Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eskimo Burgers

When I grill burgers outside in the winter, I call them Eskimo burgers. I am lucky enough to have a little propane grill just outside the door so it is easy enough for one to shuttle back and forth between the warm kitchen and the chilly smoky patio.

Normally we make burgers using local grass-fed meat topped simply with a little cheddar and ketchup, but I just wasn't feeling it this time...I wanted some more pizzazz. So I went to twitter for advice. This is the beauty of twitter: Ask and ye shall receive responses in time to go to the grocery store before dinner. There were lots of helpful suggestions, like adding whisky (!), kofta spices, and Celia sent me a whole slew of toppings, including grilled radicchio, caramelized onions, arugula pesto, and even some things I had never heard of before (what is frico??). It was just what I needed to get out of my rut. Check out the recipe below to see what fixings we ended up with. What's your favorite way to make hamburgers?

I also picked up half a dozen Bluepoint oysters for an appetizer. I order oysters at restaurants, making me feel like the biggest yuppie ever, but it was the first time shucking them at home and it was a success, with a little dish of horseradish and lemon slices on the side. I see a lot more cheap, local oysters in our future since they sell them at the Grand Army farmers market for only $1 each.

Eskimo Burgers
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
2 tsp dried sage
2 tsp dried thyme
5 splashes of worcestershire sauce
1 shot whisky

Form into patties. (We usually get 3 patties per pound of meat). Grill over medium low heat for four to five minutes on each side. Top with slices of gruyere cheese about 1 minute before done (the more cheese the better). Set burgers aside (on a plate in the oven is a good way to keep them warm/out the way of dogs) and and grill thick slices of hearty bread until toasted. Assemble with toppings:
caramelized onions (sliced onions sauteed in olive oil over low heat for 20-30 minutes until soft and browned)
baby spinach

*Celia, do the rest of us a favor and share the whole burger inspiration list on your blog! The world will thank you.


  1. Looks good! And I am jealous of the oysters--they are pricy around here!

    Also glad you enjoyed the whisky tip--we usually put a bit of one of our Islays in it, gives it a little hint of smokiness. Oh, burgers.

  2. your recipes always look/sound so delicious!

    i like making "black and bleu" burgers: ground meat, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and blue cheese. on toast. topped with spinach and tomato. mmm.

  3. you've done it to me again, julia! i'm starving with no lunch break in sight and now i'm craving eskimo burgers. i'm making it a new policy to only check your blog once i've eaten. :)

  4. I love a good burger covered with bleu cheese. Yum. My mom makes turkey burgers stuffed with pesto and cheese that are awesome.

  5. Oh lordy those look good. I'm starving...

  6. YUM! I think we'll be giving those a try very soon.

    Oysters. We have a connection to a wholesaler. We threw a party last year with 20 dozen of the succulent little tastes of the ocean. 12 of us ate them all. So worth it.

  7. accordiansandlace - the smokiness factor totally makes sense. jesse thought it made them moister which is good too. thanks!

    October12 - holy sh*t! 20 dozen oysters!? sounds like a good party!

    rachael - black and bleu sounds so fun! wish i liked blue cheese...

    Miz.November - i've got to try stuffed burgers sometime.

  8. Mmmm. I love homemade pestos on burgers! When pea shoots arrive in spring, grab a bunch and make a pesto out of them with spring onions. So good!

    My boyfriend got into shucking oysters about two years ago - it's the best. He shucked four dozen oysters for my family on New Year's Eve. Watch out - they're addicting!

  9. ok, those burgers sound and look TO DIE FOR, and ditto what giovanna said about not checking your blog when i'm hungry. love the idea of a shot of whiskey in there. another great recipe, burger-wise, is ina garten's barefoot contessa burger. the secret besides the worcestershire sauce is egg yolk- keeps em moist and delish.

    and don't even get me started on oysters. love blue points, and wellfleets are my favorite. small, earthy, sweet. and best accompanied by:

    alley's mignonette sauce:

    1/2 cup champagne vinegar
    2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
    freshly ground black peppercorns to taste

    my best friend alley is in the restaurant biz and is a total oyster geek, to the extent that the boys at wellfleet OVERNIGHT her oysters a couple times a year. and that's what she serves em up with. heaven. enjoy!

  10. your blog makes me drool. and serves as GREAT inspiration to kick-start my cooking at home resolution. merci beacoup.

  11. oh my lord, oysters are more precious to me than shoes. I hunt them down at restaurants. I'm so impressed you shucked oysters at home! looks like such a fun night.

    ps. thanks for the link to that article. that goat was so cute! have a good weekend, julia!

  12. did you take these pictures of the food? they are magnificent! can you make me some burgers when i come visit during spring break?
    - the little one

  13. Jessica - great idea, i have never thought of making pesto with pea shoots. have you tried garlic scape pesto? it's also very good in the spring.

    BigBANG - i've never tried champagne vinegar before but it sounds divine in that mignonette sauce. thanks for sharing.

    Ginny - thanks! i'm glad i could help inspire your resolution.

    Jen Jafarzadeh - "oysters are more precious to me than shoes" = great quote!

    Michelle - yes they are my own photos. it's all thanks to the dSLR camera that jesse got as his own toy that i have appropriated for my blog. sure, we can do burgers. when is your spring break? we are going to arizona for a weekend in mid march.

  14. Hamburgers, martinis, oysters... I think could live off of those three things!

    Have you been to Brooklyn Fish Camp during happy hour? They recently upped their oysters from $1 to $1.50, but that's not terrible, considering.

  15. Jay - no, i didn't know Brooklyn Fish Camp has a happy hour. I've generally avoided it because it seems pricey. so that's good to know.