There used to be this hole-in-the-wall place in Hollywood serving these super-juicy out-of-this-world burgers. Cheese and kraut were literally melting and dripping down the sides as well as my fingers and chin. I swear these burgers were messier than a Tommy's burger, and that's saying something. I used to frequent this place when I was interning for an entertainment company right across the street from the old Grauman's Chinese Theater.
I wish I could remember what the place was called, but twenty years have passed and I can barely remember last week. It was the type of eatery only locals frequented or knew about. The bead board walls were shabbily painted red. There were a few scratched up tables and not much else but a giant flat top grill and a register. Two guys in the back flipped some of the best burgers I can recall. They took "cash only". Who knows if they are still around, but their kraut burgers have lived on in my mind.
Since Father's Day is on the forefront it's time to start thinking about "manly food" and what to make for the dad's in our lives. Fermented foods like sauerkraut have also been on my mind. My current work with Sargento has me investigating fermented foods as a culinary trend.
I couldn't have been more excited this past week to see vendors at the Farmer's Market selling their own homemade sauerkraut and kimchi. I think people are seeing the health benefits of fermented foods and incorporating them into their diet. Best thing is sauerkraut adds so much flavor without adding a ton of calories, it's the perfect topping for so many things.
I decided on Sargento Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese slices and Sargento Vermont Sharp White Cheddar Cheese slices for a double whammy of cheesiness.
The double kraut flavor came from mixing half of the sauerkraut in with the ground beef to give the burger an extra punch of flavor while keeping them nice and moist. To get the health benefits of the sauerkraut make sure to buy it from the refrigerated section right next to the pickles. This is the healthy, fermented kind. The stuff you find in the canned vegetable aisle is just packed in vinegar.
Double Kraut-Double Cheese Burgers
Recipe Created by Cathy Pollak for NoblePig.com | Serves: 5 burgers
1-1/4 pounds ground beef (85/15)
1 lb (16 oz) sauerkraut (bag or jar), drained and divided
10 slices center cut bacon, cooked
5 slices Sargento Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese Slices
5 slices Sargento Vermont White Cheddar Cheese Slices
5 hamburger buns
In a large bowl combine ground beef and half of the sauerkraut. Form into five equal patties (the patties will be more delicate than regular burgers, be gentle with them).
Cook burgers as desired, I made mine in my cast iron skillet. Season with salt.
Toast buns while burgers are cooking. Build your burger with bun on bottom, cheese, burger, more cheese, 2 bacon slices and sauerkraut. Spread top bun with mayonnaise before placing it on the sauerkraut.
Cathy owns a vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. She is a food writer for Davis Life Magazine and blogs daily about wine, food and everyday living. She lives with her husband and two sons. You can visit her at noblepig.com.