Local artisans breathe new life into outdated projects. by Brandon Hoops, photos by Keith Borgmeyer CRUZ CHAVEZ At age 22, Cruz Chavez walked away...
I built this recipe over the course of time. I would see friends put various ingredients on their burgers, and I’d think: “Mm, that sounds good. I’ll try that.” Eventually, through sweat and tears, they became Brad’s Burgers.
It started out at the golf course. Thursday night was men’s night. After playing nine holes with my dad, we’d buy a steak or burger, and we’d grill outside. It kind of began by watching the golfers make their own sauce. The barbecue sauce came from Richard Schomaker. The japs came from Steve and Terah Washam. Then I thought if the japs are good in there, then onion and garlic would be good, too. The season salt came from the golfers. It’s taken years to perfect this burger — and the recipe could change in five years!
My favorite thing about this burger is that it’s a family favorite. When we all gather at the table to chow down, there’s lots of joking and just having a good time. The kids like these burgers, and any time the family comes over, it’s generally on the menu. Enjoy!
*Ingredients are per burger
• ½ pound ground beef
• 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
• 1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
• ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
• Seasoned salt
• Sliced cheese
• Your favorite barbecue sauce
• Good hamburger buns
Step by Step
Grill Master Brad’s Recipe for the Best Burgers
Start by cracking open a beer, preferably a good one, not a cheap watery one.
Step 1: CHOP
Chop the jalapenos, onion, and garlic on a clean cutting board. I like to use the Pampered Chef chopper so they are finely chopped. This will help when you fold them into the meat. But please, don’t be a wuss and skip the jalapenos. They don’t make the burgers hot, just delicious and flavorful.
Step 2: PREP
Divide the beef into ½ lb portions. Flatten a portion out on a plate, then add the jalapenos, onion and garlic. Do this for each patty. Fold them evenly into the meat. This is usually the point in the prepping process where I longingly gaze at my beer knowing that I can’t touch it with my ground beef-covered hands. So thirsty…but alas, this process goes quick, so the beer does not get warm. Once you get this down to an art, it will be second nature.
Step 3: BUILD
Form each of the patties about a ½ inch thick. Stick the patties in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them. Next, wash your hands, and become reacquainted with your long lost alcoholic beverage of choice. “Ah.” Time to relax. Ignore your wife urging you to start the grill. Get tired of ignoring wife urging me to start the grill. Outside I go.
After finishing the beer and letting the burgers chill, head to light the grill. Come back in and ask the teenagers where they left the grill lighter. Curse the kids for not putting the grill lighter back where it belong. Light the grill. Put seasoned salt on both sides of the patties while the grill heats. Grill over medium-low heat.
After the first couple of flips, slather on the BBQ sauce of your choice. Let that stuff cook in. There are lots of options out there when it comes to BBQ sauce. Find your favorite by doing what seems most logical, trying them all. Once you find your favorite and your families favorite, stock up! You’ll be making these burgers a lot.
Step 6: EAT
When the sizzling starts to die down, throw some cheese on there and toast the buns. Take the goods inside and let everyone build their own. Enjoy the rare moment of peace and quiet while the family stuffs their faces. Ohhhh yeah.
• Get yourself good hamburger buns, not the teensy little cheap ones. Get fancy! Maybe get the ones with sesame seeds or something.
• ½ lb ground beef. Don’t short-change the burgers. Use a full ½ lb; don’t be afraid. Use 80/20 or 85/15. Don’t buy that 70/30 crap you cheapskate, you’ll catch fire trying to grill them. Be sure to add in 1 tsp finely chopped jalapeno, 1 tsp finely chopped onion ½ tsp finely chopped garlic and seasoned salt
• Sliced cheese, your favorite BBQ sauce (or someone else’s favorite… but forget them! You’re doing all the work!) Lather on the ketchup and mustard while you’re at it.
• A perfect burger isn’t complete without tomatoes, onions and pickles. Erica (the wife) and I can our own pickles so we know they’re perfect. We love working as a team…she makes the pasta salad (see recipe to the right!), and I make the burgers. We’re a perfect duo.
• Don’t forge the lettuce! It adds the perfect amount of “crunch” and freshness to this burger. And with the lettuce, it’s like you’re basically eating a salad…