One of the greatest attributes about America is our expansive and diverse population. No other country in the world contains more cultures within its borders. This diversity manifests itself in a variety of ways, not the least of which is flavor. A road trip around the country can be a journey for your pallet as much as it is for your gas tank. To explore some of our favorite regional taste profiles, we have selected a common medium, the burger. Just for kicks we decided to pair these unique sandwiches with an appropriate local beer. Read on to send your mouth on a nation-wide tour (without leaving your backyard grill).
We start our list off with a burger that is not actually made of hamburger, a Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken sandwich (hey, you’ll find it on the menu right next to the burgers). When on the island, we order pineapple on everything; they are so local and so delicious. To make, follow this recipe for the chicken from AllRecipes.com.
Recipe: Place 4 chicken breasts in a ziploc bag with a cup of teriyaki sauce, ¼ cup of lemon juice, 2 tsp of minced garlic and 2 tsp of sesame oil and let it marinade for 24 hours. The next day, grill the breasts on high for 6 to 8 minutes per side. While grilling side two, lay down some pineapple slices on the heat as well. To serve, place the chicken on a Poi bun, and top with the pineapple and additional teriyaki sauce.
Beer: Wash this down with a Hinano. This light, golden lager comes from Tahiti and is a perfect match for chicken and island drinking. Although not actually brewed locally, it is difficult to find in the lower 48, but all over Hawaii.
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam….or where they used to at least. Thankfully, these magnificent creatures have made enough of a comeback that it is kosher for you to eat them. Bison meat fact: it is lower in cholestorol and calories than beef, yet higher in protein and iron. It is very flavorful, even compared to the finest beef, and generally antibiotic free (are you going to try and stick one with a needle?). Nothing could represent our western states better.
Recipe: Start with a pound of bison meat, mix in salt and pepper to taste and form into a single patty. Grill long enough to make your entire Montana-sized burger is cooked. Top with several slices of American Cheese on the biggest bun you can find. Nothin’ fancy ’bout a burger from the Treasure State.
Beer: Since you are obviously not enjoying this meal for its lightness, we recommend a beer big enough to match the bison’s naturally robust flavor and generally powerful appearance. Check out Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout from Big Sky Brewing. Very smooth and malty, this rich stout is a perfect bison companion. We hope you’ll appreciate the irony of the cow pictured on the label.
An extremely fertile land, California is known for producing wonderful fruits, vegetables and Marissa Miller. The burger counted on to represent this laid-back state is the Avocado Burger.
Recipe: You’ll need 2 lbs of ground free-range beef (they are very progressive in Cali), 1 ½ California Avocados, 1 ½ tsp Worcester sauce, ¾ tsp pepper, 1 ½ tsp salt, and veggie garnishments you prefer. Combine the beef, salt, pepper, and sauce until it is mixed well, form into 4 patties and toss onto the grill. While the burgers are cooking, peel the avocados and mash them. To serve, we suggest laying a base of arugula on the bun, then topping with the burger and finishing it off with a healthy (literally, heart healthy) layer of your avocado mash. Thanks to Avocados.com, naturally, for the recipe.
Beer: Match your ode to avocado with a Scrimshaw Pilsner from North Coast Brewing. This well balanced pilsner-style brew is quite light, which is good for the California sun, but does still manage subtle hop aromas and malt flavors. The Scrimshaw will allow the freshness of your beef and avocados to command center stage.
In certain parts of the country, cooking is an event. This is obvious in the South, where BBQ is always playing on the main stage. The Food Network gave us this delicious recipe a Pork Burger with White BBQ sauce.
Recipe: For the sauce, combine ¾ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tbs lemon juice, 2 tbs white sugar, 2 tsp freshly ground pepper in a mixing bowl and refrigerate. Also, cook up 12 strips of bacon reserving the rendered the fat for later. For the burgers, mix 2 lbs of ground pork, 1 tbs smoked paprika, 1 tsp chili powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp ground pepper along with 1 ¼ tbs of the rendered bacon fat. Form them into 6 patties and grill. Layer the bottom of the bun with the white BBQ sauce and top the burger with Gouda cheese and 2 strips of bacon cooked earlier. Healthy? No. Delicious? Undoubtedly.
Beer: To stand up against the spicy pork burger and sweet sauce, you’re going to need a beer with some bite. Look up nearby Abita Beer, located in New Orleans, and try their Jockamo IPA. This dry-hopped IPA has the hop bitterness and floral aroma to wrestle this BBQ burger and put it in its place, your belly. A perfect match for the Gouda cheese as well.
So prevalent throughout the Midwest, this burger has its own name, the Juicy Lucy. Sounds good already, right? Wait till you understand how it is made. Traditionally, a ground beef patty is formed around a chunk of Velveeta cheese and cooked. The cheese becomes a juicy surprise once you take a bit of the burger. For our more refined clientele, we offer this upgrade from Vincent – A Restaurant, Minneapolis, MN. Chef Vincent Francoual runs a white-table cloth restaurant, but he does not deny the will of his Midwest customers.
Recipe: To accommodate the palates of their childhood, Vincent created a Juicy Lucy by packing ground angus around gouda cheese AND braise short rib meat. A truly high class burger. We invite you to consider for yourself just what you could stuff between two beef patties to make a better burger…
Beer: A beer that goes with most burgers, the Summit EPA (Extra Pale Ale) by Summit Brewing is a favorite of the middle states. It comes to you light bronze in color, smelling sweetly of hops. It goes down smoothly, the well balanced malt and hop flavors mixing well. Serve extra cold to combat the steaming hot cheese coming out of the juicy lucy.