I’m not always a burger fan. I have to be in a mood, and even then, it has to be the right sort of burger with the right sort of fixins. A few weeks ago, I got a hankerin’ — but not for just any burger.
I wanted a burger with flavor the size o’ Texas (can you hear my cowgirl twang?), a mile high and a mile wide, with cheese runnin’ down the sides like the Rio Grande.
Too much? Okay, I’ll stop.
But I wanted a really good burger, y’all. And so I started dreaming. And I reckon this here Tumbleweed Burger (oops, I said I’d stop, didn’t I?) is what I dreamed.
I knew I wanted to season the meat, and dry seasonings are best to ensure you can still form a nice patty. I chose fresh cilantro and my favorite taco seasoning (you can make your own, but I’m not sure you can make it taste as good as this), McCormick’s Cheesy Taco. In case you’re wondering, McCormick’s isn’t compensating me to brag about their seasoning and I had to pay for that little packet o’ love straight out of my own bank account. Worth every penny of $1.09.
The patties were the best part. They were mouthwateringly juicy, and had such an amazing Tex-Mex flavor. The toppings sent it over the edge: tangy spicy mayonnaise, ripe tomato, dripping hot dog chili, smooth avocado, melty meunster cheese, and crispy fried onions.
Okay, actually, the fried onions might not have made it. They might have burned instantaneously because I didn’t measure the temperature of my oil. There might have only been one fried onion rescued from the carnage. I might have put it on the burger in this photo to salvage my reputation. But I might have too much integrity to let you believe my fried onions worked. So, um. You can skip the fried onions if, like me, you’re not a fan of frying. Or, if you do try them and they work wonderfully, you can email me and gloat (just make sure to tell me how they taste).
Failures happen. But they don’t have to ruin everything!
I served the burgers on Nature’s Pride buns that I was sent (to review, at no cost to me) as part of Foodbuzz’s Tastemaker program. They were 100% whole wheat, which was nice nutritionally and aesthetically — there’s something about brown bread that just feels tasty to me! I thought they were perfect for the burger once they were buttery and toasty.
Dad said he thought the avocado slices would be better served on the side — I tried it both ways and couldn’t decide!
Now I have to let you in on a little secret. My goal on Willow Bird Baking is to encourage you to get in the kitchen and make something you never dreamed you could make. I do it all the time, and sometimes fail, but when I succeed, I feel like I’ve “leveled up” in my kitchen confidence; I want you to feel that too. None of that is the secret, though. The secret is . . . this was the first time in my life I’d made a burger.
That shouldn’t shock you — most of the dishes I post are first tries for me — but maybe it does, since maybe everybody on the planet has made a burger before. I might not mention it at all, except that maybe there’s someone out there who also has a secret, who also hasn’t given burgers a shot. Maybe you thought you needed a grill, or just weren’t sure how to go about it. Maybe you thought they’d turn out tough. Maybe you gave up and went to a fast food drive-through instead.
If that’s you (I won’t tell anybody), I want you to make this burger! I’ve included detailed instructions below, and I’ve tested it out for you — I promise it’s a tasty one! What have you got to lose? Tell me, readers: are you a burger master, a burger beginner, or somewhere in between?
Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking (spicy mayonnaise adapted from White on Rice Couple)
Yields: 6 burgers
1.5 pounds ground beef
4-6 tablespoons taco seasoning (I use McCormick’s Cheesy Taco and highly recommend it)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
6 slices muenster cheese
butter for toasting buns
Spicy Mayonnaise Ingredients:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sriracha (chile sauce)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
fresh cilantro to taste
fried onion rings, if desired
hot dog chili (I used Texas Pete brand, warmed in the microwave)
tomato, avocado, romaine lettuce, chopped green onions
Mix ground beef, taco seasoning, and cilantro and form into 6 patties (handling as little as possible, so you don’t toughen the meat). Broil for around 9 minutes until checking for doneness by splitting one of the thickest patties in half and examining the meat. You want them to be slightly pink in the middle (see how to tell if a burger is done). Place muenster cheese on each patty to melt when you pull them out of the oven.
While broiling, melt butter in a skillet and toast buns (alternatively, brush melted butter onto buns and broil them to toast, keeping a close watch so as not to burn them).
Assemble the burger: Mix spicy mayonnaise ingredients together. Spread generously onto toasted bun, topping with cooked burger, fried onion rings, avocado slices, tomato slice, a leaf of romaine lettuce. Enjoy!