This Wagyu beef burger boasts the unmistakable buttery sweetness of tender Wagyu beef which is complemented by the robust flavor of red wine caramelized onions. This ultimate burger is finished off with the salty taste of melted aged white cheddar, and a smear of creamy roasted garlic aioli.
I'm not going to beat around the bush. This was the best burger I have ever had. Period. And I have spent a LOT of time perfecting homemade burgers. If you are looking to craft an incredible burger for a special occasion, this gourmet Wagyu burger recipe is it.
I'd like to think I know a thing or two about making burgers. I once made burgers every day for 6 months straight in an effort to perfect the art of gourmet burgers. I thought I tried everything: corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef, store-ground beef, grinding it myself... but using Wagyu beef brings gourmet burgers to a whole new level!
The tender patty melted in my mouth as a remarkable buttery sweetness quickly coated my taste buds. I was so excited to make this burger I even made a special trip to a local restaurant to ask if I could purchase a couple of their amazing Brioche buns. Despite their puzzled expressions, they were happy to oblige. I was pulling all the stops for these Wagyu beef burgers!
What is Wagyu Beef?
Wagyu beef comes from Wagyu cattle, which is a Japanese breed. The beef from Wagyu cattle is prized for its extreme marbling which greatly enhances its tenderness and flavor. These cattle are raised in low-stress environments which help prevent the development of tough meat. The high cost of the cattle, and the additional time investment needed to raise them makes this one of the most expensive meats you can purchase.
Ingredients You Will Need
- Brioche buns - This is NOT the recipe to skimp and use cheap burger buns, you want a high-quality brioche bun to complement the sweetness of the beef.
- Wagyu beef - I used American Wagyu beef, but whatever Wagyu beef you can get your hands on will make an epic burger. I recommend purchasing extra so you can make my Wagyu beef meatballs too!
- Seasonings - Salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- Aged White Cheddar
Red Wine Caramelized Onions
- Sweet onion
- Cooking oil
- Red wine - Red wine vinegar can also be used.
Roasted Garlic Aioli
- Garlic cloves
Wagyu Burger Toppings
I chose to top these juicy burgers with the sweetness of caramelized onions, which are further enhanced with a splash of red wine. This flavor combination provides a great contrast to the aged Cheddar and the deep-roasted flavor of the Garlic aioli.
Properly caramelized onions take a long time to saute, longer than sautéed onions. There is no shortcut to this, but your efforts will be rewarded. Take your time to gently coax all of the sugar out, and review my write-up on how to caramelized onions for more in-depth tips and tricks.
The roasted garlic aioli is pretty straightforward to create. The garlic cloves are roasted in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until they are soft to the touch. This is when their flavor really sings! Then they are minced and combined with the mayonnaise in a small bowl. This should be done while the onions are caramelizing.
Tip: It is important to prepare your caramelized onions and garlic aioli prior to making your burgers due to the time required to make them.
Tips for Cooking Wagyu Burgers
When making mouthwatering Wagyu burgers, only work the patty as much as necessary to shape it and have it hold together while cooking. This is a good tip for making any regular homemade burger patty too. Overworking the ground meat will cause it to compact and get tough when cooked.
Next, do not overcook the meat! This means, don't go beyond a medium-rare burger with an internal temperature of 135 degrees, in my opinion. If you like your beef well done, there is no point in spending the money on this premium quality beef, the exceptional flavor nuances will be long cooked out before it ever reaches your mouth.
You want to sear these over medium-high heat to ensure your patties developed a nice crust, without overcooking the interior. I add butter to the skillet to aid in crust formation.
Finally, simple is best. The purpose of buying Wagyu beef is to enjoy the exceptional beef flavor that is unique to this breed. Don't drown it out in a circus of flavors, toppings, seasonings, and condiments.
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Wagyu Beef Burger with Caramelized Onions
- 3 Brioche buns
- 1 pound ground Wagyu beef
- fresh ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 3 slices Aged White Cheddar
Red Wine Caramelized Onions
- 1 large sweet onion
- ½ tablespoon butter
- ½ tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine
Roasted Garlic Aioli
- 4 cloves garlic
- ⅓ cup Mayo
Wagyu Beef Burger
- Spread butter onto the inside of the top and bottom bun slice and lightly toast, butter side down, in 12" skillet on medium heat until the cut side of the bun develops a crispy, toasted, exterior. Turn off the heat once done.
- Divide 1 lb of beef into three equal sections and form into round patties, being careful not to over work the meat, yet pressing firmly enough for the meat to hold together. Press an indentation into the center of each patty to prevent it from puffing excessively during cooking.
- Season each side of the patty liberally with salt and pepper.
- Add enough butter to coat the bottom of a cast-iron skillet heated to medium high and gently place in the patties once it has melted. Work in batches if necessary.
- Once in the pan, do not move the patties, or press/squish the meat. Moving the patties unnecessarily will prevent a good sear from forming and pressing the meat is a deadly sin that causes delicious juices to escape.
- After ~2 minutes of cooking, flip each patty and add a slice of cheese to the top of the patty while the burger finishes cooking.
- Remove from the skillet while burgers are rare, or medium rare (~125 degrees). Overcooking Wagyu beef will cook out all of the flavorful goodness that makes Wagyu a premium product.
- Place patty on toasted bun slathered with roasted garlic aioli, and topped with caramelized onions.
Red Wine Caramelized Onions (Prepare in advance)
- Slice ends off of onions, cut in half and then cut into ⅛" strips.
- Add butter and oil into saute pan and heat to medium low.
- Add onions and salt to taste.
- Cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until onions are brown and sticky. Don't raise the heat to rush the process or the flavors won't develop.
- When onions are caramelized deglaze the pan with red wine and stir liquid into onions.
- Remove onions from pan and set aside, keeping warm.
Roasted Garlic Aioli (Prepare while onions caramelize)
- Roast garlic cloves in oven pre-heated to 375 for 30 minutes, or until cloves are soft to the touch. Check regularly to ensure they do not overcook.
- Smash the cloves into a paste and mince with knife to ensure they are fully separated.
- Mix with mayo and set aside.
This recipe was originally published November 13, 2015, on FoxValleyFoodie.com.