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Spicy 50/50 Burgers

Mixing seasonings into ground beef can make the burgers tough if the meat gets overworked. Chef Michael Symon ingeniously solves the problem by combining seasoned hot Italian sausage with the ground chuck. The sausage gives this cheeseburger, which is adapted from Symon's 5 in 5 cookbook, great texture as well.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 3/4 pound ground chuck
  • 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage, casing removed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 slices of Monterey Jack cheese ( 1/2 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 brioche hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • Thickly sliced hot or sweet pickled peppers, for serving


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the ground chuck with the sausage just until they are thoroughly mixed. Form the meat into four 4-inch patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Season the patties with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the patties to the skillet and press down slightly with a spatula to flatten them to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cook the patties over moderately high heat until very crusty on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the patties and cook until well browned, about 2 minutes more. Top each patty with 2 slices of the Monterey Jack cheese and add the water to the skillet. Cover the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the cheese slices are melted and the burgers are cooked all the way through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Set the cheeseburgers on the toasted buns and top with the cilantro leaves and sliced pickled peppers. Close the burgers and serve right away.

Suggested Pairing

Fresh, malty amber ale is a good match for these hearty burgers.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published May 2014

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