The Milwaukee by Matt Bites

Matt-Armendariz-Wisc-Burger-Final

by Matt of Matt Bites, in honor of Cheeseburgers Across America

To me, cheeseburgers are the perfect food. Cheese, meat, vegetable – all in its own convenient carrying case, that requires nothing but an appetite and perhaps a napkin, depending on how luscious and juicy you like your cheeseburger.

That’s why I was excited to make one of the Cheeseburgers Across America from the Cheese & Burger Society. The Cheese & Burger Society recently created 10 cheeseburgers that represent 10 amazing cities in the U.S., and since I love my country, well, I knew I had to try one.

The Cheeseburgers Across America cities are Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Denver, Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City and Atlanta. My choice? I went for The Milwaukee! I’m not sure if you know this, but Milwaukee has a very special place in my heart because I have several close friends who live there (Hi, Heidi!) as well as the fact that my beautiful better half spends many months during the year working in Wisconsin. Milwaukee is his second home and I’d seriously consider adopting it as my second home but only in the warm months. Winter Wimp? That’s me.

So, what makes it The Milwaukee? First and foremost it’s the cheese. Wisconsin Brick cheese – to be exact. Now, if you happen to live outside Wisconsin you may not know what it is, so let me share it with you. Brick cheese is a yellow to pale-colored cow’s milk cheese that is made in, well, brick shape! Mild when young, stronger when aged, it’s great to cook with because it melts well and makes a fantastic grilled cheese sandwich.

So The Milwaukee: a single beef patty gets topped with Wisconsin Brick cheese, some beer battered onion rings, mustard, red cabbage slaw, and some beer-braised onions all inside marbled rye bread. Sounds amazing, right? I had one tasty burger.

While making The Milwaukee, I remembered the spirit of summer grilling: a cheeseburger doesn’t have to be exact, and the beauty of cheeseburgers is that they’re just so darn personal, allowing you to make them however you want! There are no rules; there are no regulations, maybe just a list of Burger Best Practices. (A term I shall now call the BBP. You read it here first folks.) The BBP are just guidelines to creating a beautiful cheeseburger, the space to make your own knows no bounds. So I substituted dark rye bread for the marble rye, a nice Dijon in place of the Cream City Pale Ale mustard, and I omitted the beer-braised onions.

Since I’m no baker, a deep, dark, flavorful rye bread worked for me and I must admit how much I love the flavor of the bread with the cheeseburger. Heck, you could even toast it a bit as well. You’ll need to know that the patty diameter won’t exactly match the oval-shaped bread but that’s OK – the gap leaves room for you to tuck a few of these delicious beer-battered onion rings in the space, because that’s exactly what I had to do. Had to. I love onion rings!

Melted Wisconsin Brick cheese, crunchy onion rings, savory meat, all fantastic when topped with a crunchy red cabbage slaw, which couldn’t be easier to make – I used vinegar, a pinch of salt and sugar, chopped green onions and purple cabbage, and let it sit for 30 minutes before topping my cheeseburger with it. It’s a fun contrast of textures and flavors and the mustard and vinegar-ness of it all made my mouth very happy.

I didn’t overload myself on onions but I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. I can only imagine how fantastic a cheeseburger could be when crispy beer-battered fried onions meet soft, silky beer-braised onions, right? I have a tiny bit of Wisconsin Brick cheese left; perhaps it’s time for Round No. 2 of The Milwaukee? I definitely think so.

Check out a video of Matt making the Milwaukee.

Matt says: For those in search of Wisconsin Brick cheese, check out EatWisconsinCheese.com to find your nearest Wisconsin Brick cheese supplier. Or you can use a good Wisconsin Cheddar or Colby in place of Wisconsin Brick.

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