Recipe: The Howie burger

Recipe: The Howie burger
The Howie burger.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

“Grilling in the summer is a pastime for all to enjoy. Anyone can do it, and it’s a great way to bring friends and family together with a simple, easy meal. As long as I can remember, we were a ‘grilling family.’ My Uncle Howie was on the forefront — it was a passion of his. I have fond memories of him even out in the rain standing his post at the grill. He would create some great meals — all simple and clean in nature, and yet you would think there were 15 ingredients in each item. The Howie Burger was by far his best invention; he had a great love of Dijon mustard and onions. So I took it a step further and made a gastrique of red onions and a homemade recipe for Dijonnaise. The Howie Burger is sweet, tart, tangy, and it appeals to many different palates. It’s also appealing because of the ease in making it and the explosion of flavor. The red onions are what does it. Slow cooked in red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, they take on the complex flavor of the vinegar and finish with a subtle sweetness. The Gruyere cheese is the perfect accompaniment, as it can stand up to the Dijonnaise and red onions. Howie may no longer be with us in the backyard at the barbecue, but I’ll always remember him for his famous burger and want to share it with as many people as I can.”

— Paul Lindsay, Pasadena

Howie burger

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes


Servings: 4

Note: From Paul Lindsay of Pasadena.

Howie red onions

1 pound red onions


1 quart red wine vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Cut the red onions into one-eighth-inch-thick slices. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, making sure everything is dissolved

3. In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot, combine the onions and vinegar mixture. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by half and the onions are softened, light pink to purple in color and slightly translucent, about 30 minutes. Pour the mixture into a shallow glass baking dish and cool before using. This makes about 2 cups of Howie red onions.



1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

2 cups mayonnaise

In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, heavy cream and ground black pepper. Mix in the Dijon mustard and mayonnaise. This makes about 2 2/3 cups Dijonnaise, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The Dijonnaise will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.

Howie burger


4 (8-ounce) ground beef patties

8 slices Gruyere cheese

2 cups Howie red onions, or to taste

4 hamburger buns or English muffins

Scant ¾ cup Dijonnaise, or to taste

4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

1. Heat a grill over medium-high heat until hot. Grill the burgers to desired doneness, about 2 to 4 minutes on each side for medium.

2. Just before pulling the burgers off the grill, top each patty with one-half cup Howie onions. Place 2 slices Gruyère over the onions and continue cooking until the cheese is fully melted. Remove and set aside in a warm place.

3. Toast the buns on the grill, and slather the top half of each with a scant 3 tablespoons Dijonnaise. Place about 1 cup shredded lettuce on the bottom of each toasted bun, place the burger on top and then cover with the top of the bun. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 1,103 calories; 66 grams protein; 55 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 64 grams fat; 22 grams saturated fat; 224 mg cholesterol; 26 grams sugar; 1,501 mg sodium.

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