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The Macho Burger: Ernest Hemingway’s burger recipe is as manly as it can get (aka heart attack burger)


We know that it’s neither surprising nor shocking at all to find an ultra-macho burger recipe by Hemingway, the surprise would be ” Hemingway’s Veggie Quinoa Salad Recipe.”

As every Hemingway fan would know, the writer liked his scotch with soda, his writing direct and apparently he liked his burger cooked in a really specific way.

Below is his recipe for the ultra manly burger on which the food writer Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan stumbled across recently.

Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, writer of the author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family and a huge Hemingway fan and found the recipe and tried it. She reported her experiences this week on the Paris Review Daily blog. “I had made burgers before, countless times on countless evenings,” Tan writes. “This one was different; I wasn’t making just any burger — I was attempting to recreate Hemingway’s hamburger. And it had to be just right.”

Check out Hem’s formula for a “macho burger.”


1 lb. ground lean beef

2 cloves, minced garlic

2 little green onions, finely chopped

1 heaping teaspoon, India relish

2 tablespoons, capers

1 heaping teaspoon, Spice Islands sage

Spice Islands Beau Monde Seasoning — 1/2 teaspoon

Spice Islands Mei Yen Powder — 1/2 teaspoon

1 egg, beaten in a cup with a fork

About 1/3 cup dry red or white wine

1 tablespoon cooking oil

What to do–

Break up the meat with a fork and scatter the garlic, onion and dry seasonings over it, then mix them into the meat with a fork or your fingers. Let the bowl of meat sit out of the icebox for ten or fifteen minutes while you set the table and make the salad. Add the relish, capers, everything else including wine and let the meat sit, quietly marinating, for another ten minutes if possible. Now make your fat, juicy patties with your hands. The patties should be an inch thick, and soft in texture but not runny. Have the oil in your frying pan hot but not smoking when you drop in the patties and then turn the heat down and fry the burgers about four minutes. Take the pan off the burner and turn the heat high again. Flip the burgers over, put the pan back on the hot fire, then after one minute, turn the heat down again and cook another three minutes. Both sides of the burgers should be crispy brown and the middle pink and juicy.