August 24, 2016 – Every year it comes too soon – the “official” end of summer and all the great activities (or not) that make the season so enjoyable. We wanted to give it send off that would be one for the record book. The record book in our case being a little book where we note who the guests were, the menu we served from nibbles to nuts, and what we offered in the way of drinks, wine, etc. It has proved an invaluable reference over the years.
So we were delighted to find some recipes courtesy of Samuel Adams Boston Lager that looked intriguing. The burger and dipping sauce were created by none other than Kurt Dammeier, famous for restaurants serving super fresh foods and also for being the purveyor of same. His love of fresh, natural foods has been reflected in his restaurants and it was a natural progression to take the next step and become the manufacturer of foods for consumers to enjoy. In 2002 he opened a handmade cheese facility in Seattle’s historic and famous Pike Place Market. A cheese lover since childhood, he named it Beecher’s after his great-grandfather who used to purchase Stilton by the wheel. Beecher is also his middle name. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese has become so successful that after expanding to New York’s Flatiron District in 2011, it is now being made in Monroe, Wisconsin also.
We made the burger and the dipping sauce last weekend and can vouch for both. The burgers were the best looking we’ve ever managed to cook! They held their shape and each side had a lovely crusty finish due to the cheese curds.
The sauce recipe is easy and delicious. At first taste, it is slightly sweet, the tomato flavor comes through then the spicy heat kicks in. We didn’t have any Lapsang Souchong tea on hand so we substituted a half a teaspoon of liquid smoke. You could add more if you like a smoky flavor. This recipe makes a lot of sauce, even when reduced by about half. It goes well on other grilled meat and we know a few spoonfuls will spice up any stew or soup. We’re thinking of dinner on cold winter nights being spiced up with leftovers from the freezer.
We haven’t made the Boston Lager Potato Salad yet but anything cooked in beer is always a winner. If you make it, let us know how it turned out.
Beecher’s Cheese Curd Pork and Beef Burgers with Boston Lager Serrano Chili BBQ Dipping Sauce
Recipe by Kurt Dammeier
Yield: 4 burgers
For the Sauce
2 Lapsang Souchong teabags (approximately one tbsp. of loose leaf tea)
1 tbsp. neutral-flavored oil (i.e. canola oil)
1 ½ lbs. yellow onions, chopped (3 onions)
4 serrano chilies, chopped
12 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. Samuel Adams Boston Lager
28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
1 ¼ cup cider vinegar
3 cups pineapple juice
2/3 cup molasses
1 tbsp. chipotle powder
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. kosher salt
For the Burgers
1 lb. ground beef chuck
1 lb. ground pork
6 oz. Beecher’s cheese curds, chopped
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 red onion, sliced into ¼-inch rings
1 tsp. neutral-flavored oil (i.e. canola oil)
For the Sauce
Cut open the teabags and pour the tea leaves into a small bowl, then discard the tea bags and set the leaves aside.
Preheat a large saucepan over medium high heat, then add oil, followed by the onion and chilies. Sauté, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until softened and browned. Add the garlic and cook about 2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the tea and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally, cook for approximately 50 minutes, until the mixture is reduced by half. Puree the mixture using an immersion blender and keep warm until ready to serve.
For the Burgers
In a large bowl, lightly mix all ingredients until they are evenly combined. Divide the mixture into 4 balls, and toss each ball between your hands until they are uniformly but lightly packed. Gently flatten the balls into ¾ inch-thick patties and use your fingers to make a ¼ inch thick depression in the center of each patty – this will help keep the burgers flat when they are grilled. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to grill.
Toss the onion rings with 1 tsp. of oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Preheat a grill on high for 15 minutes and grill the onions until slightly charred, then set aside.
Grill the burgers for 5-10 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Serve the burgers on lightly toasted buns, topped with grilled onions and with the warm sauce on the side.
Boston Lager Potato Salad
Yield: 6 servings
36 ounces Samuel Adams Boston Lager
1 ½ pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
¼ cup diced Red Bell Pepper
¼ cups diced Celery
2 tablespoons chopped Scallion, white and light green parts
2 tablespoons diced Red Onion
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon drained capers
In a large pot, bring the lager to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to medium so that the beer simmers. Add the whole potatoes, let the beer return to a simmer, and cook for 20 to 22 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle, but still hot.
Peel the cooked potatoes and cut into 1-inch-thick cubes. Transfer the potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add the peppers, celery, scallions, onions, mustard and capers and toss to mix. Let the potato salad rest for about 15 minutes for the flavors to develop and then serve while still warm.