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Playing Michael Symon’s Yo Burger


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (equal parts brisket, beef cheek and sirloin)
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 4 thin slices Fontina cheese
  • 4 English Muffins, split and toasted
  • 1 green cucumber pickle, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces Pickled Red Onions
  • 8 slices salami, cooked until crisp in a skillet or in the oven on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet
  • 4 teaspoons Spicy Ketchup
For the Pickled Red Onions
  • 2 pounds red onions, thinly sliced
For the Pickling Liquid
  • White wine vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
For the Spicy Ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 Fresno chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1 dried ancho chile or chipotle pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cups tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar


Serves: 4


Build a medium-high fire in your grill or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Form the beef into four 6-ounce patties. Season liberally with kosher salt and cracked black pepper, and place the burgers on the grill. Cook 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, adding the cheese after you have flipped the burgers or when they are cooked to your desired doneness.

Place the burgers on the English muffin bottoms and top with cucumber pickle, pickled red onions, salami and spicy ketchup. Set the muffin tops in place.

For the Pickled Red Onions:

Place red onions in a 1-quart jar and cover them with water. Pour off the water into a measuring cup. Note the volume, pour off half the water and replace it with vinegar. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons salt for every 3 cups of liquid. Add the mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, coriander seeds, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes then remove from heat.

Layer the onions into a 1-quart sterilized jar, cover the onions with the hot liquid and seal the jar. Refrigerate for 2 weeks before using. The pickled onions will keep refrigerated for up to one year.

For the Spicy Ketchup:

Heat oil in a nonreactive 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and a three-finger pinch of salt and sweat until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the Fresno chiles, ancho or chipotle, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute or two. Stir in the brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon, tomato paste and vinegar, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of water, bring to a gentle simmer and cook over low heat for 2 hours.

Remove from heat and let cook for 15 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick. Pure the mixture in a blender and strain through a sieve, pushing any solids through. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.