Longtime bar will make way for sister location of Turkish restaurant near the corner of Forbes and Braddock avenues.
Being in a burger state of mind and living in a state dotted with burgs, we are taking a whimsical trip across the rolling hills, green farmlands, historic battlefields and majestic rivers to see what burgers the commonwealth has to offer.
There are at least 60 burgs and most of them are in Allegheny, Westmoreland and Centre counties. Many are named for the person who founded the towns or the physical place where the town is located such as near a river, creek or other topographic feature, according to Kathy Hale, supervisor for public services at the State Library of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.
All of them pair well with a burger, even if it is just in jest.
While on this burger quest, let us not forget the central role Pennsylvania played in the American Revolution and that it’s the home state of nine (the largest number from the 13 colonies) to the signers of the Declaration of Independence. So for Uncle Sam’s 241st birthday, it’s only fitting to salute the Keystone State and its burgs with one of America’s most iconic foods — the burger. Here are our pairings:
• Chambersburg: Nacho burger with salsa that honors the famed peaches.
• Gettysburg: Pickett’s Charge that is the star of a contest at Blue & Gray Bar & Grill.
• Greensburg: Lamb burger tips its hat to the nearby Jamison Farm.
• Harrisburg: Pork burger topped with bacon that represents legislators who have gone hog wild.
• Hamburg: Pork-and-sauerkraut burger made the Pennsylvania Dutch way.
• Millersburg: Bass burger prepared with fish found in the Susquehanna River.
• Parkesburg: Portabella burger to tout the mushroom capital of the world.
• Pittsburgh: The Nad’alie, crowned with a pierogi, from Winghart’s restaurant.
• Strasburg: Vegetable burger that screams farmed in Lancaster County.
• Stroudsburg: Hearty and classic burger for hikers and skiers in the Poconos.
Even though Pennsylvania is no California, Georgia or South Carolina when it comes to growing peaches, Chambersburg has developed a cachet for the stone fruits even though it grows more apples.
“The droughty soil, which loses moisture very quickly, combined with the dry heat is what makes the peaches sweet and juicy,” says Dwight Mickey, co-owner of Shatzer’s Fruit Market in the borough. His farm grows 15 acres of peaches — mainly ‘Red Haven,’ ‘Sun High’ and ‘Loring’ — and the peak season this year is first and second weeks of August. Remember a Chambersburg peach is not a variety but simply comes from there. A peach salsa is a sweet way of tucking the fruit into the burger, and when topped with crunchy nacho chips, textures explode.
Nacho Burgers (Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)
Since nachos are often served with some sort of ground meat, why not nachos on a turkey burger patty? The tortilla chips add a nice crunch, and the peach salsa, sour cream, cheese and guacamole get the fiesta going in full swing.
1½ pounds ground turkey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Yellow corn tortilla chips
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
4 hamburger buns
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup peach salsa (recipe below)
1/2 cup guacamole, optional
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.
Combine meat, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well with your hands, and then roll the meat into large meatballs. Flatten into 4 patties, and then use your thumb to make an indentation in the middle of the patties.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, quickly brown both sides of the burgers, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a roasting rack set over one of the prepared sheets. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes for medium-rare or about 8 minutes for medium.
Preheat broiler. Lay tortilla chips in a single layer on the other prepared sheet. Evenly cover chips with cheeses. Place under broiler for 3 minutes, until cheese melts.
Place a patty on bottom half of a bun. Add 1 tablespoon sour cream, 4 tablespoons salsa, some nachos on top and 2 tablespoons guacamole. Add the top bun. Repeat with other burgers, and serve immediately.
— Adapted from “The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook” by Daina Falk (Oxmoor House; August 2016)
3/4 cup peeled, pitted and diced peaches
2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons yellow pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped
Juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients except salt. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate for about 2 hours. Makes 1 cup.
