Ernest Hemingway is known today for his straightforward writing style and his international worldview. But, he isn’t typically known for his cooking. His burger recipe stands out as a truly great dish from an unexpected source.
In classic Hemingway style he suggested having these burgers with a cold beer and salad to go along with it and I can’t think of a better combination to be honest. If you want to indulge maybe substitute some fries for the salad.
So what makes Hemingway’s burgers special? It’s all about the seasoning. The recipe was found among thousands of documents that were transferred from Hemingway’s Cuba home to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
He called for a spice blend that has long since been discontinued called Beau Monde seasoning from Spice Island. It’s basically a blend of garlic and onion powder with a few other things that add just the right touch of spice to the meat. Because this blend is no longer available the ingredients list for these burgers may look long, but most of those items on the list are spices you already have on hand.
In the original recipe there’s also another discontinued spice blend that contains chicken bouillon and MSG. I opted to add the bouillon and not the MSG here, but you can add a pinch if you like.
Aside from that there are few more ingredients that give these burgers a truly unique flavor. And, with all these spices they smelled so good when they were cooking!
I felt that a burger this good deserved a toasted bun so I did that in the pan before the burgers went in. Then I piled my burger high with pickles and ketchup. But, I think some dijon mustard would go really well here, too.
If you’ve been looking for a way to change up your burgers then look no further than Ernest Hemingway’s burger recipe. They’ve got flavor in abundance and one of these hits the spot when you’re craving a burger that’s just the perfect amount of extra.
Ernest Hemingway's Burger Recipe
Makes 4 burgers
20m prep time
12m cook time
- 1 lb ground lean beef
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chutney or pepper jelly
- 1 1/2 tablespoons capers
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch sugar
- pinch celery seed
- pinch seasoning salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
- 1 egg, beaten
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup dry red or white wine
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 buns and toppings of your choice
- Combine all ingredients except for oil, burger fixins, and buns in a medium bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Form into 4 patties. Add oil to large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add burgers and turn heat to low. Cook for 4-6 minutes.
- Flip burgers and return heat to medium-high. Cook for 1 minute. Turn heat down and finish cooking for 4-5 more minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 160˚F.
- Top with condiments of your choice. Hemingway suggested serving these burgers with a salad and some cold beer.
Recipe adapted from Far Out Magazine.