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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Kimchee and cheese top off perfect burger

The great meal mystery shrouds me tonight. My many choices and musings all come down to this moment of great triumph – a point in time at which I decide the fate of hundreds of people, nay, dozens. I am in another hospital in D.C. visiting a loved one and looking for dinner and there is no time to stop and worry about how much it’s going to cost me to pull my car out of the Georgetown garage.
Who am I kidding? My heart skips a beat when I consider how much the damage is going to be. I think the garage is $25 per day, and I can’t imagine that I’ll be here for any less than three days. I exhale a dramatic sigh, confident in the fact that my superior math skills have calculated that my injury is somewhere around $75 for not moving my car an inch for the duration.
For that kind of money, I think I’d rather be in Disney, where every ride ends in a gift shop and you are well aware that you are being raked over the coals around every corner. At least you get to ride the Dumbo ride, as boring as that might be. It’s for the kids, as they say.
I stroll across the parking lot to fill my belly with yet another meal on the road, and I wonder what will fit the bill, as I am tired and cranky.
No sooner had I entered the Epicurean Café, a unique (to say the least) eatery on the Georgetown campus, and then I saw exactly what meal would suffice – a kimchee cheeseburger. I understand that cheese and kimchee might be a mortal sin to some, but this combination works incredibly well, especially when paired with some Sriracha, that famed condiment that seems to be falling out of favor as of late. In hindsight, this burger even comes off as a little healthy, with the probiotics from the kimchee helping to digest the unhealthy half-pound burger.
If you decide to make this burger at home, it couldn’t be any simpler, but there are a couple things to go over.
First we’ll start with the bread. Crack of Dawn Bakery is a great local place that you have to do some research on. They sell to local restaurants and if there is a way to buy their product through one of your local favorite stomping grounds, then you can have fresh-baked breads for many of your cooking experiences.
There are a couple other bakeries around, as we see our artisanal food cottage industry blossom and expand, so check out which ones have great breads for you to use. As you will notice with some experience, there is such a difference between the frozen, proof and thaw product and freshly made, handcrafted breads.
The next thing to address is the kimchee. While this has been hard to find down here over the years, you can even find it at that super store that adorns our landscape in such an omnipotent manner. You will find it in the produce section under the kombucha section. I cannot attest to the quality of this product as I’ve never had it, but assuming that it’s made the “old-fashioned way,” there are plenty of good bugs in there to keep your gut nice and healthy.
If you truly want to treat yourself, grab a quart of kimchee from Toby over at Gilbert’s Provisions and use this for your beefy feast. Toby is doing a great job with his fermented products and is a great source for everything from the kimchee to pickles, pickle juice, pâté and other cool things that could come in handy over the course of your cooking adventures.
Finally, we need to address that actual burger cooking. Unless I’m grinding my own beef, I always overcook my hamburgers, as my love for rare beef is overshadowed by the threat of E. coli contamination. I hate to even bring it up, but “Safety First” as the kids love to say.
Well, I think that just about covers it all. A burger fit for a king, filling one’s gut with fermented Kimchee  and a sharp English cheese all slathered in Sriracha sauce. Now it’s time for bed.
Kimchee Burger
Enough for 4 people
4 Fresh Kaiser buns
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Irish butter
4 eight-ounce Chuck-brisket burgers
Salt and Pepper as needed
1 tsp. Granulated garlic
4 slices, Red Leicester Cheese

2 cups Fresh Kimchee
Sriracha hot sauce, as needed
Kewpie Mayonnaise (optional)

1. Spread butter on rolls and toast, keeping them warm until service
2. Season the patties liberally with the salt, pepper and granulated garlic
3. Cook the burgers on a char broiler or grill until they are done to the temperature of your liking. I prefer my burgers to be cooked medium rare to medium, but I will only do so if I grind the beef myself. It’s not worth taking a risk with all of the E. coli scares out there
4. When the burgers are close to being complete, top with the cheese and allow to melt
5. Place a burger on each bun and top with 1/2 cup of the Kimchee
6. Slather the top bun with Sriracha and Kewpie (if you’re using it) and serve
7. This goes great with homemade dill pickles and an ice-cold lager