Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Schomburger

How does a burger topped with bourbon sizzled ham and cheese sound?  This burger has 100% the USDA of nostalgia for me.

I grew up on the North Eastern beaches of Florida.   When the waves were breaking, we would chase our favorite breaks up and down the coast from Fernandina down to Flagler, where ever the waves were firing the best.  When the waves were dead, we'd hang out at social spots on the beach with our group of friends.  

One of those spots in the late 1980's was at A Street in St Augustine.   You could drive onto the beach, park next to your friends and discretely party on the beach.  There is a shack called The Beachcomber where A Street meets the sand.  You walk straight onto their deck from the beach.  

Their deluxe burger was called the Schomburger and it was named after my buddy's cousin, so that's what I always got there.  It was one of the biggest burgers that I had up until that time and buried in hot ham and cheese.  It rocked in the best way.  Looking back I realize it was probably just a food service frozen burger cooked on a flat top like any fast food joint.  But on those sun bleached days of my hazy youth, it was fine dining!

I haven't been to The Beachcomber in over 25 years.  I was happy to see that it is still open and still serving up the Schomburger.  I live over 500 miles away now so I tried my own updated version tonight.  

The Schomburger, bge burger, grill dome burger recipe, kamado grill burger

The Schomburger

inspired by The Beachcomber in St Augustine, FL 
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 10 min

Ingredients (4 burgers)
    For the burger patties
    • 1 1/3 lb Laura's Lean Ground Round
    • 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
    • 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp dried chives (optional)
    • 1/4 tsp dried minced onion
    • 1/4 tsp dried minced garlic
    You'll also need
    • 4 sesame seed buns
    • 12 thin slices Black Forest ham
    • 4 slices provolone cheese
    • 1/4 cup Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon
    • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, thinly shredded and seasoned
    • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
    Equipment needed
    • Griddle or skillet
    • large lid or steam pan
    1. Mix the patties ingredients together and form into 4 third pound burger patties. Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to grilling.
    2. Preheat a charcoal grill with cleaned grates to 450f. Place griddle on grill to preheat as well.
    3. Lightly brush the buns with a little olive oil and toast over the hot coals. Remove.
    4. Assemble 2-3 slices of ham topped with 1 slice of cheese into a stack on a tray.  Repeat with remaining pieces.
    5. Grill the burger patties until the edges begin to brown and moisture begins to bead on top of the patty, about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes.
    6. Flip the burgers.
    7. After 90 seconds, drizzle a little oil (1 Tbsp or so) on the griddle or skillet. Add the ham and cheese stacks. Carefully drizzle the bourbon over and around the ham on the griddle, cover with a steam pan and cook for 1 minute.
    8. Use a spatula to place each ham stack on a burger and let finish cooking for 1 more minute.
    9. Serve on toasted buns with shredded lettuce and tomatoes.
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    Why Laura's Lean Beef?  First, it's part of the Meyer Natural Foods family, which I have grown immense respect for after seeing their operations from the inside earlier this year.   But actually the beef just looked better than the rest of the ground beef at the store, even the store's fattier 85/15.  I didn't tell Alexis or Trevor that I used lean beef for these burgers.  They both loved the burger and were surprised when I told them it was so lean.  

    Burger Tip:  
    Would you eat a plain lettuce and tomato salad with no salt, pepper or seasoning?  No?  Then don't do that with your burger.  I like to season my shredded lettuce and tomatoes with a little salt and pepper before assembling the burger.  

    burger tip, The Schomburger, bge burger, grill dome burger recipe, kamado grill burger

    bed of coals
    You could do this all on an electric skillet but you can't beat the taste of real fire.

    toasted buns
    Toasting the buns is a small step to add texture and flavor to your burgers.  Small things make the difference.

    The Schomburger, bge burger, grill dome burger recipe, kamado grill burger
    When the oak mellowed bourbon hits the hot griddle, the aroma is instant.

    The Schomburger, bge burger, grill dome burger recipe, kamado grill burger
    I stole this technique from an army of griddle cooks, it "bourbon steams" the cheese and ham together.
     Can you use another liquid besides bourbon?  Yes!  But you don't want to.  The Four Roses Yellow Label is a blend of 10 recipes and leaves a smoky rich flavor on the ham as it steams off. 

    Four Roses Bourbon, Big Green Egg
    The Schomburger, bge burger, grill dome burger recipe, kamado grill burger
    Doing it this way is so much better than just adding cold ham and cheese to a hot burger.
    I know it is hard to beat the taste of nostalgia but this burger did it.  The bourbon griddled ham adds as much flavor to this burger as a strip of bacon ever did.  

    The Schomburger, bge burger, grill dome burger recipe, kamado grill burger

    The Schomburger, bge burger, grill dome burger recipe, kamado grill burger

    Big Green Egg Giveaway
    I'm kind of a fan of Big Green Eggs, if you haven't caught on to that fact.  If I could have only one grill/smoker/pizza oven for the rest of my life, it would be an Egg.    I know my "non-Big Green Egg owning friends" are green with envy over our Eggs.  But guess what -You can win one yourself!

    To kickoff the ultimate cookout, Laura’s Lean Beef and Big Green Egg are hosting their Summer Grilling Sweepstakes. One winner will be randomly selected each week, through Sept. 2, 2013, to receive a summer grilling prize package including a Big Green Egg ceramic outdoor cooker, Laura’s Lean Beef products and an assortment of grilling accessories. 

    You can enter by visiting the Laura’s Lean Beef Facebook page, by scanning QR codes found on packages of Laura’s Lean Beef, or through their website at
    So shoo!  Get over there an enter for a chance to win one of the grilling prize packages. 

    [Standard disclaimer]  I paid full price for both of our Big Green Eggs.  I paid full price for the Laura's Lean beef but did attend a tour of Meyer's ranch earlier this year as noted in the post.  We received the Four Roses Bourbon as a sample.