With respect to the Atlanta food blogging scene, there are 2 people in particular who I'm really thankful for. Gene from Eat, Drink, Man... and Chloe from Chow Down Atlanta. Through Gene-hyung, I was able to meet Chloe and through Chloe I was able to meet a lot of cool food people in this city. I had no idea when I first started the blog in December '08 that people would even know who I was let alone meet them in person. (Actually, I'm more shocked that I even have readers)
Growing up north in Canada (eh?) most of my life, I was used to having White Castle every now and then - not Krystal. So when Chloe found out that I've never had those little burgers before, I pretty much got dragged to one with her and Buddha-san. I'm not a food snob but I have to say that my first experience at Krystal wasn't as great as they were making it out to be. It was ok... but as Jen put it - it was gray meat. However, after hanging out with Chloe so much, those little, anemic looking things kinda grew on me and I kinda like them now. However, the fact still remained that it was gray meat.
I was going through a major burger withdrawal and I was too lazy to go buy groceries (in my defense, it was cold outside). So, I decided to make these one night instead - Krystal style burgers. It's actually quite simple - fry meat and then steam everything together until the bun gets warm and soft. Chloe likes her Krystal burgers "off-the-grill with no pickles and mustard" so I made mine the same way with a couple variations. I actually browned the meat so it wasn't gray and I caramelized the onions before placing them inside the burger.
You know what? I surprised myself with how tasty these turned out. The only things missing were extra-crispy french fries and good company :)
Homemade Krystal "off-the-grill, no pickles, no mustard"
Inspired by C, Serves 4 (or 2 hungry people)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 8 slices of American cheese (only the fake, synthetic stuff for these burgers!)
- 8 small hamburger buns
1) Add oil to a hot pan over medium heat and throw in the finely diced onions. Caramelize the onions until they're soft and golden brown. About 10 minutes or so. Set aside to cool until needed.
2) Divide the ground beef into 8 equal portions and shape them into round patties. Make an indentation in the center of the patty with your thumb. Place in fridge until needed or use immediately. Just before cooking the burgers, season both side with salt and pepper.
3) In a hot pan, add neutral oil (ie. canola) and once it's fluid and shimmering cook the burger in batches. Now, the cooking time will differ based on how thick you made your patties but 2 - 3 minutes per side for a 0.5" to get medium worked for me. Cook the meat in batches if you need to.
4) While the meat's browning, prepare a steamer. Line the bottom of whatever you're using to steam with (bamboo or that steel thing) parchment paper.
5) Once the burgers have been cooked to your liking, place each patty on the bottom bun. Top with caramelized onions and then the American cheese. Top with the other half of the bun.6) Steam the burgers for about 20 - 30 seconds until the cheese has melted and the buns are warm and soft. Serve immediately with, in Chloe's case, Diet Coke.
Random: this week is doppelganger week on Facebook and I've been told that I look like John Cho from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Still not too sure about that call KT...!