Austin has great hamburgers. We have done two burger hops with Janssen and Bart and because Adam loves hamburgers, we have tried many burgers from many other restaurants, big and small. One of our very favorites is from Hopdoddy Burger and Bar. It is a very well-known local place in Austin, that almost always has a line out the door and around the building. People generally fall into two camps: those who love Hopdoddy and those who hate the line and think it is overrated. We are in the obsessed camp (they also serve fabulous fries and the best salted caramel shake).
We always order the same thing: the Primetime, which is both my favorite burger and the most expensive burger on the menu (why is the most expensive choice always the one I like best?!). This burger features a flavorful beef patty topped with arugula, melted brie cheese, caramelized onions, and aioli sauce all inside a sweet crispy bun. It is pretty much heaven in burger form.
A few days ago, Adam and I decided to use some ground deer meat that a friend had given us to make hamburgers. Obviously hamburgers are a big deal in our house, so after much deliberation on how to prepare the burgers, the only real choice became clear to us: we would use the Primetime toppings.
We have made burgers a number of times before, including for Christmas dinner this last year, and I have always felt like they were fine but not great. The buns never turned out quite right, the patties shrunk a lot, or the toppings-to-bun ratio was off.
This time, they was perfect. The buns were incredible, some of the very best we have ever had! They were way better than any other hamburger buns that I have ever made, and they rivaled most all of the really good restaurant buns that I have had, too! I would make them just to eat them! The toppings to bun ratio was great, and the patties were moist and flavorful. It was a triumph!
Now that I have done the testing, you should go and make your own, and then rejoice in your good decision!
Arugula & Brie Hamburger
makes 8 small hamburgers
8 hamburger buns (see recipe below)
2 pounds ground beef (or ground deer meat, if you like)
1 mix of hamburger patty seasoning (see recipe below)
2 Tbs butter
1 onion, sliced
1 bunch baby arugula
1 small wheel of double-cream brie cheese, cut into thin wedges
1 batch of garlic aioli sauce (see recipe below)
Make your buns, and your aioli sauce. Mix your beef with the seasoning, then form the beef into patties. In a medium frying pan, melt your butter, then add your onion slices and cook them until they are soft and browning. Remove from the pan and let cool.
Heat your grill, or a new frying pan, and cook your beef patties. Slice your buns in half, and place the two halves right side down in your buttery pan. You want them gently toasted with a soft layer of butter coating them. Remove the buns and set them aside. Begin with the bottom half of your bun. Add a patty, top with brie, caramelized onions, and arugula. Coat the top side of the bun with the aioli sauce and place it on your burger. Enjoy!!!
yields 8 small hamburger buns
From King Arthur Flour
3/4 cup warm water
1 Tbs instant yeast (this is different than active yeast!)
2 Tbs butter, softened
3 1/2 All-purpose flour (I have also used all white whole wheat flour, and they were a little denser, but still great)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs melted butter (for after the buns have cooked)
Add warm water and yeast. Let them sit for just a moment while you soften your butter. Add the butter and egg to the water and yeast. Stir. Add your flour, sugar and salt all at once and stir until a dough forms. Remove your spoon or spatula and with your hands, knead the dough until it is a soft ball. Leave it in the bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise for one hour in a warmish spot until the dough has doubled. Gently push the dough down, remove it from the bowl and cut it into eight even pieces. Form each piece into a ball and space evenly on a large cookie sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour or so, until they have risen again. Cook at 375°F for 15-18 minutes, or until they are gently browning. Remove from the oven and quickly brush melted butter across the top.
Hamburger Patty Seasoning:
Seasoning for 1 pound of ground beef or deer
2 Tbs Paprika
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to combine, then add to your raw ground beef before forming the patties.
Garlic Aoli Sauce:
makes 1 cup
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp cold water
1 tsp lemon juice
Add the garlic and salt to a food processor and grind up. Transfer the mixture to a medkium sized bowl. Whisk in mustard, then egg yolks. Very slowly, whisk in half of the oil. Add the oil to the bowl in a fine stream while continuously whisking. Add the water and lemon juice while whisking and then very slowly wisk in the rest of your oil. Your final result should be the consistency of mayonnaise. If it isn't (mine was not) you can add another room temperature egg yolk and whisk it in, or just spread it on like it is. Mine tasted just like it was supposed to, it was just very runny.