A rare steamed cheeseburger!

The steamed cheeseburger is a Connecticut specialty. But you can’t get one rare at a restaurant. Having grown up in a restaurant that made them, I know this all too well. The good news is, you can make a killer, screamin’ rare steamed cheeseburger at home–so good, you’ll never want to order one out again. Members of the mooing meat club–this one’s for you!

Let’s start with some magic numbers: 80, 20, 5 and 14! Pick up some fresh 80/20 ground chuck. In central Connecticut, my chuck of choice can be found at West Side Market in Rocky Hill. 14 is the number of minutes it takes to cook a 5 oz. burger perfectly rare.

April Katt always wants to know what's cookin'!

I use a double-decker steamer basket to make a little sauna for the burgers and cheddar. Grab a pasta pot wide enough to place your bamboo steamer on top. Fill the pot about a third of the way up with water.

Measuring meat...and yes, that's a tail!

As you bring the water to a boil, grab four small ramekins. My heart-shaped dishes are 1.5 inches deep and 4.5 inches across at the widest point. I use creme brulee ramekins for the cheese. Gently press the meat into each ramekin.

Burger and cheese, pre-sauna

I like to “frost” each burger with sriracha-spiked ketchup and some freshly ground pepper for good measure. I’ve also made steamers topped with coarse ground mustard. Neither is traditional, but I enjoy this little twist on flavoring the meat before cooking.

Frosted and ready!

Next, grab separate ramekins and slice in chunks of your favorite cheddar. McAdam or Hoffman Sharp are traditional. Cabot Seriously Sharp is another fine contender as it melts creamier than the McAdam. Now it’s time for the sauna!

Set the basket on top of your boiling pot and set your timer for 14 minutes to let the burgers steam and the cheese melt.

14 minutes to perfection!

Meantime, get your toast ready. You’ll want a nice, crispy toast. Pain au levain from Whole Foods provides the perfect platform for one of the juiciest burgers you’ll ever have. English toasting bread from West Side is another nice choice.Β Some of my favorite cole slaw (also from West Side) was at the ready to complete the meal.

Once the timer goes off, simply lift the burger from the ramekin. It will have cooked away from the sides.


Place the burger on your toast, pour the melted cheese over the top et voilΓ –it’s time to eat! The best part is cutting into the burger and realizing you have reached rare cheeseburger nirvana.

This burger's rarin' to go!

Special thanks to my friend Alan, who kindly shipped me the scale pictured. As you can see, it’s getting lots of use in Katty’s Kitchen!