One of the beautiful things about burgerworld is that, despite the legion of fast-food and fast-casual chains out there, regional burger styles have managed to keep a foothold. I've talked before about the cheese-stuffed Jucy Lucystyle burgers in the Twin Cities and the butterburgers of Wisconsin, but today, I'd like to highlight pimento cheese burgers, a specialty in Columbia, South Carolina.
Prior to reading John T. Edge's book Hamburger & Fries, I'd only heard of pimento cheese being served, in the South, on stalks of celery or eaten as the filling of a sandwich. But Mr. Edge ferreted out these delicious-sounding burgers in the Palmetto State.
Here's a recipe, adapted from Mr. Edge's book, that you might want to try this weekend.
Pimento Cheese Burgers
- Yield:makes 4 burgers
- For the pimento cheese:
- 24 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
- 1 teaspoon dried, rubbed sage
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
- Pinch of sugar (or more to taste)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- For the burgers:
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 4 buns
- Lettuce and tomato (optional)
Combine the cheddar, pimentos, sage, pepper, scallions, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the mayo, working the mixture into a chunky paste. Chill mixture if not using immediately, but remove it from the fridge a before you start cooking your burgers because it needs some time to soften.
Combine the chuck, salt, and pepper in a bowl, working the meat just enough to thoroughly mix in the salt and pepper (too much handling makes for tough burgers). Form meat into 4 equal-size patties. Heat a heavy skillet or grill to medium-high heat. Cook over heat 3 to 4 minutes (for medium-rare) on each side.
Slather buns with pimento cheese spread, add cooked patties, and top with lettuce and/or tomato, if desired.