Cheeseburgers for a summer dinner

016Growing up in the Midwest in the 70s, I ate more than my share of Big Macs and Quarter Pounders with cheese. Garbage food to be sure, but the experience somehow left burgers near and dear to my heart. When I get the craving these days, I head to In and Out where I order a 3×3, medium-rare, extra toast on the bun. ketchup and mustard only. It’s a richly fatty bomb that always satisfies.

When I want a grown up burger for dinner with friends, I stop by Model Bakery in Napa for some fantastic buns, and Safeway for ground beef. Then I make a version of steak tartare that I sear on the grill.  Here’s my recipe for flavored rare cheeseburgers.

For the Burger Meat
2  lbs. ground beef, 80% lean / 20% fat
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. whole grain mustard1/2 t. garlic, finely minced
1/2 t. anchovy filet, finely minced
1 1/2 t. capers, finely minced2 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper


Chop the capers, anchovy, garlic, and parsley.


Toss everything into the mixer fitted with a paddle, or just use a wooden spoon in a bowl.


Mix on low speed until the mixture is uniform.


Form into patties that match the shape and size of your buns, in my case, Model was out of burger buns, so we used their sausage buns made from the same dough. Prepare all of your finix’s, and get the grill nice a hot.


I always cook them rare, about a minute and a half on each side so that the flavor will be like beef tartare. I’m a ketchup and mustard guy, but I put mayo out for others.


Happy Summer BBQ!

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David Gingrass is a food and beverage operations professional with a career spanning more than three decades. His fascination with and love for food, wine and entertaining allows him to view his work as both a vocation and an avocation. Gingrass graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York then cooked in the Bay Area for two years before landing a job at Wolfgang Puck’s original Spago Restaurant in West Hollywood. There he learned to make the signature breads and sausages that he became known for at Postrio and Hawthorne Lane. He was soon promoted to kitchen manager and managed the operational and expense control aspects of Puck’s iconic restaurant for the next four years. Gingrass returned to San Francisco in 1989 when Puck tapped him and his then-wife Anne to open Postrio, Puck’s third restaurant and his first outside of Los Angeles. Postrio opened to rave reviews and soon became the #1 popular Bay Area restaurant in the prestigious Zagat survey. Five and a half years later, the opportunity to open a restaurant of his own presented itself. Hawthorne Lane opened in 1995 and was a San Francisco dining institution for over twelve years, catering to the likes of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Mayor Willie Brown, James Carville, President Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton. He closed Hawthorne Lane at the end of its fifteen-year lease in 2009 to build a consulting practice for the hospitality industry, sharing his wealth of culinary and operational experiences with new and existing restaurants, assisting them to become successful and profitable.