Hot!Steamed Cheeseburgers

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Wistah
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2003/10/30 19:20:40 (permalink)

Steamed Cheeseburgers

I had heard of steamed cheeseburgers, a local cuisine in Connecticut, but had never had one until today.

I had to make a road trip to southern CT, so I stopped at Ted's in Meriden. I had two of their basic steamed cheeseburgers with onion...

One word...AWESOME....ADDICTIVE...(okay two words).

I like them even better than White Castles, although they are completley different.

Does anyone have a recommendation as to other establishments in that area, just to try some different versions of this local delicacy?
#1

24 Replies Related Threads

    jpatweb
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2003/10/31 10:11:01 (permalink)
    On paper, steamed cheeseburgers sound odd, maybe even repulsive. But they sure are delicious. Ted's is probably the best place to sample one. The rolls Ted's uses for the burgers--something akin to a hard roll--also contribute to the burger experience to be had there. Ted's steams hot dogs, too.

    Tom's Place in Meriden also serves steamers, as does O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown, which is reviewed on this site.
    #2
    spadoman
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2003/10/31 10:51:59 (permalink)
    I'm not sure if this is what you're talkin' bout, but aren't White Castles steamed? I was told that's why they got the holes punched in em.
    Anyway, there is a great burger bar in Stillwater Minnesota called Meister's. They take the hand fromed pattys and put them on the grill and cover them with a pie pan turned upside down. They put the onions and cheese right on them. I don't see the addition of any water or anything, but the natural juicy fat seems to steam the burger and it is soft and moist and delicious when served.

    If this constitutes a steamed burger, we got em' here at Meister's, otherwise, it's just a good place to get a burger and a brewski.
    #3
    jpatweb
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2003/10/31 13:03:16 (permalink)
    Meister's pie pan method, similar to a technique used at NYC's Jackson Hole burger joints, still puts the beef directly in contact with a superheated grill or griddle. On some level, there is steaming involved but it is nothing like the goings on in Central Connecticut. I'm sure Meister's burgers are delicious all the same, especially with a beer.

    Burgers steamed at Ted's and the other CT joints do not sit on a cook surface. Rather, the beef is portioned into little metal trays which are then loaded into a steam cabinet that is by all definitions a contraption. The end result is sort of a wan blob of meat that can be offputting in appearance but is a marvel of taste.



    #4
    Edwaste
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2003/10/31 14:41:02 (permalink)
    Another good place to try the steamed cheeseburger is Uncle Willy's in Waterbury CT. Look under BBQ in the Roadfood Revues.
    #5
    spadoman
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2003/10/31 15:06:05 (permalink)
    jpatweb.....Thanks for that info. I don't get east too often, but my notebook is getting thicker and thicker with places i gotta stop and eat next time I venture thataway. Thanks again!
    #6
    stanpnepa
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2003/10/31 15:24:40 (permalink)
    Shady Glen in Manchester is very charming---and still gives off the spirit of 1953. Funny looking, but great Steamed Cheeseburgers, OK fries...great ice cream. Great food. Great atmosphere.
    #7
    Michael Stern
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2003/10/31 17:54:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by stanpnepa

    Shady Glen in Manchester is very charming---and still gives off the spirit of 1953. Funny looking, but great Steamed Cheeseburgers, OK fries...great ice cream. Great food. Great atmosphere.


    Wow, Shady Glen has steamed cheeseburgers? I never knew! The ice cream IS the best, and the grill-cooked CBs are spectacular:

