For the fresh pickles:
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
diagonally 1/8-inch thick
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoon thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
For the patties:
2 pounds ground American Kobe beef or other premium beef
Freshly ground black pepper
8 extra-sour rye bread slices
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 pound Vermont Cheddar cheese, shredded
Mayonnaise, if desired
Cook's note: This recipe may also be made with Peppadew Mayonnaise and Caramelized Onions; recipes of both are included in the cookbook.
To make pickles: Combine cucumber, onion, and red bell pepper in a heat-proof bowl and set aside. Combine vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, mustard seed, and coriander seed in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring the vinegar mixture to a simmer, and then adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables in the bowl and season to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally.
To make the patties: Season the beef with salt and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well.
Divide the mixture into four equal portions. Shape the portions into patties to fit the bread slices. Heat the grill to medium-high heat and cook the patties, turning once, until done to your liking, 5 to 7 minutes on each side.
Meanwhile, brush one side of the bread with melted butter. Place 4 bread slices buttered side down on grill. Sprinkle half the cheese over the 4 slices, dividing equally. Top with a cooked patty, and then an equal portion of the remaining cheese and some of the pickles (or serve pickles on the side).
Meanwhile, place four top slices of bread brushed with butter on the grill to brown.
When done, top burger with remaining bread slices. Cut each patty melt in half and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Source: Jeffrey Starr in Build a Better Burger