Cuban Cheeseburger

1/2 lb ground chuck
1 tsp salt, to taste
1/2 cup of ham, paper thin
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp yellow mustard
5 Dill pickle slices
2 slices of Swiss cheese
1 sturdy Hamburger bun
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Begin by shaping your hamburger patty. Now what I do is lay down a bit of wax paper on a plate. I shape my patty, then I lay down another piece of wax paper on top of the patty. I take the back of a dinner plate, and I press down on the patty. Now you do not have to go this route, and I do not do this for all of the patties I make, but I felt like I wanted to go that route on making these Cuban burgers.

Regardless how you make the patty, flatten it, and season liberally with salt.

You also have a couple of options when cooking these. I went with the handy dandy large cast iron skillet, which I love using for burgers, but you could throw these on the grill as well. Your call, but my suggestion is the cast iron skillet.

Preheat your cast iron skillet on medium to medium-high heat. Once heated, add the patty, salt side down. Season the other side with salt.

Let the burger cook, untouched, for a few minutes as you want to get a great sear on the patty. During this time, toast your buns. Keep in mind you want to use a sturdy bun. I prefer using Breadsmith’s butter top buns, (as depicted in this photo, bun on the left), as they hold up to any burger, capture all of the juices, and never fall apart. So slice the buns, and add a bit of butter to each one. Add the buns onto a preheated skillet, and cook until they are lightly toasted. Once toasted, remove them and set aside.

Flip that patty, and cook another couple of minutes, or until your desired doneness.

Add the mayonnaise to the bottom of one bun. Add the mustard to the other bun.

To the bottom bun, add the ham, then one slice of Swiss cheese. Top with the cooked patty. Add the pickles, then top with the remaining Swiss cheese. Add the top bun.

Wipe the skillet, and return it back to the burner, setting the temperature to low, to medium low. You do not want to burn the bun. Remember that any good Cuban sandwich has that crunch exterior, that when knocking on the bread itself actually makes a noise. It’s something wonderful.

Once the burger is on the skillet, add something heavy to the top of the bun. In my case, I use a bacon/meat press, but if you do not have one, lay a heavy pot or something other to the top. Your goal is to flatten the burger, while melting the cheese, and ultimately get that crispy exterior. After a minute or so, take a look at the bottom and make sure you are not burning the bread.

After cooking for a few minutes, flip the burger, and add the weight back on, flattening the other side. Once you have achieved the crispy exterior on the other side, remove, and put that baby on a plate.
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