For six months, the Blue & Gray Bar & Grill in Lincoln Square has been having a sandwich contest -- Pickett’s Charge Challenge -- which is touted to be “as large as the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia combined.” Those who eat the 5½-pound burger built with three Texas Toast grilled cheese sandwiches, a patty melt in the middle and Philly cheesesteak topped with lettuce tomato and bacon in 20 minutes, get it for free along with a Blue & Gray T-shirt, said Dontale King, kitchen manager. Our burger is a slimmer and less-caloric variation of the previous Pickett’s Charge Challenge sandwich that was similar to the current one but made with 3 pounds of meat and had cheese fries instead of the cheesesteak. And the contestants could take 25 minutes to scarf it down.
Pickett's Charge (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette)
The only way to eat this burger is to open your mouth wide — really wide. The flavors explode when the Cheese Whiz, bacon, egg and Texas Toast all come together in one bite.
2 pounds ground sirloin
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, divided
8 slices thick-cut bacon
Vegetable oil for brushing
Salt and pepper to taste
8 slices frozen Texas Toast
1 tablespoon butter
4 large eggs
8 ounces (1 cup) Cheese Whiz
4 slices tomato
4 thin slices onion
4 iceberg lettuce leaves
Garlic Mayo (recipe follows)
Preheat grill to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together sirloin, parsley and garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Use your hands to form the ground meat mixture into 4 even patties.
Arrange bacon slices on grill rack to one side over lower heat. After the fat has slowly dripped off, move them toward the center of the grill to finish cooking, about 10 minutes. When they are nice and crisp, not burned, remove from grill and set aside.
Add burgers to the grill and brush the top with oil. Cook for 5 minutes and flip them over. Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, prepare Texas Toast according to package instructions.
Melt butter in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Crack eggs on 4 parts of the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, until egg whites just begin to set. Carefully flip them over and cook for 3 more minutes. Turn off heat but don’t remove the pan.
To assemble the burger, place a patty on a slice of toast. Top with ¼ cup cheese, 2 slices bacon, tomato, egg, onion and lettuce. Spread garlic mayo on a slice and close with mayo side down. Repeat with other burgers, and serve immediately.
— Post-Gazette staff
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
Salt, to taste
In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
The city is named after Nathanael Greene, a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War, and is 8 miles from the famous Jamison Farm, which raises about 400 lambs at any given time. John and his wife, Sukey, have owned the lamb farm in Latrobe for 40 years. The lambs are moved from pasture to pasture so they always have fresh grass.This translates to good and tender meat. In fact, the meat’s so good that it appears on restaurant menus not only in Pittsburgh but also New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
Goat Cheese-Stuffed Lamb Burgers (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette)
Goat Cheese-Stuffed Lamb Burgers
Goat cheese adds a creaminess, the fried onion a crunch and the mayo a bite to the burger.
1½ pounds ground lamb
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup goat cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 burger buns, toasted
4 tablespoons spicy mayo, divided (recipe follows)
2 cups fried onions, divided
1 cup baby arugula, divided
In a large bowl, combine lamb, garlic, paprika, cayenne and mint. Mix well.
Set aside 4 tablespoons of the lamb mixture and divide the remaining lamb into 4 portions. Shape them into patties slightly larger than the width of the burger bun. Using your thumb, make a well in the center of each patty, going halfway through the lamb.
Divide goat cheese into four portions and place them in the divots. Flatten each tablespoon of reserved burger mixture into a disk and place on top of the goat cheese. Pinch the edges to encase the cheese in the lamb.
Season both sides of each patty with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, melt the butter with olive oil over medium heat. Cook burgers for 4 to 5 minutes per side for doneness.
Place burgers on the toasted buns and top each with 1 tablespoon mayo, ½ cup fried onions and ¼ cup arugula.
Makes 4 burgers.
— Adapted from “Eat Delicious” by Dennis Prescott (William Morrow Cookbooks; April 18, 2017; $27.50)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 finely minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon finely minced chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients together and refrigerate.
Pork-barrel spending was coined from a story in 1863 that referred to public funds spent to benefit “we the people.” Over the years, it has come to stand for wasteful projects when legislators go hog wild and load up spending bills with “pork” — pet projects for the home district that end up costing taxpayers zillions of dollars. Although the state Legislature has banned it, Harrisburg lawmakers, who say they are bringing home the bacon, continue to be accused of sneaking in pork to buy public affection. So it’s only fitting to pair the state capital with a pork burger topped with bacon.
