When we moved from Indiana to Florida, we knew how difficult it would be leaving family and friends we love dearly. Thankfully, we can keep up with everyone through one modern convenience or another such as phone, Skype, email, facebook, instagram, etc. What we didn’t count on is how much we’d miss some of our favorite local restaurants. Where we live, there are no White Castles, Frisch’s, Pizza Kings, Kopper Kettles, or Bluebirds. So with the help of friends, I’m on a quest to recreate those unbelievably tasty dishes at home.
First up is a sandwich served at a drive-in called The Bear’s Den in Shelbyville, Indiana. Word on the street is, things aren’t nearly as good as they used to be. That’s so sad because the place was always hopping and served some crazy good fast food. One of our faves is their coney dog sauce, but we’ll get to that another day. Today, it’s all about this unique loose-meat burger that tastes unlike anything I’ve ever had anywhere else. It’s super savory and served on a rye bun with either a slice of American cheese or “Squeezee” cheese. Some people are die-hard squeezee cheese fans, others like me have to have sliced. This meat mixture is so good, you don’t need cheese at all, but it does take the sandwich up a notch. 😍
So I posed the question of the Hurriburger ingredients to my friends and family on facebook. One of my bffs used to work there as a carhop in her teens. She didn’t know the exact recipe but she was SO close! Then another bff got what was supposed to be the original recipe from a friend, but it was missing something first bff thought for sure was in it. Little did everyone know, there was a secret, secret ingredient and it was one it seems few people have heard of or know what to do with. My momma introduced me to the stuff many long years ago and it’s what makes our brown gravy sing. Kitchen Bouquet! I’ve posted about it before. 🙂
With the help of friends, this is what I came up with. I hope you try it and love it as much as we do! Since I couldn’t find sandwich size rye buns, I served the meat on rye dinner rolls so they were more the size of sliders. Cut this recipe in half if you want – I made enough for my crew to have 4 each plus plenty of leftovers. They were so filling, I don’t think anyone was able to eat more than 3. 😋
Note: Use an electric hand mixer to break up the meat and incorporate the ingredients AFTER the meat has browned or use a Mix ‘N Chop from Pampered Chef.
Hurriburgers with Cheese
5 lbs. ground beef (at least 80/20)
2 1/2 cups oats
3 cups water
2 1/2 Tbsp. Accent
2 1/2 Tbsp. onion salt
3 or 4 Tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet
Rye (dark) hamburger buns or dinner rolls (wheat if you can’t find rye)
Sliced American cheese or Cheese Whiz
In a large pot or Dutch oven, place the ground beef, oats, water, Accent, and onion salt. Turn burner to high and begin browning meat, mixing well and breaking up the meat. Once all the meat is browned, use a hand mixer to further break up the meat so there are no clumps. Or use a Mix ‘N Chop from Pampered Chef from the outset. Turn heat to low and simmer for 2-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Skim off fat as it settles on top.
Stir in the Kitchen Bouquet and simmer 10 minutes longer. If the meat mixture tastes perfect and has the right consistency at this point, serve as is. If it’s too wet, just take a little more time to cook it down.
Make up several sandwiches and cover with foil or waxed paper for a few minutes to steam the buns and melt the cheese. Best served with big, fat crinkly french fries, and a side of cole slaw (made with mayonnaise dressing). 😊
Another recipe I developed from a delicious food memory from my Hoosier home state is Authentic Coney Dog Sauce. Chili dogs seem to be everywhere in my adopted home state of Florida, but no one has heard of a coney dog except for Coney Island Amusement Park – and it didn’t originate there. So I had to recreate the recipe from taste memory. Thankfully my family and friends say I nailed it! Give it a try and see what you think. 😋
Happy eating! 😊