Our thoughts naturally turn to burgers in the spring when we roll the grill out of the garage.
But here's a combo you've probably never thought of before: a pierogi burger.
The Pittsburgh Pierogi Burger is a new item on the menu at the Hard Rock Cafe in Station Square this spring. It's served on a potato bun and topped with sour cream, chives and white cheddar mashed potatoes.
The top seller at Hard Rock Cafe locations worldwide is burgers, according to Russell Booth, executive chef at Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando. And it's common for Hard Rock chefs to customize burgers for the local region. Seattle's Hard Rock has a "Seattle Java Lava Burger" with an espresso-rubbed burger patty and espresso-flavored onion straws, and Denver has a "Denver Rocky Mountain Beer Burger" topped with dark beer-caramelized onions and beer cheese sauce.
In Mr. Booth's opinion, the weirdest regional burger is the one served at Hard Rock in Edinburg, Scotland -- a haggis burger. (If you don't know what haggis is, trust me: You don't want to know).
Here are Chef Booth's tips for a good home-grilled burger:
• Shop like you're buying a steak -- go with top-quality meat.
• Use the freshest possible vegetables on top, like vine-ripened tomatoes and very crispy lettuce.
• Keep your grill heated to 550 degrees.
• Don't over-handle the patty -- flip it no more than three times.
"You'll have a great burger every time" if you follow those steps, he said.
Hard Rock also is running a "Bite it, Snap it, Post it, Win it" contest. Through May 31, take a photo of yourself with a burger at any U.S. Hard Rock location and post via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #hardrockburger or upload to hardrockburger.com, and you'll be entered in a drawing for a three-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana.
As for that pierogi burger? Well, I haven't tasted it, but to me, potatoes don't make a pierogi. Ya gotta have the noodle layer to make it authentic.
However, I can understand why Pittsburgh's Hard Rock didn't top a burger with a traditional pierogi. Can you imagine the slippery mess?
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Rebecca Sodergren: firstname.lastname@example.org.