Roast Garlic Pork Burgers (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette)
Roast Garlic Pork Burgers
Dispel any notion that a head of garlic is too much here. It perfumes the pork nicely and adds a deep flavor along with the ground fennel seeds and smoked bacon strips.
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 head of garlic
14 ounces minced ground pork
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for cooking
4 hamburger buns
4 slices cooked, smoked bacon strips
Mayonnaise and ketchup, as desired
Dry roast fennel seeds in a frying pan until fragrant, then cool and grind.
Slice top off the garlic head (to expose cloves inside), wrap in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. When garlic cloves are cool enough, squeeze pulp from each clove and mash into a paste.
Mix together well pork, ground fennel, garlic paste, parsley and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Shape pork mixture into 4 patties.
Add a touch of oil to a large frying pan, and heat through. Add patties and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until cooled through, turning over as needed.
Place a patty on the bottom roll. Top with a bacon strip and ketchup. Spread mayonnaise on top bun. Close and serve at once.
— Adapted from “Garlic” by Jenny Linford (Ryland Peters & Small, February 2016)
The Berks County borough was named after Hamburg, Germany, because of its large German population. Since 2003, it has been holding the Taste of Hamburger Festival. This year it will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 2 and will feature burger-eating competitions for amateurs and professionals and 30 hamburger stands serving creations such as brisket topped with mac and cheese as well as a bacon cheeseburger on a glazed doughnut. For a burger that’s rooted in Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, we have created one that’s topped with pork and sauerkraut and placed it on a soft pretzel roll.
Pork and Sauerkraut Burgers (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette)
Pork and Sauerkraut Burgers
Even though there’s sauerkraut in the patty and on top of it, the cabbage does not overwhelm the burger. There is a definite bite here, and so you could cut back on the cayenne.
1 pound ground pork
1½ teaspoons caraway seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups sauerkraut, drained and divided
4 pretzel rolls
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for brushing rolls
4 slices white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayo, divided
In a bowl, combine pork, crushed caraway, cayenne, garlic and onion powders, salt, pepper and 1 cup drained sauerkraut. Using a fork, mix gently to combine, and then lightly form into 4 patties. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high in cast-iron skillet. Add remaining 1 cup sauerkraut and stir-fry until cabbage is browned around the edges and fragrant. Transfer to bowl and cover to keep warm.
Lightly brush cut sides of the rolls with canola oil and toast, cut side down, for about 1 minute. Set aside.
Cook patties on each side for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once.
To build the burger, place a cheese slice on bottom of roll. Place patty and spread it with 1 tablespoon mayo. Top patty with ¼ cup of stir-fried sauerkraut. Place top half of pretzel roll. Repeat process with the other rolls.
— Post-Gazette staff
The rail town in Dauphin County sits on the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River, which is getting a growing respect for its flathead catfish but is best known for its smallmouth bass. In recent years, parts of the river have had serious problems with agricultural runoff that negatively impacts the bass, says PG outdoors writer, John Hayes, while other stretches continue to attract anglers to one of the best smallmouth populations in the Eastern United States. Easy to fillet, smallmouth bass cooks quickly, creating meaty bite-size flakes that do not overwhelm added flavors. Although smaller bass from clean-moving water is ideal, any kind of bass works for this burger.
Grilled Bass Burgers
Grilled Bass Burgers
Make sure that the fillets are dry before seasoning them. Excess water will prevent the seasoning from sinking in and will cause the fish to steam rather than get a deliciously crisp char.
2 (6 ounce) bass fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 potato rolls
Pickled Tartar Sauce (recipe follows)
Corn-Black Bean Salad (recipe follows)
Heat outdoor grill or pan over stovetop on medium high.
Brush bass on both sides with 2 tablespoons oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grease grill or pan with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
Cook fish until center is firm and opaque, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Cut into 4 pieces.
