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Reuben-burger mashup does better than boiled beef

Gelatinous textured meat, boiled or braised, likely appeals more to me than to the average person.

But I’m skipping the classic corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. Simply put: There are so many better ways, in my mind, to eat corned beef. And if I wanted a boiled dinner, I’d choose a different meat.

It may be a mashup, but I’d prefer this Reuben-inspired burger, courtesy of Tribune News Service. And I have to believe my family would, too.

There’s no requirement to grill these when a cast-iron skillet will suffice for the burger patties. And 1/3 cup Thousand Island salad dressing can be substituted, if you don’t want to take the extra minute or two to stir together mayonnaise, ketchup and relish.

Cheesy Deli Burgers With Sauerkraut and Caramelized Onions

1 large (12 ounces) sweet onion, peeled

1 tablespoon expeller-pressed canola oil or sunflower oil

Large pinch sugar

2 pounds ground beef, preferably 85/15

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons each: ketchup, drained sweet (or dill) pickle relish

1 cup drained fresh or refrigerated sauerkraut, well rinsed, drained again

6 thin slices Jarlsberg or Swiss cheese, about 5 ounces total

6 ciabatta rolls or burger buns (split horizontally)

1/4 pound very thinly sliced corned beef (or pastrami or smoked turkey)

Cut the onion in half. Cut each half into very thin wedge slices. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil and onion slices. Cook and stir until onion is golden and tender, for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar; cook for 2 minutes more. Use warm or refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.

Evenly divide the ground beef into 6 portions. Use 2 small deli containers to press out 6 burgers by placing a portion of beef inside one and using second container to press meat into an evenly shaped round. Tap burger patty out onto a platter. Repeat. Season outsides with the salt and pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.

Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Heat grill grate.

In a small dish, mix the mayonnaise, ketchup and relish. Put rinsed, drained sauerkraut into a small bowl. Microwave, covered, on high until hot, for about 2 minutes. Reheat onions if necessary. Set everything out near grill.

Put burgers on grill directly over heat. Cover grill and cook without turning until bottom is nicely marked and golden, for about 5 minutes. Flip burgers and top with the corned beef. Grill covered, without turning, until nicely browned and medium-rare, for about 2 minutes more. Top with cheese slices and grill for 1 minute more. Remove from grill and let stand on a plate for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, toast cut sides of the buns over heat of grill.

Spread buns on both sides with mayonnaise mixture. Place burgers on bun bottoms. Top each with some onions and then sauerkraut. Put bun top in place. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

Tribune News Service photo