Okay, I can hear you right how – why, why, why would you take a perfectly innocent cheeseburger and steam the poor defenseless thing? Well, it all started with a book that the Southern husband gave me a while back that included a description of this particular kind of burger, which is a succulent, tender concoction of juicy burger with melted cheese dripping into every crack and crevice, served up on a soft, warm bun. All you need are the ingredients and your handy vegetable steamer, and the courage to leave the grill alone for a while.Trust me, you are in for one tender burger with this easy recipe for steamed cheeseburgers!Click To TweetNow, just a little bit about that book. It’s called HAMBURGER AMERICA by George Motz, and it’s evolved into a documentary, a blog and a very entertaining website – click here for all that deliciousness. George set out to find the very best burgers in all the land, and the book is his top 150 burger joints…everything from deep fried burgers to yes, steamed cheeseburgers to my all-time favorite burger place on the planet, the fabulous White Manna in Hackensack, New Jersey. And while I drooled over pretty much every page in the book, there was a mesmerizing entry about the steamed cheeseburgers at Ted’s Restaurant in Meriden, Connecticut. I couldn’t get those steamed cheeseburgers out of my head. It had to happen.
Get your mitts on some nice ground beef – 80 or 85% lean is what you want for nice juicy burgers – and season them up the way you usually do. I like some salt and pepper and a little Worcestershire sauce, but you be you, burger-wise. You’ll want a nice bowl full of shredded cheddar cheese, and some soft hamburger rolls – the supermarket kind are just fine.
Now comes the steaming part! I figured that since I was going for the whole steaming thing I would just use my trusty vegetable steamer, but if you don’t have one of those, a cooling rack with legs in a large skillet will do just fine (and if you have a toaster oven, the smallish rack for that would be perfect. Whatever you use, fill up a skillet or Dutch oven with just enough water that it comes close but doesn’t touch the basket or rack. Bring the water to a nice boil and then place your burgers in the steamer or on the rack. Pop the cover on the pan and let those burgers steam away for about 7 minutes.
Once 7 minutes is up, move the pan to a cool burner and top each burger with a generous handful of cheese, cover the pan again and let it sit for about 2 minutes. This will give the cheese a chance to melt into the surface of the burger. While this is happening, warm up your rolls by putting them in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
Now all that’s left to do is slather the bottom of the rolls with whatever you like – ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, lettuce – go crazy! Place your tender, cheesy burger on the roll, pop the top on, take a bite…and realize that your grill has a little competition from your stovetop now. Steamed cheeseburgers! Trust me.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80-85% lean works best)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I love the Cabot brand!) at room temperature
- 4 soft hamburger rolls
- Your choice of condiments!
- Fill a Dutch oven (if you are using a metal vegetable steamer) or large deep skillet (if you are using a rack with legs) with water that comes close to the bottom of the steamer or rack but does not touch it. Bring water to a boil.
- Mix beef, Worcestershire and salt and pepper and form into 4 patties.Place the burgers on the rack or steamer, cover the pan and cook for 7 minutes.
- Move pan from heat, place on a cool burger and quickly divide cheese between burgers, mounding it up in the center of each burger. Cover pan for 2 minutes.
- Meantime, warm rolls in microwave for about 15 seconds. Place bottom buns on plates and spread with condiments while cheese is melting.
- After 2 minutes, use spatula to move burgers to bottom rolls. Place roll tops on burgers and serve at once.