This is one of Bobby’s recipes, from his Boy Gets Grill cookbook. (*You know him as Bobby Flay. I call him Bobby. We’re on more familiar terms, if only in my head…) His cookbook is one of our favorites, but we keep returning to a few select recipes. The Cuban-Style Burger has been calling my name for quite a while. I’d never had a Cuban Burger or Cuban Sandwich before, but there was something intriguing about them, to me at least. So since Number One was running to town, I decided today is the day to try them and sent him to the grocery store too.
We proceeded with the wrapping in tin foil, but I also think these would be great put together and pressed panini-style. Also, Number One brought home generic grocery store hamburger buns. You know the ones, eight to a package, fluffy white. I think buns just a step or two above that kind, like store bakery-made but not crusty, would have been better. Also a better variety of ham. But beggars can’t be choosers, especially when you’ve asked your husband to run to the grocery store for you. I won’t even mention the pickle incident. Let’s just sum it up by saying, my husband went to the store!
I roasted the garlic in a dry pan, on top of the stove. It is faster that way than doing it in the oven, which is fortunate because I forgot about the roasted garlic until I was ready to start grilling! Just heat a skillet over medium heat, and add unpeeled garlic cloves. Turn them so all sides get heated on the pan, in about 10 or 15 minutes they should be great–you should be able to squeeze them down with your fingertip. If they don’t feel soft, just leave them on longer. (If some parts turn a bit black, that’s fine! Remove from heat, peel and puree.
These sandwiches are delicious! I loved them, pickles and all. Number One said he preferred them without pickles. I think they are just perfect. The garlic mayonnaise is wonderful, and all the flavors just complement each other so well. H-Bomb liked them too, although he didn’t end up eating all the components.
We will definitely be making these burgers again! (And, the next time I’m in Miami, I already know what I’m going to order!)
Bobby says: When I’m really, really hungry,all I think about is a big, fat burger oozing melted cheese and pickles. Unless I’m in Miami, when all I think about is a big, fat Cuban sandwich oozing melted cheese and pickles. Cheeseburgers and Cuban sandwiches are my two favorite indulgences, and they’re actually pretty similar. This sandwich combines the two. Don’t be tempted to use fancy crusty bread here. Only soft rolls will get the perfect crisp crust you want to play against the soft interior. As for the meat, chuck is about 80 percent lean, which grinds to the right texture for burgers. Note that you’ll need a heavy pot or a couple of bricks to press the burgers.
1 pound freshly ground beef, preferably chuck (see headnote)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, roasted and pureed
4 hamburger buns
2 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 thin slices Swiss cheese
4 thin slices ham
2 dill pickles, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 16)
1. Heat your grill to high.
2. Form the meat into four burgers. Season all over with salt and pepper. Grill the burgers until medium-rare, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and leave the grill on.
3. Combine the mayonnaise and roasted garlic in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the cut sides of each bun with garlic mayonnaise and mustard. Place a slice of cheese on the bottom of each bun and a burger on top of the cheese, then top the burger with a slice of ham. Add another slice of cheese, then the pickle slices. Cover with the tops of the buns and wrap each burger individually in aluminum foil.
4. Place the burgers close together on the grill and rest a heavy skillet or a couple of bricks on top of them, pressing down if needed to flatten them. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.