So, in case the title of this post hasn't clued you in yet, this is Hugh. Hi.

First off, I want to say thank you so much to those of you who celebrated and encouraged us in the comment field of the previous post. Your genuine excitement was an honor. I think you're all pretty rad.

Anyway, back to cheeseburgers. There's this really neat restaurant just up the freeway called The Counter. You can read about the concept behind the place here, but in a nutshell, when you walk in they give you a clipboard with a checkbox menu, and you get to draft up any one of the 312,120+ different burger options possible with the list of ingredients. Daunting. I generally burn through about three "rough draft" menus before I finally send one off to the kitchen. I came up with the following a couple weeks ago while having lunch with a buddy.

Of course, I had to call Sara with the preventative "does this make sense?" measure before I could actually order it. She said yes. So you know it's good.


If you like things with a kick, add a tsp. of horseradish to the spread.

2 Fresh Buns

2/3 lb. Grassfed Beef

1/2 Cup Sliced Scallions

1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries, soaking in hot water

4 Slices Brie/Preferably Goat's Milk Brie

2-4 Full Leaves Butter Lettuce (or any soft green of choice)



1. Put the cast iron skillet in the oven at 400' to heat through. This step is not necessary if you are using any other pan/skillet.

2. Divide the beef in to 1/3 lb patties, and shape them to be about 1/2'' thick. Keep in mind that they will shrink in quite a bit when cooked. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.

3. Drain the cranberries and mix with the scallions, set aside.

4. Heat the pan over medium-high heat on the stove. If it is cast iron coming from the oven, you can start working right away. Otherwise, add about 1 tsp grapeseed oil and allow it to heat up a couple minutes. Add one patty at a time, sear on one side for 4 minutes, or until you see the edges of the patty begin to brown and shrink up a bit. In the meantime, put your buns in the toaster or toaster oven. Flip the burger, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the brie and let it melt a minute before you remove the burger. Test the firmness of the center of the burger to gauge it's doneness (Close your hand into a light fist, poke the meaty party between your index finger and thumb, that's about medium).

5. Cover with foil and allow it to sit for two minutes. ** This timing yields a medium cooked burger in a hot cast iron pan. Vary your timing if you prefer it cooked more or less.

5. While the burger rests, put desired amount of mustard on the buns. To assemble: bottom bun+butter lettuce+burger with softened cheese+cranberry and scallion mix+bun top. Booya.

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Hi there. It's Hugh. Sara had a super busy week with the day job and couldn't make it to the kitchen before the sun went down; she asked me if I could carry the torch... So, while I'm in charge, we're having cheeseburgers.

I'm a creature of habit. I could eat a cheeseburger every day, and if it weren't for Sara, I probably would. Luckily, she's around, knows what's good for me, and makes things taste good. That's not to say that I don't order the entrée in question nearly every time we go out.

Of all the burgers I've eaten, a few stand out- tallest among them is a burger from Mission Beach Cafe, in SF, a restaurant suggested by Heidi, and one from Vine, a local spot here in South OC. What I really like about both of these burgers, is that the ingredients are simple. What takes them to the next level, is the quality of ingredients and the method of preparation. You can add all sorts of creative, off the wall ingredients to spice up a burger, but I think it's tough to beat something that is straight forward and properly crafted.

After a recent indulgence at Vine, I decided that I was going to learn the art of cheeseburger. I read an article in Sara's Food and Wine magazine, googled a bit for some inspiration, and then started tossing things in as I went along. The resulting recipe turned out well. Not as simple as I imagined, but tastier. And mind you, I'm not much of a foodie, so I don't have spot on reasons for a lot of what follows, but the end result seems to have pleased the few people I've had over for lunch.


THE BACON CHEESEBURGER // Makes three cheeseburgers

1 lb. Grass Fed Beef, 80% Lean

1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs

1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced

1 tsp. Fresh Thyme

Garlic, Minced

Raw Milk White Cheddar, Shredded

6 Pieces of Crispy Bacon

3 English Muffins



Salt and Pepper



Whole Grain Mustard



More Garlic, minced

1. Fire up the grill, nice and hot. Mine tops out around 450', which seems to do the trick.

2. Start the bacon in a pan. Make sure it's crispy. I avoid the microwave.

3. Chop the onion, toss it in a bowl with the bread crumbs, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Break up the meat and throw that in as well. Make sure all the flavor elements combine with the meat, and form three patties about a half inch thick.

4. The measurements for the sauce are up to you. I usually rock roughly even parts, mayo and mustard, a healthy dose of garlic, and a splash of marsala. And maybe some black pepper as well.

5. Here's where things get weird. Put the patties in a 9x9 pan, and fill it up with cold water. Give them about 10 seconds to soak, then drop them on the grill. Add a little pat of butter to each side of the patties as they cook. Cook to desired doneness (I give them just a little more time on the grill than I used to, without the water bath, and I haven't over cooked one yet. At 450', I give them about 4 minutes on each side, flipping only once). Don't forget to add the cheese.

6. Pull the patties, cover them with foil, and let them rest for 5 minutes. Drop your muffin buns on the grill for a little toast.

7. A bit of sauce to each bun, patty, bacon, and arugula.

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