I love burgers. Seriously, I think a great big fat burger could be my last meal on earth. Along with a rib eye, a porterhouse, and prime rib…all together on one plate. Yes, I am an unapologetic Arizona beef eater and I like fooling around in my kitchen dreaming up new beefy masterpieces…and most of them involve a burger. Everyone should learn how to make a great burger. There are lots of resources on the internet to teach you – websites, blogs, YouTube, and, of course, right here, at the Arizona Beef Council and also at Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. Learn how to grill or fry a great burger, then experiment with flavors and techniques. I’ve eaten some crazy restaurant burgers that look like a science experiment with 25 toppings, but none of them are as good as the ones I grill at home and with my own crazy toppings. Get the basics down and you’ll be the hit of the backyard barbecue.
So why is this burger named “The Blazing Saddle Burger”?
Three words: beans, cabbage, and jalapenos. You do the gastronomical math.
I bet more than a few of you have seen the classic 1974 film Blazing Saddles. It’s silly slapstick, slightly embarrassing, very politically incorrect, but ultimately a hilarious parody of the old west and of life, in general. If it came out now, it would probably be protested and banned. Political correctness, sadly, is replacing our ability to laugh at ourselves and that particular topic belongs in another blog, so for now, I’ll just say this burger honors one of the funniest films ever made. At least I think so!
The Blazing Saddle Burger
(Cheese Burger with Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw, Pinto Bean Mash, and Salty Red Pepper Glaze)
Don’t be put off by the multiple steps in this recipe. All are fast and easy and the slaw can be prepared 2 hours before the main event. The main event being all your family and friends complimenting you on this awesome burger.
- 1/2 head medium sized green cabbage, core removed and sliced thin
- 1/2 head medium sized purple cabbage, core removed and sliced thin
- 1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapenos (from a jar that everyone should have in their refrigerator. No one should live without pickled jalapenos)
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1-2 teaspoons liquid from the pickled jalapeno jar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups roughly chopped cilantro
- Mix the two cabbages and chopped pickled jalapenos in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk the milk, mayo, jalapeno juice, sugar, and salt together in small bowl.
- Pour the dressing over cabbage and stir until well-combined. Refrigerate for no less than 2 hours. Add the chopped cilantro before serving. You will have leftover slaw, but that’s a good thing, right?
Pinto Bean Mash
- 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained, well-rinsed, and drained again
- 1/3 cup jalapeno flavored cream cheese (I can find these tubs of deliciousness in most every supermarket)
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion or white, it doesn’t matter – you just need a little onion crunch – add more if you like onions.
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste (I mean this. Taste as you add your salt and pepper to get the right amount. Beans can take quite a bit of salt.)
- A drop or two or three of your favorite hot sauce, if you’re so inclined
- Place the beans in a small saucepan and mash with the bottom of the empty bean can (clever, huh?) until beans are semi-mashed with a few whole beans remaining.
- Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and add the cream cheese and mayo and mix well. Stir in chopped onion, cumin, and briefly cook until cream cheese melts and everything is nice and blended. Start tasting and add salt, pepper, and hot sauce if you’re feeling sassy. Make it your own!
- Set aside, with lid on to keep semi-warm until ready to assemble burgers. You may want to re-heat if mash gets too cold.
Salty Red Pepper Glaze
- About 1/2 cup red pepper jelly
- Flakey sea salt – NOT table or kosher salt (I use Maldon salt, which I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT. I buy it off Amazon and also it’s stocked in some supermarkets.)
- Mix the jelly and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Again, add the salt according to your taste.
Mine was so salty that it was like my tongue dove into a salty ocean of red pepper jelly. But I love salt. Ease up, if you don’t.
Personally, I don’t monkey around with ingredients INSIDE my meat. I prefer to get creative with the fixin’s that go ON the burger. More important is the meat itself and how you handle it. I used pure ground chuck for these burgers, but my new obsession is ground hangar steak for burgers. Try it – it’s terrific. Many butchers and chefs prefer it for their own hamburgers. It’s difficult to find in most markets, but I have a feeling a few of you have access to a great butcher. It’s becoming “a thing” in the culinary world. If you have no idea how to cook your burgers, please refer to first paragraph in this post. You have lots of options and I feel it’s best to let YOU decide how to prepare your burger, but I’m betting if you are reading this blog, you already know how to cook a burger better than anything I could explain, so I’ll just stop blathering! I cooked this burger on my trusty cast iron griddle, inside, because it was raining. No complaints whatsoever about rain from this Arizona native!
- 3 pounds ground chuck (with 20% fat content – fat is GOOD, people!)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 12 slices good ol’ American or Cheddar cheese
- 6 good-quality sesame seed buns, sliced open, lightly buttered on both cut sides. Not the flimsy ones that fall apart like tissue paper with your first bite.
- To make burgers, divide beef into 6 portions (these are big burgers!), gently making each portion into a patty. The less you handle it, the better the burger! Make a well on top of burgers with your thumb, so burger doesn’t swell up when you cook it. Salt and pepper each patty with the kosher salt and black pepper.
- Grill or pan fry as you like.
- Drape two cheese slices over the top of each burger after the last flip and let the cheese get all melty.
- Toast the cut sides of the buns on edge of grill or in oven while burgers are finishing up.
To Assemble Burgers
Spread warm pinto bean mash over cut side of bottom of buns. Top with burgers and a big heap of slaw. Spread cut side of top of buns with salty pepper jelly and place on top. Done!
Serves 6…or 1 Mongo
And good luck at the campfire!
Cathy Wilkinson is an amateur, untrained and reckless cook with occasional, accidental, totally random bouts of culinary brilliance. Over the years she has appeared on both the Food Network (America’s Best Recipes) and The Cooking Channel (The Great American Steak Cook-Off), participated in many cooking competitions and demonstrations and is a avid beef industry supporter. A few of her cooking competitions include “Best American Lamb Recipe”, Cake-Mate “Best of the Bake Sale”, Tillamook Cheese Cook-off, Gilroy Garlic Cook-off, as well as beef cooking demonstrations for the Yavapai Cowbelles. She is a 5th generation Arizona native, great-granddaughter eastern Arizona ranchers and farmers and daughter and sister of central Arizona hay growers.