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Buttery Baltimore Burgers with Blue Crab

In Baltimore, crabs rule supreme, but burgers still pay court to those who just have a hankering for a good, old fashioned beef burger. But, in the 20 years I lived in that great city, I have never ran across a truly great burger that combined the best of both. So I worked on coming up with one I would want to eat again and again. Nothing too fancy; just simple great taste.

Buttery Baltimore Burgers are an homage to the unique taste of Maryland steamed blue crabs, tweaked with the requisite Old Bay spice blend, and the unadulterated, beefy taste of a truly good burger whose succulent flavor and juiciness owes itself to, yes, butter. The spicy flavor of seasoned lump crab meat is offset with a creamy spread that is a cross between tartar sauce and an herbed mayo. Add the cooling lightness of Bibb lettuce and a lightly toasted Kaiser roll, and you have a burger with crave appeal. Bon appetite, Hon!

Ingredients 

Meat:
2 1/2 lbs. of fresh ground chuck
4 T (1/2 stick) frozen salted butter, grated
1 T Worstershire sauce
1 T Lowery’s Seasoning Mix (Original)
2 t black pepper
salt to taste

Herbal Spread:
1 c mayonnaise
2 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 T fresh chives, finely chopped
1 T fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 T fresh dill, finely chopped
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t spicy mustard
1 t black pepper
1 t salt

Crab:
1 lb. lump backfin blue crab meat, shelled
2 T unsalted butter
1 T Old Bay seasoning
1 t Tabasco sauce

heavy-duty aluminum foil
non-stick spray
spray water bottle*
6 Kaiser rolls
6 leaves Bibb lettuce

Instructions 

1. To make patties, place ground beef in a large bowl and grate the frozen butter over the bowl. Add Worstershire, Lowery’s Seasoning, black pepper and salt, and gently fold together, evenly distributing butter and seasonings into beef. Do not over mix the beef.

2. Shape beef into 6 even patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

3. To make Herbal Spread, combine mayonnaise, parsley, chives, tarragon, dill, lemon juice, mustard, pepper and salt in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble burgers.

4. Drain any excess liquid from crab meat. Place on a large piece of heavy duty foil, and without breaking up the lumps of meat, gently pick out any shells that may remain. Drizzle with melted butter, sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning and Tabasco sauce. Very gently, toss to coat crab meat.

5. Fold foil in half over crab to make a loose packet, and fold over edges to seal.

6. Pre-heat gas grill to med-high heat. Spray nonstick spray on grill rack.

7. Liberally salt burgers before placing on grill.

7. Cover grill, but check burgers every 1 to 2 minutes and use the water bottle* to spray any flare-ups on grill that occur from the dripping butter. Cook burgers 5 minutes on each side for medium. For medium-well burgers, turn grill down to medium heat and cook 2 more minutes on each side, or to preference.

8. After flipping burgers the first time, place foil packet with crab meat on an outer section of the grill or an upper grill rack, away from direct flames. Cook for 6-8 minutes.

9. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, place rolls, cut-side down, on the outer areas of the grill and lightly toast.

10. To assemble burgers, spread a generous amount of Herbal Spread on both top and bottom sections of the roll. Place a lettuce leaf on bottom half, followed by the burger, and top with a liberal amount of crab meat (about 2 heaping tablespoons). Cover with top of roll and serve immediately.

Serves 6
Total preparation and cooking time: 1 hr.
Recipe cooked on standard gas grill

Comments 

*Because of the fat and butter in the meat, there will be lots of flare-ups during cooking. Be vigilant while grilling and use your water bottle to temper any flames. AVOID directly spraying burgers!

Fresh ground meat is essential to any great burger. Get your butcher to grind it fresh that day for you. And while lump backfin Blue Crab meat is what makes this burger uniquely Baltimore, King or Dungeoness crab meat can be substituted, but will have a different taste.

This recipe is not intended for people on strict diets!