The Cuban Frita Burger.
I have such a fun burger to share today!!
I will not lie, The Cuban Frita Burger is a little crazy, but the Cuban’s know how to do a burger right.
First, let me tell you yet another story. Promise this one will not be as long and boring as the last…I hope.
When I was on vacation down in south Florida… living the life I pretty much dream of, sitting in sunshine and 80 degree temps and walking around in a bathing suit, and or shorts and a t-shirt, all day… I also experienced a lot of Cuban food. You seee my grandparents live in Jupiter, which is about an hour and half from Miami. So the Cuban cuisine sometimes makes it’s way up to the quiet little town of Jupiter (not quite as eccentric of a town as Miami, but maybe Miami isn’t for all Cubans) and we were the lucky beneficiaries.
BUT – the family and I also took a trip down south, closer to Miami, to head to a flea market so dad and I could prop shop.
**Side note, my dad made this trip happen because he is that intense about finding me new junk to shoot on (seriously, he’s the best!). And I have to say, there is no better place than a flea market to find food photography props. The props are good and the deals are AMAZING.
Anyway, my dad piled us all in the car, teenage brother, six year old sister and always up for an adventure, mom in tow. We set off to do some real deal, flea market hunting.
So we get to the flea market and umm, let me just say, flea markets are not necessarily where I want to be on vacation. Or ever?
See, I am an obsessively clean person and well, flea markets are typically dirty, hot and crowded. All three of which make me feel a little uneasy (I promise I am not THAT high maintenance, but then I kind of am, cause ahh, I like comfort. UGH.) But somehow I manage to look past this and continue on to have a fun day and bring home a bunch of new junk to clutter my house with. I swear, I am becoming the junk lady…and this frightens me SO much. No really, I stress about my junk (ISSUES!).
At least this said junk cost me less than $10. You really just cannot beat that.
Point of the story – we end up stopping at some hole in the wall restaurant that served Cuban Frita Burgers. FYI – it is very typical while on a Gerard family outing to stop at a hole in the wall place. It’s kind of my dad’s thing, nothing can be mainstream. Some times these hole in the wall places are great and then sometimes… well you may end up on the toilet all night. ->Truth.
So these burgers, the Frita as the Cubans call them. They are something else. Full of flavor and texture and SAUCE! You guys know how important sauce is around here. Oh and fried eggs too! But those are optional, and if adding an egg the burger should really be called a caballo, but I can’t really pronounce that so I am still calling mine Frita.
The patties are made up of a mix of Cuban spices, but I went ahead and took a little short cut and just used a combo of ground beef and some super spicy chorizo + Spanish paprika. The patties alone are really just so delicious. They’re definitely not your typical burger.
I then added cheese (of course), which actually is not traditional, but I couldn’t do a burger without cheese. It just seemed like a lonely burger without it.
From here, things get really fun. Loads and loads of shoestring fries are piled on top of the patty. Not much can beat shoestring fries, but when added to the top of a burger? Yeah, awesome.
Next you drizzle the shoestrings with the secret sauce. But guys, this secret sauce is different from any other. It’s not mayo based and it’s really pretty simple. Tomatoes, brown sugar and spices + my additions of orange juice and sriracha to kick things up a bit. A little spice is always so GOOOOD. See, so simple! But I promise, it really is the secret to this burger. You can’t make a Frita without the sauce, you can’t.
You are also supposed to only serve these on real deal Cuban buns, but finding them anywhere in Colorado, or at least in the Denver area…I called all over…even had people willing to drive down to pick them up…well it just wasn’t happening. SO, I decided I’d order my buns online and have them sent all the way from Miami. Great idea, right? NOT. They came all smooshed and dried out. BUMMER.
The good news is that my pineapple sodas made the trip just fine. And in true Cuban fashion you should also serve this burger with a sugar loaded pineapple soda. OK, truth? I hate all soda and didn’t drink those, but I love their fun color so I went with it. Is that lame? Probably, but that color!! If soda is not your thing, I’d go for a (chocolate) shake. I mean, we are having fun, so why the heck not?!?
Oh and for me, that egg is a MUST, but you can take it or leave it. Just make sure you include all of the rest!
Don’t be skimpy here.
Also, don’t these burgers just make you dream of summer?!?!?
Clearly, I am daydreaming, as I am watching the snow fall outside my window. Send help!
The Cuban Frita Burger.
- 1 ounce can tomato paste 6
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha optional
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound fresh ground chorizo or use links and remove the meat from the casing
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- pinch of salt + pepper
- 6 Cuban buns warmed (or your favorite buns)
- 6 slices cheddar cheese
- 6 fried eggs optional
- 4 russet potatoes
- oil for frying
- salt + pepper to taste
- To make the secret sauce, combine the tomato paste, water, orange juice, Spanish paprika, cumin, brown sugar, vinegar, salt and sriracha in a small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- To make the fries, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot to 350 degrees F.
- Carefully cut the potatoes into shoestrings (or matchsticks) using a mandolin fitted with the narrowest julienne blade (about 1/8-inch wide) or just use your knife (this is what I did). Rinse the cut potatoes thoroughly in a bowl of cold water to remove the surface starch. Keep the potatoes in water until you're ready to fry. (I like to begin frying mine while the burgers are cooking)
- To form the burger patties, combine the beef, chorizo, ketchup, Spanish paprika, cumin and a pinch salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until just combined. Form the meat into six patties.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Cook the burger until your desired doneness, but traditionally Fritas should be cooked to medium. During the last minute of cooking, add a slice of cheddar cheese.
- Meanwhile, fry the potatoes, transfer the potatoes to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and pat them dry, as dry as you can get them.
- Fry the potatoes in batches until the potatoes are crisp and turn a nice golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. As each batch of fries comes out, transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss with salt to taste. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
- Serve the burgers on warmed Cuban buns that have been slathered with a little special sauce. On to the bottom bun, place the burger, fries, more special sauce and top with a fried egg. Place the top bun over the egg, grab the burger with two hands and EAT!
Or actually, just send sunshine and warmth… and photos of your burgers!! Yes, do that and be sure to tag them #halfbakedharvest – CAN’T WAIT!