Rochester, NY is home to a very popular and unusual dish called the Garbage Plate©, created over 50 years ago at Nick Tahou’s Restaurant.The legend is that after a late night out, some college students asked Nick to serve them something with “all the garbage” on it and his concoction became legendary. While variations have evolved, the original plate consists of a layer of creamy macaroni salad and crisp home fries topped with two grilled hamburger patties, melted cheese, onions and spicy mustard sauce. The crowning glory is a generous ladle of spicy, rich hot chili sauce that contains browned ground beef. Italian bread is served on the side. Variations of the Garbage Plate include using red or white hot dogs, or “hots”, as they’re called in Rochester, instead of – or heaped on in addition to – burgers. This burger is a great local American burger because it emulates a real original, only found in Rochester!
Spicy Mustard Sauce:
1/3 cup spicy beer mustard
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon original Ranch dressing
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/4 cup Amber lager beer
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 – 1/4-inch thick slices sweet onion, unseparated
1/3 cup original Ranch dressing
6 white hot dogs, skinned and cut lengthwise in thirds (In Rochester, it’s Zweigle’s brand)
6 – 3/4 ounce slices NY State Sharp Cheddar cheese (if unavailable, use other sharp cheddar)
6 split Italian Rolls, with a slightly chewy bite to the crust
• Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
• To make the spicy mustard sauce, mix mustard, horseradish, dressing and mayonnaise together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
• To make the patties, spread the chuck out in a large shallow pan. Sprinkle evenly with beer, tomato paste, garlic, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.
• To cook the onions, when the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the onion slices on the grill rack, brush evenly with half of the dressing, cover and cook until browned on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the onions, brush again with remaining dressing and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer until browned on the bottom and tender-crisp. Remove from grill and keep warm. Scrape grill rack as necessary.
• To cook the hot dogs, place the hot dog slices on the grill rack and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until browned on the bottom. Turn the hot dogs and cook for 2 – 3 minutes longer until browned on the bottom. Remove from grill, trim the ends to fit the rolls and keep warm.
• To cook the patties, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the patties and cook until done to preference, 4 to 5 minutes longer for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, top each burger with a cheese slice and place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly.
• To assemble the burgers, on each roll top, spread an equal portion of spicy mustard sauce. On each roll bottom, place 3 hot dog slices side-by-side, a cheese-topped patty and an onion slice. Add the roll tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.