Chef Todd Hudson gives props to the cow and the pig for landing his burger on the cover (and atop the list) of Cincinnati Magazine’s 40 Best Burgers in the Queen City in 2010. The secret? Hudson insists that pasture-raised meats from the small-herd Webb Valley Farm in Wilmington (pictured at left)—like all of the local and regionally sourced ingredients that contribute to the seasonal menu at his Mason restaurant, The Wildflower Café—make the difference in building a superior burger. Hudson recommends that you season the tomato “like your grandma would after she picked the tomato fresh from her garden.” No fresh tomatoes? Hudson says skip it and use sun-dried tomatoes instead.This recipe is part of a full menu created by Todd Hudson for the July 2012 issue.
3 pounds grass-fed beef, ground
1 pound pastured pork, ground
2 Tablespoons black pepper
3 Tablespoons kosher salt
8 half-dollar-size coins of herb butter (made earlier in the day; see recipe below)
½ pound Blue Jacket Dairy mozzarella (made in Bellefontaine, Ohio, it’s available at Whole Foods and area farm markets)
Desired dressing: tomatoes, onions, lettuce, etc.
8 pretzel buns (available at Trader Joe’s), or local artisanal bread like the Blue Oven English muffins at left
Herb Butter: Soften ½ pound of quality sweet cream butter to room temperature. Stir in 1 Tablespoon each chopped fresh rosemary, parsley, and oregano, plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Roll into a small log on wax paper and freeze. Slice into half-dollar-size rounds.
Burgers: Combine beef and pork. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into 16 thin 4-ounce patties. Top 8 with a coin-sized piece of herb butter, stack another patty on top of each, and pinch edges to seal butter in (if you leave any holes, the butter will leak out). Over hot coals or gas grill, cook burgers to 140 degrees or medium (the USDA recommended cooking temp for pork), flipping only once. Place an ounce of cheese on top in the last minute. Lightly butter and toast the buns on the grill. Dress with local, seasonal vegetables, and serve.
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