Whiskey Gives Burger Zing


June 19, 1991|By Charlyne Varkonyi

Clara Peller's infamous "Where's the beef?" commercial may be ancient history in the fast-forward world of television, but in households where the cook is obsessed with cutting the fat and cholesterol from the diet her words are still repeated.

We aren't eating beef as often these days, especially the fattier cuts like ground beef, so when we splurge we like the effort to be worth it. This Fastlane Feast certainly is worth it, but you can't worry about good nutrition when you are eating it. The menu begins with a big burger, adapted from the "Black Jack burger" that's on the menu at the Mount Washington Tavern.

Ted Bauer, owner of the restaurant, said the basting sauce imparts such a distinctive flavor that many customers eat the burger without additional adornment. His secret is rolling the 8-ounce burgers in crushed black peppercorns, searing the meat and basting it with a sauce of Dijon mustard and Jack Daniels whiskey.

"I put it on the menu five years ago," he says. "It's obviously different, a burger with an extra kind of zing."

We are serving the burger with a green salad and french fries flavored with Old Bay seafood seasoning. Start by putting the burgers on to broil. Then start frying the potatoes and making the sauce. The salad can be put together right before serving.

Items you should have in your pantry include: whole black peppercorns, Dijon mustard, peanut oil, salt, Old Bay seasoning, salad dressing.

Your 10-item or less shopping list should include:

* 1 pound ground chuck or meat with about 85 percent lean

* Jack Daniels whiskey

* 1 package oblong French rolls

* 2 large Idaho potatoes

* salad greens


Black Jack burger

Makes 2 servings.

1 pound ground chuck

freshly ground peppercorns

2 oblong rolls, such as French rolls


1/4 cup Jack Daniels whiskey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Separate the beef into 2 oblong burgers. For each burger, grind black peppercorns until they cover the surface of a dinner plate. (If you are of the wimpy palate school, cover only one half of the plate.) Roll the burger in the peppercorns. Repeat for second burger.

Place broiling pan about 4 inches from the heating element. Broil burger about 6 to 8 minutes on first side. Meanwhile, whisk mustard and whiskey together. As soon as top becomes brown, brush basting sauce over hamburger. Flip burger, brush with marinade and broil other side for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on how well done you want it to be.

Remove burgers from oven and set aside. Split open rolls and toast the inside until slightly brown.

Note: For those with smaller appetites, separate beef into 4 burgers. If you have extra time or a gas grill that heats quickly, you can also make these on an outdoor barbecue grill.

Old Bay french fries

Makes 2 servings.

1 cup peanut oil for frying

2 large Idaho potatoes

Old Bay seasoning


Heat peanut oil on high in a nonstick frying pan. Meanwhile, cut potatoes into long strips, leaving skin on. Fry potatoes until crisp and brown, turning heat down to medium high. Drain on paper towels. Afterward, dust with Old Bay and salt. Serve immediately.

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