    #8
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2003/10/31 18:48:48 (permalink)
    Michael,
    Just looking at that photo made me gain 5 pounds. I'm gonna have to quit coming by here until I lose some weight unless you can manage to post pictures of things that don't make me hungry!
    Wishing I Was At Uncle Willie's Right Now, The Attempting-To-Shrink Ort. Carlton, Ensconced 872 Miles Away In Lovely Athens, Georgia.
    #9
    kirklstruble1
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2004/04/26 14:58:33 (permalink)
    Sorry to burst the bubble folks, but the burgers at Shady Glen are grilled, not steamed. The only way to get the cheese at the Glen to flare up like the "Flying Nun's" hat is to grill it. People in Manchester look at you as if you have three heads if you mention a steamed cheeseburger (as do most people outside of the Meriden-Wallingford-Middletown metro area...believe me.) You really need to make a pilgrimage to the Mecca of Steamed Cheeseburgers... Ted's in Meriden. Or do what I did...get yourself a Burgr' Tendr' steamed cheeseburger chest and make them in the comfort of your own kitchen. Sharp Wisconsin Cheddar only.
    #10
    chezkatie
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2004/04/26 15:17:51 (permalink)
    I have never had a steamed hamburger but it sounds like it would be fun to try. I seached the internet and came up with this recipe. My question to the steamed hamburger experts is: "Does this recipe sound like the real thing"?

    Steamed Hamburgers
    w/ Onions & Garlic

    Ingredients:
    3 lbs lean ground beef
    2 large onions, cut into rings
    Fresh garlic cloves (at least 2), chopped or sliced very thin
    1 stick butter
    Salt
    Pepper
    Hot Sauce

    Preparation:
    In a Dutch oven or roaster, melt butter and sautee 1 large onion and garlic until soft.
    Season while sauteeing.
    While onion rings and garlic are sauteeing, make ¼ lb hamburger patties.
    Season and brown patties in skillet or frying pan, and stack on top of sauteed onions.
    Top patties with the other onion, and add 1 cup of water and some hot sauce.
    Cover and let simmer for a couple hours minimum, to absorb the flavor of the onions,
    garlic and hot sauce.
    #11
    Grampy
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2004/04/26 15:40:18 (permalink)
    According to the Sterns in Blue Plate Specials, most places have a steamer box, where the burger and cheese are cooked separately, and the glob of cheese is then added.

    Here is there advice to make it at home:
    You don’t have to be a do-it-yourself type to rig your own steam box at home. Using Brian O’Rourke’s expert advice, we jury-rigged one using a large skillet, a metal colander with feet, a big heatproof bowl, and a clean, empty 6-1/2-ounce tuna can.

    Here’s how: Put about one inch of water in the skillet and place on the stove over medium heat. Place the colander above the water. Put 4—6 ounces of cheddar cheese in the tuna can and, when the water begins to boil, put the tuna can in the colander. Then, cover the colander with the big heatproof bowl, trapping the steam inside. In only a matter of minutes, the cheese will melt, then all you have to do is use a spoon to scoop it out onto a hamburger, a hard roll, or a piece of apple pie.

    Makes enough cheese for 3—4 servings.

    P.S. It is actually possible to cook the hamburger in the makeshft steam box if you want to be a classicist about your steamer. Put a half-inch patty of lean raw ground beef in another tuna can and steam both burger and cheese at the same time.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=118
    #12
    UncleVic
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2004/04/26 15:46:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by chezkatie

    I have never had a steamed hamburger but it sounds like it would be fun to try. I seached the internet and came up with this recipe. My question to the steamed hamburger experts is: "Does this recipe sound like the real thing"?

    Steamed Hamburgers
    w/ Onions & Garlic

    Ingredients:
    3 lbs lean ground beef
    2 large onions, cut into rings
    Fresh garlic cloves (at least 2), chopped or sliced very thin
    1 stick butter
    Salt
    Pepper
    Hot Sauce

    Preparation:
    In a Dutch oven or roaster, melt butter and sautee 1 large onion and garlic until soft.
    Season while sauteeing.
    While onion rings and garlic are sauteeing, make ¼ lb hamburger patties.
    Season and brown patties in skillet or frying pan, and stack on top of sauteed onions.
    Top patties with the other onion, and add 1 cup of water and some hot sauce.
    Cover and let simmer for a couple hours minimum, to absorb the flavor of the onions,
    garlic and hot sauce.