To assemble the burger, split rolls in half and spread each with sauce. Place a piece of fish on bottom half of each roll and top with corn-black bean salad. Place the top half of the roll, and serve immediately.
— Post-Gazette staff
Pickled Tartar Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled jalapeno
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill pickles
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together, cover and refrigerate.
Corn-Black Bean Salad
1 cup black beans (from can, drained)
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup red peppers, finely diced
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients well. Cover and refrigerate.
Once known as Fountain Inn, the borough in Chester County got its name from John G. Parke, a noted politician from a prominent family. Parkesburg is only about 13 miles from Kennett Square, the mushroom capital of the world that produces more than 1 million pounds of mushrooms a week. Portabella is the largest and most popular commercially grown variety of mushroom and is cultivated in richly composted tiered shelves. It actually is a crimini mushroom that has been left to grow for up to a week longer. This longer growing period is what gives it a rich meat-like flavor and texture, including in this burger.
Portabella Vegetable Burgers (Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette)
Portabella Vegetable Burgers
These mushroom patties freeze well, says author Mimi Brodeur, so pull out them out for barbecue guests who request vegetarian in place of beef burgers.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup diced onion (about 1 small onion)
1 carrot, finely diced
1 orange bell pepper, finely diced
2 portabella mushroom cups (about 8 ounces), stems trimmed, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup cooked barley (regular or quick-cooking)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2/3 cups breadcrumbs
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
6 ciabatta rolls
Arugula leaves or bibb lettuce
Preheat broiler. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Grease foil (use cooking spray on 6 spots on foil where you’ll be placing patties).
In a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Stir in onion, carrot and bell pepper, and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Scrape into bowl.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet, and saute mushrooms and garlic until liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Scrape into bowl with vegetables.
Let cool slightly, then stir in barley, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and cayenne pepper.
Divide into 6 portions and form patties with hands. Or tightly pack a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop out mixture (it will be wet) and place on prepared foil, forming 6 patties. Broil patties 5 inches from heat source until browned on one side. Carefully turn patties over (they will be delicate), and brown 5 minutes on other side.
Allow to cool slightly; patties will firm up as they cool on cookie sheet. Serve warm on rolls lined with arugula leaves, and topped with Basil Yogurt Sauce.
Makes 6 burgers.
— Adapted from “Mushroom Cookbook: Recipes for White & Exotic Varieties” by Mimi Brodeur (Stackpole Books; August 2005)
Basil Yogurt Sauce
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients until combined.
The second largest city in the state is the only one with an “h” at the end. In its younger years, it was spelled Pittsbourgh by the British and changed to Pittsburg in 1891 by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, who ruled all cities and towns with name endings pronounced “berg” should be spelled burg. But the board reversed its ruling in 1911. The “h” was reinstated at the end, and the spelling has since stuck. Winghart’s, with locations in Market Square, South Side and Greensburg, has quirky names along with a story for each of its burgers. Owner Zachary Winghart said his friend Nad was nagging him to name a burger after her. So he did — and created one topped with a potato pierogi.
The Nad'alie (Jim Capps)
Sometimes a simple seasoning can provide the best flavor. This beef patty just needs salt and pepper, and it’s ready rock ‘n’ roll with the pierogi and Burgundy jus.
8 ounces high-quality ground beef
Cracked black pepper and kosher salt to taste, divided
2 ounces caramelized Spanish onions
1 cheese-and-potato pierogi, seared in skillet along with caramelized onions
2 ounces Burgundy jus
1 brioche bun, well toasted.
For Burgundy jus
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons slurry (cornstarch and water)
2 tablespoons butter
For Burgundy jus: Combine wine, stock, pepper and salt and reduce by three-fourths over medium-high heat. Add slurry while boiling.
Boil 2 more minutes then remove from heat. Add butter and stir to thicken. Allow to cool.
For burger: Combine ground meat, pepper and salt and form an 8-ounce patty.
Place patty on a flat surface such as a large skillet or griddle. After the initial sear of the meat, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high heat.
