Burgertime Deluxe...

You would think that after our three day burger extravaganza back in July, that we would have moved on around here, but with warm weather on the wane around here, we wanted to squeeze in just a few more dinners on the grill before we head back indoors for the winter.

I still had some andouille sausage kicking around my refrigerator from the stash I used to make those stuffed pork chops and the soup with greens, and I had one last recipe from my Pinterest queue for which I wanted to use it, even though it would mean facing burgers again for dinner. Then again, burgers are one of my favorite meals. I could easily eat one every day, if I wanted to weigh a thousand pounds. 

Plus, when we went through our last round of burgers, I experimented with pretty much every form of ground meat except beef. There was pork, lamb, and turkey, but I don't think a regular beef burger has every left my kitchen. The burger recipe I found that called for andouille paired it with ground beef, and those two things were novel enough for me to want to give it a try.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed the spicy kick provided by the andouille, and the extra bit of chewiness from the sausage casings. However, the bits of sausage made it difficult for the patties to maintain their shape. If I make these burgers again, I'll either have to cut them smaller or even put the sausages through a meat grinder to make the texture of the burgers more homogenous, though the meat grinder option may destroy the pleasant toothsomeness created by the casings. The burgers did utilized finely chopped pecans in the role occasionally played by breadcrumbs, as a binder for the meat. Though they added a nice je ne sais quoi in terms of flavor, they didn't really do much to hold the meat together.

I even followed the recipe's suggestion in caramelizing onions for a topping. They suggesting adding garlic to the onions as they caramelized, and I was skeptical that it wouldn't burn, but it ended up being a nice touch. I did not, however, enjoy the extra sugar that the recipe called for, which made the onions too sweet. When I caramelize onions, I usually omit this shortcut, in favor of allowing the natural sugars in the onions to caramelize, which takes much longer than adding additional sugar, but the flavor is much improved. In the future, I would stick to my technique, but leave the garlic in the mix.

Overall, I would be happy to add this to my burger oeuvre. The recipe needs a few further tweaks to improve the cohesiveness of the patties, but the flavors were spot on, especially with a few pickles added for garnish. I was past due for a beef burger recipe, and now I'm happy to report that I have one, even if it's still a little unconventional, not unlike me...

Andouille and Beef Burgers with Spicy Mayo and Caramelized Onions
adapted from Epicurious

Spicy Mayo
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco, or hot pepper sauce

1/2 lb. andouille sausage, cut into scant 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef chuck or ground beef (20% fat)

Caramelized Onions
2 large onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

For mayo:
Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Cover and chill.

For burgers:
Toss first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Add beef; blend gently. Shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties. 

Brush grill rack with olive oil. Grill until burgers are cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Place some onions, then burger, on each bun bottom. Top each with pickle slices, if desired. Spread caramelized onions on top of burgers. Serve with spicy mayonnaise. 

For caramelized onions:
Toss onions and garlic in large skillet with oil over low heat. Cook until onions are golden, stirring often, about 45 minutes. Remove from stove; season with salt and pepper.

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