    Hard to say since I've never had a steamed burger... But looking over the review http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=112 of Teds, I personally dont think they're browned first... Looks like they toss them in the steamer and let them go!
    #13
    nollequeen
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2004/04/26 16:59:49 (permalink)


    Excellent steamed cheese burgers at The Local Scoop in Rocky Hill, Connecticut on Cromwell Avenue (Right across from KinderCare. Too die for but incredibly filling, must be all the moisture.

    Ice Cream is good too, it's imported from Ashley's in New Haven.
    #14
    kirklstruble1
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2004/04/27 09:43:14 (permalink)
    In no way shape or form should you brown the burger first before steaming it...it defeats the purpose. Besides, it is supposed to look like a wet, grey sock....sorry that's an accurate description (and one of the main reasons why this burger form is such a tough sell) As to how to make them at home (without the Burgr' Tendr') my brother and I would use two metal loaf pans fitted with two smaller metal tins (raised above the bottom so you could fill the loaf pan with water.) Put the apparatus on top of a gas flame and allow to boil. Fill one small tin with beef the other with sharp Wisconsin cheddar and steam them both at the same time. It's tough to cook a steamed cheeseburger to temp...they're just kind of done. However, after about 8-10 minutes they still remain really juicy.
    #15
    efuery
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2004/04/27 12:26:09 (permalink)
    Ted's is the best! I had my first one in November and now require one about every two weeks - otherwise I get cranky! Ted's is the best place to get them not only for the taste but for the cozy atmosphere. 3 booths or five counter stools that's it. Eating at Ted's allows you to "get to know your neighbor" as you pass along napkins (you will need many), condiments and help the cooks give telephone directions to lost steamed cheeseburger seekers. Even though it gets really busy and crowded at times, no one cops an attitude. Service is pretty quick and courteous and the burgers are ALWAYS delicious!
    #16
    hhawk
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    RE: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2004/11/09 10:40:26 (permalink)
    High heat, like a backyard BBQ or the gas griddle (e.g., grill) at your local burger joint can does things like make a really tasty crust on the meat, but high temp. cooking is asssoicated with creating carcinogens.

    Steam, more or less based on altitude, is always 212 degrees.. a nice low cooking temp.

    For me unless it's white castle, i'd rather have it low and slow on the griddle... except when I cook hot and fast...

    info:
    http://www.vegsource.com/campbell/messages/4162.html

    #17
    Ketteract
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    Re: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2015/01/24 12:23:43 (permalink)
    Wistah
    Does anyone have a recommendation as to other establishments in that area, just to try some different versions of this local delicacy?




    I am reviving this thread because I've become interested in cataloging - and trying - all establishments in CT that serve steamed cheeseburgers.  
     
    Ted's, Meriden/Cromwell
    K LaMay's, Meriden
    O'Rourke's Diner, Middletown
    Super Natural Market & Deli, Bristol
    The Lunch Box, Meriden
    The Local Scoop, Rocky Hill (CLOSED)
    The Other Place, Berlin (CLOSED)
    Dawg House, New Britain (CLOSED)
     
    Here's the one I had at K LaMay's recently, which disappointed me for reasons I've articulated elsewhere.  I actually tried to make it look as good as possible for the photo anyway.  It seems like there was a lot of meat, but there really was an inadequate amount of it for the bun and toppings used.  There wasn't too much cheese, either, at least not compared to Ted's - you can see some peeking out of the left corner.
     

     
    Ted's beat them hands down.
    post edited by Ketteract - 2015/01/24 12:29:54
    #18
    easydoesit
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    Re: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2015/01/24 13:57:05 (permalink)
    Ketteract, just dropping in here to say thanks for what you are showing us about the various good foods in your new home.  You always have great descriptions and pictures, and it's obvious you are having a very good time.  Glad to be going along for the ride.
     
    #19
    Ketteract
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    Re: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2015/06/20 14:31:31 (permalink)
    I love sharing my experiences, and I'm glad you're enjoying them!  
     
