it has nearly doubled.
Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. (To divide it evenly, use a scale. My dough weighed just slightly more than 800 grams, so I divided the dough into 8 roughly 100-gram pieces.)
Roll each piece into a ball. (See this how-to video.)
Space the dough balls out on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a Silpat, and flatten each one to about 3 inches across.
Cover the baking sheet with a towel or plastic wrap, and let the buns rise for another hour. They should look puffy.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Brush the buns with the egg white, and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Bake the buns for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden.
Transfer buns to a rack to cool.
Cheddar-And-Onion Smashed Burgers (adapted from Food & Wine, June 2011)
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Favorite pickles of your choice, thinly sliced
2 homemade burger buns, halved
2 ground beef patties (or 1/2 pound ground beef)
Salt and pepper
1/2 Vidalia onion, sliced paper thin
2 slices cheddar cheese
Heat griddle to 400 degrees.
Layer pickles slices on the bottoms of the buns.
Place the patties on the grill, press them with a spatula, and cook them for 30 seconds. (Or for ground beef, loosely form the meat into two balls, and place them on the griddle. Cook the meatballs for 30 seconds. Then flatten them with a spatula to make 5-inch patties.)
Season the patties with salt and pepper and garlic powder, and cook for 2 minutes, until well-seared.
Press a handful of onions onto each patty.
Carefully flip the burgers so the onions end up on the bottom.
Season with salt and pepper and garlic powder again, and top each patty with a slice of cheese. Cook for 2 minutes.
Then cover the patties and griddle with a roasting pan turned upside down, and cook for another minute, or until cheese is melted.
Transfer the burgers to the bottom buns.
Cover with the bun tops.
A couple of notes on this recipe: I made these twice, and I went through the balling and smashing the first time and skipped it the second time. You could go either way. I added seasoning the burgers on the second side and also using garlic powder because these needed more flavor. (You're really supposed to finish them with umami dust, but I didn't have it or want to buy the ingredients to make it.)
These are definitely the best-tasting burgers I've made indoors. While I love the classic toppings (cheese, onions, and pickles), I know I'll be adding tomatoes to these burgers when I can find ripe ones at the farmers' market this summer. Tomatoes are pretty classic too, I think.
What are your plans for Memorial Day?
I'm in Aruba right now and have no idea how we'll be celebrating. I plan to spend the day on the beach though!