Cooking with Booze: Vermouth Burgers

Darcy O'Neil :: August 26, 2006 11:59 AM

Hamburger VermouthIn the summer hamburgers are a mainstay of my diet. They are easy to prepare, the barbecue doesn't heat up the house and there is less mess to clean up. Those seem like good enough reasons to live off of hamburgers, but it's even more so when they taste really good. The trick is to spice things up a bit and certain spirits and wines lend themselves to making burgers taste better. Whisky is a perfect example of one of those spirits, and it is often used in bbq sauce, like Canadian Club Barbeque sauce, which if you can find it, I highly recommend it. The other, not so intuitive, spirit is sweet vermouth. If you want a great burger, you have to try this.

To prepare a vermouth burger you will need the following ingredients:

Vermouth Burgers
Recipe makes 4 burgers

1 lb Medium Ground Beef
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup BBQ Sauce
2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Vya)
1 tsp Cumin
½ tsp Sage
8 Dashes Worcestershire
8 Dashes Bitters (Regan's or Angostura)
Fresh Cracked Pepper (to taste)
4 Hamburger buns

Optional:
Pinch or two of cayenne pepper, if you like it spicy
Hickory chips in a smoker box (definitely makes a big difference)

1. Combine wet ingredients and spices and set aside
2. Sprinkle the bread crumbs into the beef while mixing with your hands
3. Combine wet ingredients and the hamburger / breadcrumb mixture
4. Place in fridge and allow to marinate for an hour
5. Split mixture into four and make hamburger patties
6. Place hickory chips in smoker box and put under bbq grill
7. Fire up the BBQ to high and allow to come to temperature
8. Place hamburger patties on grill and cook until done
9. Toast hamburger buns and serve with whatever condiments you see fit

I've found that Vya vermouth is awesome for this because of its deep flavour. Other quality vermouths like Carpano Punt e Mess will work nicely but in a pinch Cinzano or Martini Rossi will work.

Again, it is still only a burger so if you have a particular way of making them do just that, but try adding the vermouth. You will need to add some bread crumbs to hold the vermouth in the burger mixture, otherwise your burgers will be pretty sloppy and fall apart. You can use regular bread crumbs, but I find panko breadcrumbs give a better texture in the finished burger.


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