I love hamburgers. I love the big, juicy pub burgers and I love the crisp-fried smash burgers. But burgers don't all have to be made out of beef. There's a world of great sausage out there and that gives you plenty of opportunity to mix it up.
The nice thing about sausage these days is that just about every store sells it in bulk. Sure, you can buy it in tubes and cut away the casings, but it's a whole lot easier to just buy it in bulk. And you don't have to be limited to the Italian sausage I'm using here. Try making a burger out of chorizo or andouille...whatever strikes you fancy.
Let's talk buns for a minute. One of my favorite buns is the Torta Sandwich Roll from Costco. They are made fresh all day long in the Costco bakery. A ten-pack of the rolls is just $5.99. What I like about the rolls is that they are rustic and chewy, but light. They are perfect for burgers because they are not very dense. The meat is the star, not the roll.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the beloved pretzel roll. This bun is incredibly dense and chewy....and oh so friggin' tasty. But this prima donna demands equal billing with your burger, so your meat will not be the star. In my opinion, the torta roll and the pretzel bun are the two best burger buns in the business. You can't go wrong with either one.
This burger is not complete without the crowning glory, the roasted red bell pepper. Do not even think about making the recipe without this. Roasted peppers and Italian sausage were made for each other. One is Romeo and the other is Juliet. One plus one equals three.....and this recipe serves four.
Ingredients1 medium bell pepper
24 ounces hot Italian sausage
4 hamburger buns, split
4 slices fontina cheese
1 bunch arugula
- Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).
- Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the pepper over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the skin is blackened and blistered all over, 12 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Place the pepper in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap to trap the steam. Set aside for at least 10 minutes, then peel the skin from the pepper, discard the stem and seeds, and cut into thin strips. Set aside.
- Shape the Italian sausage into four patties of equal size and thickness. Grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the juices run clear, about 10 minutes, turning once. During the last 30 seconds of grilling time, lightly toast the buns over direct heat.
- Serve the burgers hot on the toasted buns and top with grilled peppers, cheese, and lettuce.
Wine pairing: Zindfandel