As legend would have it (and it indeed might be legend), a woman loved Neiman Marcus’ famous chocolate chip cookies so much, she offered to pay for the recipe. Her waitress told her the cost would be “two fifty,” and the woman agreed. Then she saw her credit card statement: $250. Yikes!
That story might just be a tall, half-baked tale. But it gets at the heart of dining in Dallas: Some dishes are so exceptional, so iconic they’ve become part of the intricate story of Dallas. Maybe they remind you of our history. Perhaps they’ve helped you define “delicious.”
Here’s a list of some of those coveted recipes. Now it’s time to hit the grocery store.
Cheeseburger from Keller’s
Jack Keller, owner of Dallas’ Keller’s burger restaurants, says “it’s hard to mess up a hamburger.” He may be right, but a lot of us aren’t making burgers as good as the famous Keller’s. His secret is his grills, one of which has been seasoned for 40 years. It imparts flavor into his burgers you might not be able to get at home. His at-home trick is to use a seasoned cast-iron skillet – the older the better.
Keller’s family has been making burgers in Dallas for 65 years. Take the recipe below as a suggested list of steps that might yield a Keller’s-like burger. If it doesn’t stack up, head to the old-school burger joints on Northwest Highway or Garland Road, and Keller’s friendly staff would be happy to show you how it’s done.
Makes one burger
1 thin beef patty measuring 2.66 ounces, made with 80 percent lean, 20 percent fat
1 poppy seed bun
One slice of cheese (optional)
Texas 1015 onions, sliced
Dill pickle, sliced for sandwiches
Slather of Red Boy mustard
Hand-shape one thin beef patty made with 80/20 beef. The patty should be half of a third of a pound, or 2.66 ounces. (Optional: Many people prefer a burger with two thin beef patties, for a double-patty hamburger. Do not combine the patties into one large patty.)
Warm a cast-iron skillet on low heat. Don’t put the patty on the skillet until the skillet is warm.
Cook the burger meat, low to medium heat, on one side until the edges of the meat turn brown. Keller doesn’t give a number of minutes per side; he judges when it’s time to flip the meat based on its color. “You only turn a good piece of meat once,” Keller reminds.
Place the poppy seed bun in a separate skillet on low heat. Mist it with water to lock in moisture.
Flip the burger when ready, then put a slice of cheese on the patty, if desired. Let it melt briefly, then put a slice of tomato on top of the cheese + burger stack. Sprinkle the tomato with salt and pepper and top it with a dill pickle.
Flip the poppy seed bun.
When burger is well done, pull it off the grill. Remove buns. Slather bottom piece of the poppy seed bun with Red Boy mustard. Plate the stack of beef + vegetables on top, and top it with the other bun.
To serve the burger like Keller’s does, wrap half of it in wax paper, then enjoy.
A word on the well-done-ness of the burger: Keller believes all beef products taste best well-done. He says it’s possible to produce a juicy, well-done burger if cooked properly on a seasoned grill or skillet.
Source: Jack Keller