Flip burger and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Place cooked patty on bottom half of bun
Add caramelized onions, keeping onions toward center of patty.
Add pierogi on top of caramelized onions, and press down lightly.
Pour thickened jus on top of pierogi. Reserve some in a small dish on the side for dipping, if desired.
Add top bun.
Realize you have reached maximum Pittsburgh burger enjoyment!
— Colin Smith of Winghart’s
The borough is home to Lancaster Farmland Trust, a private nonprofit group that promotes the preservation of farmlands. There are 150 to 200 farms around Strasburg, says Jeff Swinehart, deputy director of the group, and literally one in every direction you go. Most are owned by plain-sect (Amish) farmers and are 60 to 70 acres. Although most of them are dairy operations, the farmers are diversifying and going into the retail flower business and produce. “There are eight to 12 farm stands in a 1- to 2-mile radius,” he says. “So I can pick up strawberries, a bouquet for my wife and zucchini for dinner on my way home,” he says. This burger with a masala accent embraces vegetables that are typically grown on Lancaster County farms.
Masala Veggie Burger (Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette)
Masala Veggie Burger
The onion, carrot, green pepper, green beans and potatoes are all team players here and the garam masala and turmeric give the burger an Indian flavor.
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup green beans, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste, divided
4 medium red potatoes, boiled and mashed
¾ cup breadcrumbs
8 hamburger buns
2 teaspoons clarified butter
8 leaves Boston lettuce
8 slices tomato
8 slices red onion
Bread-and-butter pickle slices, optional
Ketchup and mayonnaise, as desired
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes, stirring, until translucent.
Add carrot, green pepper, corn and green beans, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add garam masala, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, sugar and salt. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Transfer vegetable mixture to a mixing bowl and add smashed potatoes and breadcrumbs. Combine well. Add more salt to taste.
Divide mixture to form 8 patties.
Wipe skillet. Add 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Place 4 patties on skillet and cook 4 minutes, until browned. Flip and cook another 4 minutes.
Repeat process with remaining 4 patties.
Toast buns after lightly spreading them with clarified butter; set aside.
To assemble burger, place a leaf on the bottom bun and top it with a patty, tomato slice, onion ring and pickle slices, if desired. Add condiments as desired.
— Arthi Subramaniam
Founded by Col. Jacob Stroud's family in the mid-1700s in the Pocono Mountains, Stroudsburg sits in a region that is not only a hot spot for honeymooners but also skiers, hikers and nature lovers. It’s close to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which is a haven for activities such as canoeing, horseback riding and cycling. Hikers also congregate here as the Appalachian Trail runs along much of the eastern boundary of the park. The state’s first commercial ski area, Big Boulder Ski Area, opened in 1946, and those with an adventurous spirit can go zip lining, parasailing and whitewater rafting. All this calls for big appetites and a hearty Texas-style burger.
Texas Burgers (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette)
The best way to mold the patties is by hand. “Using your hands helps ensure the patties do not compress too much,” say the editors of Southern Living. Don’t hesitate to use mild cheddar or Colby cheese instead of the Longhorn-style cheddar.
1½ pounds ground chuck
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Texas Meat Rub (recipe follows)
4 slices Longhorn-style cheddar cheese
1 medium jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 hamburger buns
Coarse-grained mustard, leaf lettuce, tomato slices, red onion slices for topping
Preheat grill to 350 degrees to 400 degrees (medium-high).
Shape meat into 4 patties. Drizzle patties with Worcestershire sauce and sprinkle with Texas Meat Rub. Let stand 15 minutes.
Grill patties, covered with the grill lid, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.
Top with cheese. Grill, covered with grill lid, until the cheese melts. Remove from grill; top with the jalapeno and let stand for 5 minutes.
Butter the buns, and toast on grill. Serve patties on toasted buns with desired toppings.
— “Texas BBQ” by Editors of Southern Living (Oxmoor House; April 4, 2017; $19.99)
Texas Meat Rub
1/4 cup table salt
1/4 cup ancho chili powder
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
Stir together all the ingredients until well blended. Store in airtight container up to 1 year.