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Ode to the Kronnerburger
© Ed Anderson

Ode to the Kronnerburger

  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS
  • SERVINGS: 4
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

Inspired by chef Chris Kronner's popular hamburger, writer Daniel Duane created this streamlined version for the home cook, featuring from-scratch super-tart pickles and a thick, creamy white-cheddar mayonnaise. Duane also has advice on ground beef: "If possible, ask your butcher to grind fresh chuck mixed with short rib fat; ask to have the meat ground once only, through a medium die." Duane swears the extra effort is worth it.

  1. 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  2. 1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  3. 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  4. 2 whole cloves
  5. 1 star anise pod
  6. 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  7. 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  8. Kosher salt
  9. 1 English cucumber, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  10. 4 dill sprigs
  11. 2 large egg yolks
  12. 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  13. 1 cup vegetable oil
  14. 1/2 cup finely grated aged white cheddar, such as Cabot Clothbound
  15. 1 teaspoon hot mustard powder
  16. Pepper
  17. 4 medium white or brioche burger buns
  18. Softened unsalted butter, for brushing
  19. 1 red onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  20. 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (25 percent fat)
  21. Sliced beefsteak tomato and iceberg lettuce, for serving
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the white vinegar, yellow onion, garlic, whole cloves, star anise, coriander and caraway seeds and 2 1/2 tablespoons of salt and bring just to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the cucumber slices and dill, remove from the heat and let cool completely. Transfer the cucumbers and brine to a jar and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender or mini food processor, combine the egg yolks with the cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water and puree until smooth. With the machine on, add the oil a few drops at a time until the mayonnaise starts to thicken, then add the remaining oil in a very thin stream until the sauce is emulsified. Add the cheese and mustard powder and puree until smooth. Season the mayonnaise with salt and pepper and scrape into a bowl. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a cast-iron grill pan until very hot. Brush the cut sides of the buns with butter and grill over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 1 minute; transfer to a platter. Add the red onion slices to the pan and grill until lightly charred on the bottom, about 2 minutes; transfer to a plate.
  4. Gently form the ground beef into four 3/4-inch-thick patties, packing them as loosely as possible. Season generously with salt and pepper and grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred on the outside and medium-rare within, about 4 minutes total. On each bun, set 3 pickle rounds, 1 slice of tomato and 1 slice of grilled onion and top with the burger and an iceberg leaf. Generously brush the bun tops with the cheddar mayonnaise, close the burgers and serve right away.
Make Ahead The mayonnaise can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Crisp, refreshing lager.

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