Disclaimer: These aren’t pretty pictures. Sorry. Did I mention we eat every dish you see on this blog? Well, we do, and these babies weren’t waiting for a photo shoot. Allz I can say is, these are incredibly delicious and messy, the way a good burger should be. Better pictures another day. Maybe.
The first time I had these burgers was on my first visit to San Antonio, TX. This was eons ago, close to 15 years or so. Friends took us to this little hole in the wall grill promising the best burgers we’d ever had. They were right and continue to be. Chris Madrid has been around and expanded since then. This burger, and I have to say ‘this burger’ because I don’t think I’ve ever ordered anything else; this burger has remained the same. Consistently. Deliciously. Wackily good.
These burgers are so good and coveted by my friend Dodo and I, that we have made the 3-ish hour drive, had our burgers and turned around heading back to Houston. Yep. We have driven 6 hours for this burger. What? Like you wouldn’t?
Let me tell you about this little jewel. The Tostada Burger is dressed with mayo, refried pinto beans, tortilla chips, sweet onions, and an obscene sea of melted cheddar. Real cheddar. Melted. Real melted cheddar, I still don’t know how they achieve that feat. When they throw that burger at you, you can’t see the bun or the patty because they’re both covered by cheddar. OH. MY. GAWD. !!!.
Here’s my attempt at a Chris Madrid Tostada Burger.
2 cps pinto beans, cooked
5 bacon strips, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
8 slices sharp cheddar cheese
1-1/2 lb ground chuck
Tortilla chips, coarsely broken
4 hamburger buns
For the Onions: This is a step you can skip if you don’t mind raw onions, but I do, so I cook’em in bacon fat. Cuz bacon…, you know, makes everything bettah! Render the fat from the bacon and cook until it is lightly browned. Remove the bacon from the fat and add the chopped onions. Cook the onions until slightly softened. Once the onions have softened, remove them from the fat and set aside to drain.
For the Refried Beans: I started off with dry beans, but I have made this with whole canned beans. Do make sure you drain and rinse the canned beans before using them.
In the remaining bacon fat, add the beans, garlic and bacon together with about 1 cp of the bean cooking liquid, (if using canned beans add water or broth). Smash the beans into a chunky paste, it’s ok if you have beans that are just slightly mashed. Check the seasoning, adjusting the salt and pepper.
The beans should be loose, you don’t want them to be too thick. They will thicken as they sit around. Keep warm.
For the burger: Season the ground chuck liberally with fajita seasoning, try not to handle the beef too much. Once you have integrated the seasoning, divide it into 4 balls. Once divided, flatten into patties.
To cook, heat a flat skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat and place the patties on the very hot pan. Cook to your preferred doneness, flipping them after a few minutes. In the meantime, preheat the broiler.
Once the burgers are done, top each with a couple of slices of cheddar and pop it under the broiler. Watch them through the little window, just wait until the cheese melts and is bubbly and beginning to brown.
To assemble: I toasted the buns in a bit of butter, your choice to do so or not. Spread some mayo on the buns, don’t be shy. Set the cheesy patty on the bottom half, top with a couple tablespoons of refried beans. Top the beans with the crushed tortilla chips and finally, the onions. Put the other half of the bun on top and go at it. You. Will. Lose. Your. Mind. I guarantee it!
PS: Make sure you have plenty of napkins.