    I finally made it to The Lunch Box in Meriden.  This was the third steamed cheeseburger I'd tried, the other two being from Ted's and K LaMay's.
     
    I generally dislike absolute rankings, but it's helpful to compare them to Ted's, which is usually considered the definitive example of this type of burger.  I would say that The Lunch Box's version is either equal to, or slightly better than, Ted's.  Strong language, I know.
     

     
    I ordered the "Deluxe" cheeseburger, which comes with lettuce and tomato (and apparently mayo as well, though that isn't mentioned on the menu), and a side of macaroni salad.  Detractors of the steamed cheeseburger claim that the cooking process removes all flavor from the meat.  Those people are out of their minds.  The beef was bursting with flavor, and it went wonderfully with the sharp white cheddar, which was melted to a perfect consistency.  The creamy, tangy kick of the mayo helped tie everything together, and I may consider making that a standard addition to my steamed cheeseburgers in the future.  
     

     
    (I'll also add that this burger was a million times better than what I recently got at Eli Cannon's in Middletown... and half the price.  Funny how that can work sometimes!)
     
    I'm not really qualified to review the mac salad, as it included tuna - which was also not revealed on the menu - and tuna just isn't my thing.  It did have generous pieces of bacon... but also peas that were clearly canned, the sole black mark in an otherwise great meal.  Fresh peas can make such a difference; I would suggest that they switch accordingly, and update their menu to more completely cover what is in each item.  Their mac salad with fresh peas and no tuna would have been a winner for me.
     
    I snuck a couple pics of home fries and bacon on the griddle.
     

     

     
    Today's weather was awesome, and they had both the front and back doors open, creating a nice breeze.  Staff was friendly, too.  
     

     
    Overall this place is very inviting; that plus the food left me in a better mood than when I arrived.  What higher compliment is there for a restaurant?
     
    post edited by Ketteract - 2015/06/20 14:40:51
    #20
    billyboy
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    Re: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2015/06/20 16:54:37 (permalink)
    Ketteract, looks like a great burger though as a purist I'd probably skip the lettuce and tomato.  That mac salad has my name written all over it.  Every and I mean EVERY cookout at my (paternal) grandparents house included a mayo-based macaroni salad with peas and tuna.  A taste of the one at The Lunch Box would probably transport me right back to being 14 years old in their backyard grill by the lake!  On a side note, the awesome potato salad at Louis Lunch brought me right back to cookouts at my other grandparents' house, just a short walk away from my dad's folks and my grandma's homemade potato salad!
    #21
    Ketteract
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    Re: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2015/06/20 20:54:01 (permalink)
    billyboy
    On a side note, the awesome potato salad at Louis Lunch brought me right back to cookouts at my other grandparents' house, just a short walk away from my dad's folks and my grandma's homemade potato salad!



    The potato salad at Louis Lunch is better than any other I've had in CT so far.  Rein's is good, but Louis Lunch's is practically in the same class as their burgers.  They offer potato chips too, but I can't imagine going there and choosing those instead.  Insanity!
    #22
    billyboy
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    Re: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2015/06/20 20:59:16 (permalink)
    Their homemade pies are pretty great, too.  For a place that really puts a HUGE emphasis on the freshness of the beef and the quality and care they put into making their burgers, I just never expected a side and pie to be at the same level.  Such a wonderful and pleasant surprise!
    #23
    Ketteract
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    Re: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2015/06/21 09:27:21 (permalink)
    Found a couple more places to try!
     
    Farrell's Restaurant, Portland, CT
    American Steamed, Wallingford, CT
     
    It really is a delight, unearthing these lesser-known joints.  I have to force Google to omit Ted's and K LaMay's from its search results, though.  I think I've found enough so far for an actual steamed cheeseburger tour - if someone wanted to do one. 
    post edited by Ketteract - 2015/06/21 09:28:41
    #24
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re: Steamed Cheeseburgers 2015/06/21 13:24:49 (permalink)
    I love Louis Lunch. I grew up there. In all these years I never even knew they had potato salad.
    #25
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