CUBAN-STYLE BEEF BURGERS WITH GRILLED HAM AND CHEESE (Florida, for four)
For the patties:
1 pound freshly ground sirloin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
5 dashes Tabasco pepper sauce
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill
4 slices baked ham
4 thick slices Monterrey Jack cheese
4 large sesame seed buns, split and brushed with butter
For the mustard-pickle spread:
¼ cup dill pickle relish
¼ cup yellow American mustard
¼ cup spicy brown mustard
Columbia “1905” salad to accompany (optional)
1. To make the spread, combine the relish and mustards in a small bowl and stir to blend.
2. To make the patties, combine the sirloin, garlic, chile powder, cumin, cilantro and Tabasco sauce in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns.
3. Heat a well-seasoned large cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat until it is hot and toast the buns lightly. Remove buns from skillet and sprinkle skillet evenly with coarse salt. When the skillet is hot enough that the salt begins to color slightly, add the patties. Cook for 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare meat. Just before the patties are done, place a ham slice and a cheese slice on top of each patty. Cook for another minute or two while the cheese melts.
4. Spread the pickle spread over the cut side of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a patty. Add the bun tops and serve immediately.
from James McNair, Build a Better Burger