Hampton Roads Crab Topped Hamburgers
A juicy burger topped with fresh crab and country ham make the Hampton Roads Crab Topped Burger a great local American burger with deep roots in American history.Seafood and country ham have been staples in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia since the first settlers arrived in Jamestown in the 1600s. Local Native Americans not only taught the settlers how to fish the local waters for the plentiful seafood including blue crabs, they also taught them how to preserve meats by a method of curing with salt and smoke which over several generations led to our renowned Smithfield country hams. Today, many local restaurants serve delicious grilled burgers topped with fresh crabmeat to honor our heritage. This recipe is my interpretation of a local favorite.
8 oz. Backfin Crabmeat (fresh or canned)
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp. finely chopped deli country ham
Salt and Pepper
1/4 c. unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. minced sweet onion
2 lbs. Angus Ground Beef
Cooking/Grill Spray for grill rack
6 slices deli American Cheese
3 c. coarse shredded romaine lettuce
6 large tomato slices
1/4 c. Cocktail Sauce
6 Kaiser Rolls (about 4 1/2 in. diameter)
Crabmeat Topping: Pick through crabmeat and remove any shell pieces. In a small bowl, sprinkle lemon juice over the crab, toss to evenly distribute. Combine mayonnaise and cayenne pepper, fold into crabmeat until well blended. Stir in ham pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to assemble burgers.
Burgers: Combine dry bread crumbs, milk, garlic powder, minced onion, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and stir until blended. Add ground beef and gently knead until combined well. Divide meat mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties to fit the rolls.
Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat. When ready to grill, coat grill rack with cooking spray. Place burger patties on the rack, cover and cook turning once until cooked through, 6-8 minutes per side. During last few minutes of cooking, place Kaiser roll halves, cut side down, on the outer edge of grill rack to lightly toast. Remove Kaiser rolls when bugers are done. Turn grill off and top each burger with a slice of cheese. Close grill cover for about 1 minute for cheese to melt. Remove burgers from grill and keep warm.
Assemble Burgers: On each roll bottom, spread about 2 tsp. of cocktail sauce, top with 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, a tomato slice, a burger patty, and an equal portion of the crabmeat mixture. Add bread tops and serve.