Southern Smothered Steak Burger
Growing up in Texas with two parents that could cook outstanding comfort foods has had a lasting impression on me and the way I think about food. They learned the old way, from family and traditional methods. Adding to that, as a kid, I saw my dad flourish in a career in gourmet grocery and deli.
Smothered steak was one of the many great home meals they would make. When they did it they used a tenderized round steak cutlet smothered in a basic but delicious mushroom gravy. I’ve updated their tasty meal into a burger, upgrading the meat for an incredible flavor combination and incorporating another staple in my house as a child, the flavor of bacon. It has all the messiness of a Sloppy Joe but a totally different and satisfying taste.
2 1/4 lb. Chuck Steak
3/4 lb. USDA Peppered Smoked Bacon
1 Tablespoon Grains Of Paradise, cracked
1/4 cup Onions, minced
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
1/4 lb. Unsalted butter, softened
1/8 cup Dry white wine
Mushroom Marsala Gravy:
1 cup 1015 Onion or other sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons Garlic butter
1 lb. Sliced button or Crimini mushrooms
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup Dry white wine
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 1/2 cups Beef stock or broth
To taste Salt
1 gallon Ice and container, such as a bus tub,
to place bowl to catch meat from grinder
1/4 cup Vegetable oil, to brush on grill grates
6 Brioche buns, split
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover. Once coals are ready carefully knock pile to one side of grill. If using a gas grill heat to high only on one side. Set the cooler side to med-low.
To make the patties, cut the steak into 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch strips. Turn on grinder or, if a grinder is unavailable, find a butcher that can make this blend for you. Feed the grinder tube alternating strips of steak with bacon, making sure all is falling into bowl in iced tub. Add cracked grains of paradise (I use a pepper mill). Mix meat until well incorporated. Separate into 6 – 3/4 inch patties. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated or on ice until ready to grill.
To make the garlic butter, sauté onions and garlic with 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over the heat removing as necessary to keep butter from browning, tossing or stirring occasionally. When onions are translucent deglaze with white wine. Reduce until most of liquid is gone. Allow to cool slightly. Add to the remaining softened butter; whip in mixer or by hand in a bowl with a whisk.
To make the mushroom gravy, sauté the onions with the garlic butter in a skillet over high heat, removing as necessary and stirring occasionally to keep butter from browning. When the onions start to get translucent add the mushrooms. Let onions and mushrooms get very hot and deglaze with the Marsala and white wine. Reduce by 2/3. Add the flour, combine well and let cook for a couple of minutes, removing from direct heat as necessary to keep from over browning. Add half the amount of the beef stock or broth, stirring or whisking as you go. When combined, add the rest and stir well. Let the mixture bubble for a minute or two. You want the gravy to be thick and hearty. Depending on strength of stock you may need to add salt to taste. Set aside, keeping mixture warm by pushing to the indirect heat/warm side of the grill.
When the grill is medium hot, brush the grates with vegetable oil. If you are using a gas grill, reduce the high side to medium-high. Place the burgers over the heat, cover & cook for about 3 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes for medium. Adjust minutes to desired doneness. Move to warm side.
Brush the inside of the buns generously with garlic butter. Place butter side down along the edge of the hot zone of the grill, being careful to toast without burning the butter.
To assemble the burgers place a patty on the bottom half of each bun. Top generously with mushroom gravy and place the bun top and serve, possibly with a knife and fork depending on how much of the mushroom gravy you like.