Not a Wisconsin Bar Burger!

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It’s Summer (almost)!  Paul, over at Writing at the Kitchen Table is have a Big Burger Ballyhoo to celebrate the season.

Wisconsin bar hamburgers!  I remember them fondly!  Well, actually, more than fondly.  They were as close to perfect food as one could get.

I’m talking about the small town beer bar with a griddle (not a grill, but a big, flat piece of sheet metal that foods were fried on….in fat) in the back.  The perfect hamburger was never frozen.  It was made by the bartender, who, usually, was also the owner.  He may or may not have ground his own hamburger.  It was hand-pattied, (probably with unwashed hands) and slapped on a sizzling, hot grill.  A couple of thick slabs of onion were fried along side.  The onions were well-done, the beef rare.  A slice of good old American cheese was put on top (nothing fancy here: no cheddar or Swiss or those other highfalutin’ cheeses).  It was served with ketchup and mustard on the side and a pickle chip.  No salad (lettuce and tomato) – that was for city-folk.  The buns were slathered with butter and toasted on the griddle.  When you bit in to it grease juices ran down your chin.  You can not make these at home – don’t know why.  Oh yeah, you washed it down with a Pabst … maybe a Schlitz; definitely NOT a Miller Light!

This is not that hamburger – I just felt the need for a stroll down memory lane.Burger

My entry for Paul’s Ballyhoo is a reflection of my present rather than my past.

It has herbs in it.  It’s cooked on charcoal.
It’s not served on a bun – but that’s mainly because France is not known for the quality – or existence, of it’s hamburger buns.

I have only one more comment before the recipe:

Paul (and anyone else) who makes this:  The beef I get here is not as fatty as what I am used to working with.  I added 1 tbs olive oil to the mix before I made the patties.  I did not include that in the recipe. Sauce

French Burgers with Avocado Sauce

12 oz ground beef (350 gr mince)
1 tbs snipped fresh tarragon
1 tbs snipped fresh garlic chives  or regular chives
1 tbs snipped fresh parsley
2 tbs capers
2 tbs breadcrumbs
3 tbs white wine
1 tsp capers

Snip herbs.  Chop capers if large, otherwise leave whole.  In medium bowl mix herbs, breadcrumbs, capers and wine.  Add beef and mix well – hands work best.  Shape into 3 – 4 patties.  Cook on barbecue grill for 4 – 6 minutes per side or until done to your liking.  A grill basket or pan works best.  Serve with large dollop of Avocado Sauce and garnish with remaining capers. (or serve on buns if you like)

Avocado Sauce

1 ripe avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbs Greek or plain yogurt (1.5 – 2 oz, 60ml)
1 tsp snipped fresh tarragon substitute 1/2 tsp dried

Remove avocado from shell and put into a medium bowl.  Add lemon juice and mash with a fork.  Then take a whisk and whisk until fluffy.  Whisk in yogurt and tarragon.

With it some whole grain pasta tossed with browned butter and some more of the same herbs.  (Wouldn’t get that in the bar either.)

We drank a  Rosé with it.  (I’m so ashamed…..)

Happy grilling or barbecuing or charcoaling!

10 thoughts on “Not a Wisconsin Bar Burger!”

  1. This is definitely going to be the hardest judging I’ve ever had to do. Every recipe gets better than the one before!
    For me it was Howie’s Hoffbrau on LaCrosse Street near the old Concordia Ballroom. The burgers were the absolute best, on a par with bowling alley pizza. They were an Old Style joint, but I’ve always been an imported European drinker. That’s handy now that I’m an exported American drinker.
    I might have to start cooking some of these recipes in advance because I’m getting hungrier by the minute….oh, apparently I’m having an asparagus tart since the new asparagus has just been cut. Maybe Freya won’t notice me cooking a small burger.
    Thanks for your participation and good luck!

  2. Weee, no dandelion leaves? Nice combination. I think I have to participate too, I can’t miss the chance for goat slick.

  3. Wow, could I come be ashamed with you. Herbs, no bun, avocado sauce and wine, yes I’d really like to be ashamed with you!

  4. Well, this isn’t a hamburger the way I remember it from childhood, but it sure sounds delicious. Herbs, avocado….why not?!

  5. Yay, another Wisconsinite (I grew up in Holmen, north of La Crosse). I was visiting my sister in Milwaukee earlier this spring and imbibed my fair share of Schlitz….just can’t get that in LA (though the hipsters here have laid claim to PBR). I’ll be home again this month and in August–will have to seek out some burgers.

  6. Don’t be ashamed of drinking rosé! Rosés are coming back in a big way and there are some great French ones. And they’re just the perfect thing with certain meals — such as your hamburger meal, where a white might not hold up but you still want to drink something chilled.
    BTW, I saw your comment about parsnips on Travelling Food Lady. I think parsnips are translated “panais” and I have found them quite regularly the past few years. They are often sold as a “légume ancien,” and I have seen them in quite a few recipes lately…during the winter anyway.

  7. Paul, Bar burgers and bowling alley pizza – two of the finer things in life…so few people truly understand that!
    Ulrike, dandelion leaves…hmmmm. Why didn’t I think of that? Could have been a nice little salad.
    Tanna, please, come and share my shame. I’ll have a glass chilling.
    Lydia, not from my childhood either. I like to think my taste has grown – but, sometimes I wonder.
    Erin, I know Holmen, been there in fact. I lived in Winona for a few years (I know, Minnesota, but couldn’t be helped) I grew up another 30 miles north. Thanks for stopping by. Yay Burgers!
    Betty, we loved the Spanish rosados and are now happily learning all about the French roses. I agree they are perfect with summer foods – particularly main dish salads – Nicoise, etc. Thanks for the tip about parsnips – I think you come from a more ‘worldly’ part of France…but our area will catch up.

  8. Oh my goodness! These are definitely burgers that won’t see any of our local Wisconsin Bars but they will probably make it to my picnic table for sure. If anyone happens to be in the Milwaukee/Waukesha area be sure to check the humongous black angus burgers at Big Guy’s Grille ). My cousin is “the” big guy and he makes terrific burgers… and pizza. No bar; but he is located next to and across from a couple bars, if that counts.

  9. Dotty’s Dumplings is the best for a bar burger here in Madison. I’d give Solly’s Grille the nod in Milwaukee. Wisconsin sure does know how to do a good burger.

  10. Thanks for the tips, Teresa. Ya, I don’t think these will be a hit in the bars…ha ha
    Vanessa, I agree, they are the best, Thanks for stopping by!

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