First there was mustard. For that tangy yellow condiment we can thank the culinary wizards in Dijon, France, who whipped up the first batch of ground mustard seeds mixed with wine, vinegar, and spices about 800 years ago.
Then there was ketchup. About 300 years ago European explorers developed a taste for a thin fermented fish sauce in Asia called kêtsiap. They brought it back to Europe and adapted it to eventually include tomatoes.
And now we have barbecue sauce, a more modern American idea that is slowly becoming a contender for our favorite burger condiment. I know this because I spent the past year doing research for Weber’s Big Book of Burgers and saw many barbecue sauces of all types showing up in gourmet burger restaurants and backyard bashes. The sauce in recipe below (from the book) plays the sweetness of Cherry Coke and cherry preserves against the tartness of red wine vinegar. I hope you will try it and decide for yourself if barbecue sauce belongs on your burger.
- 1.5 Pounds ground chuck (80% lean)
- 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 Teaspoon prepared chili powder
- 1 Teaspoon onion powder
- 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
- .5 Teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- BARBECUE SAUCE (4 cups)
- 1 Teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1 Cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3 Cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Cups ketchup
- 2.5 Cups Cherry Coke
- .5 Cups packed light brown sugar
- .5 Cups cherry preserves
- .25 Cups red wine vinegar
- 2 Teaspoons prepared chili powder
- .25 Teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
- 4 slices smoked mozzarella cheese
- 4 hamburger buns, split
- 4 thin slices sweet onion
- 16 dill pickle chips
- Total Time: 1 hr 35 min
- Prep Time: 1 hr 25 min
- Cook Time: 10 min
- Mix the patty ingredients, and then gently and briefly form four patties of equal size, each about 3/4 inch thick.
- With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 1 inch wide in the center of each patty to prevent them from forming a dome as they cook.
- Refrigerate the patties until ready to grill. Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook until slightly softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Whisk in the remaining barbecue sauce ingredients, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture thickens and is reduced to 4 cups, 45 to 55 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
- Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400°F to 500°F).
- Grill the patties over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to medium doneness (160°F), 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. During the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of grilling time, place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt and toast the buns, cut side down, over direct heat.
- Spread some barbecue sauce on the cut side of each bun. Top with an onion slice, a patty, and pickles.
- Serve warm. The remaining barbecue sauce can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 month.
About the Author
Jamie Purviance is one of America's top grilling experts and Weber’s Culinary Director. Since graduating from Stanford University and Culinary Institute of America (with high honors), he has written more than a dozen cookbooks and contributed to many national magazines. His most recent book is “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers.” His other books include “Weber’s Way to Grill” (a James Beard Award finalist), “Weber’s Smoke,” and “Weber’s New Real Grilling” – all New York Times best sellers. Follow Purviance on Twitter @jamiepurviance and on Facebook.
© 2014 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from Weber’s Big Book of Burgers™ by Jamie Purviance. All rights reserved. Used with permission.