Going Coastal: The Beach Burger

Going Coastal is a series of recipes familiar throughout the country but with a uniquely Third Coast spin to them.

I saw an episode of Emeril Live years ago, one of those on-location specials from Florida and Chef Legasse was making Cowboy Ribeyes, 22 ounces of bone-in beefy goodness. As a "garnish" Emeril fried up a dozen oysters and topped the steaks with them. At the time I thought it a wonderful display of showmanship but little more. That is until I was dining at Felix's Fish Camp on the Causeway in Mobile, AL and there on the menu was a 10 ounces fillet topped with fried oysters. I had to.

That first bite of grilled bovine and fried bivalve was a life changing experience, very few things compliment each other so well. To this day it is the only steak sauce I will tolerate. So I got to thinking if oysters and beef go so well together why not try it as a burger. After all burgers are good and Po'Boys are good, why not combine the flavors? They do have unifying components like bread, mayo, ketchup and pickles. It should work, right?

The Beach Burger
1 pound 85/15 Certified Black Angus ground chuck
1 tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning
3 standard hamburger buns or Keyser rolls
Salt & pepper to taste
1 dozen Gulf oysters
1 cup butter milk
1 egg
2/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup masa harina
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
Cooking oil
Beach Burger Rémoulade (recipe follows)

In a large bowl combine the chuck with the Old Bay and mix thoroughly. Divide into three equal sized balls and form into patties adding salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while your grill comes to temperature. When grill is ready cook burgers as normal.

While the burgers are cooking combine in a paper bag the cornmeal, masa & Cajun seasoning. Set aside. Whisk the egg with the buttermilk in a bowl to make an egg wash adding salt and pepper to taste. Drain the liquid from the oysters and drop them into the egg wash. Bring cooking oil to 375 degrees in a pot or deep fryer. Once you have removed the burgers to rest toast the buns and move oysters from the wash to the dredge (shaking off excess of both) and into the hot oil. Fry for roughly 2 minutes, turning as necessary.

To assemble place a patty on the bottom of a toasted bun, then three oysters, a drizzle of Beach Burger Rémoulade and finally slather a healthy dollop of Beach Burger Rémoulade on the top bun. Serve with favorite burger condiments. The burger in the picture is served with a cheese grits timbale, salt & pepper fries and a lemon wedge garnish.

Beach Burger Rémoulade
2/3 cup tarter sauce
1/3 cup cocktail sauce
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
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