The popularity of the cheeseburger knows no bounds. We’ve seen it first-hand at Burgers, Steaks & Fish at Quil Ceda Creek Casino, where this beefy, cheesy classic is a consistent favorite. It even has its own holiday — today, Sept. 15, is National Double Cheeseburger Day.
It’s certainly part of our country’s culinary culture, and fortunes have been made in the restaurant industry with cheeseburgers as a menu mainstay, with nearly 50 billion served annually in the United States alone. It’s also made its way into popular music (the classic “Cheeseburger in Paradise” by the late Jimmy Buffet) and even comedy (the hilarious early “Saturday Night Live” sketches featuring John Belushi as the diner owner barking “Cheeburger! Cheeburger!” to the short-order cook).
Why the universal appeal? Maybe it’s because of the endless variety of ingredients one can choose from to satisfy the “inner chef” in us all. It’s like a blank canvas to work with!
You can go saucy and add brown sauce, teriyaki, marinara and even curry sauce. You’re not limited to what type of cheeses — blue cheese and camembert anyone? In “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” Buffet shares his preparation preference: medium rare with muenster. Game meat provides a depth of flavor, or grind up chickpeas, beans or tofu for a vegetarian burger.
Though its beefy origins may date back centuries, I believe its superstar status as a mainstay dates to 1921, when the founders of the White Castle chain elevated their house-ground cheeseburger to a featured menu item, paving the way for McDonald’s, In-N-Out Burger, Burger King, Wendy’s and others.
Our own classic cheeseburger here at Quil Ceda Creek Casino is a flavorful blend of high-quality beef, choice of bun types and cheeses, and many flavorful toppings. And isn’t everything better with bacon?
Double Cheeseburger with Bacon
For the patties:
4 6-ounce ground-beef patties, 80% lean
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon minced onions
pinch salt and pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
For the toppings:
4 slices cheese of your choice
4 slices pre-cooked crispy bacon
2 cups greens
4 slices tomatoes, sliced ¼ thick
2 slices grilled yellow onions, sliced ¼ thick
1 tablespoon spread of your choice: mayonnaise, pesto aioli, etc.
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Place all burger patty ingredients except for the vegetable oil into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture into 6 oz portions.
Roll the portions between the palm of your hands until you have a firm ball. Start pressing the form from the center of the portion and work your way out to the edges until you have an even thickness throughout the patty. You can form the patties to match the shape of the buns you will be using (circle or square).
Place the patties into a sealed container and chill for 1 hour. You will be preparing the other ingredients while the patties are bonding.
Place a medium to large sized pan on the stove and preheat. Slab the butter into the heated pan and coat the area around its center. Place the buns where the butter is coated and toast both sides lightly. Remove the buns and set aside on serving dishes.
In the same pan, pour 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, add the onions onto the pan and cook until golden brown; set aside.
Remove the patties from the refrigerator. Continuing with the same heated pan, place 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil into the pan and heat for 30 seconds. Gently lay the patties into the pan, cooking both sides without pressing the patties (pressing releases the tasty juices you want to retain for the best flavor)
Before the patties reach your desired doneness, turn off the stove and lay your favorite cheese on top of the patties, cover the pan with a lid and let the residual heat melt the cheese. Uncover in about 45 seconds and add the bacon.
Assemble the burgers on the buns of your choice with your favorite toppings, accompanied by your favorite side dishes.
Makes two burgers.
Chris Cepeda is manager of culinary operations at Quil Ceda Creek Casino.