In November 2007, Julia O’Malley of the Anchorage Daily News reported a “moose lit up like a Christmas tree in more ways than one.” Dubbed “Buzzwinkle,” the “glassy-eyed and dizzy” moose was spotted in the front yard of a downtown bar, tangled up in Christmas lights and completely wasted.
The four-legged, six-foot-tall, 60-inch-wide drunkard owed his daytime bender to Anchorage’s abundance of crabapple trees. The dropped wild fruit fermented, and happening upon it, Buzzwinkle overindulged and got himself smashed. This apple and cheddar-ale moose burger was inspired by this wild party animal.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 1 pound ground moose or venison
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
- 2 cups thinly sliced shallot
- 2 cups canola oil
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup milk, heated
- ½ cup ale
- 3 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons minced chives
- 4 brioche hamburger buns
- 1 to 2 tart apples
- Bunch of arugula
- An hour before cooking, take the ground meat out of the refrigerator to warm up on the countertop.
- To make crispy fried shallot, heat 2 cups of canola oil to 250 degrees and fry shallots until golden, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the shallots and drain. Increase oil temperature to 325 degrees, and fry shallots again until crispy. Do not look away – this will take a few seconds before the shallots will begin to burn. Remove the shallots immediately with a spider or by pouring everything through a colander. Drain and set aside. You can also find packaged fried shallots at Asian grocery stores.
- To make the beer-cheese sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and stir for 2 minutes. Then turn the heat down to low. Slowly add the warmed milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Then whisk in ale, cheddar, onion powder, mustard, and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.
- Core apple(s) and slice crosswise into ¼-inch rings; you should end up with at least 8 rings. Over medium heat, heat one tablespoon of butter in a large non-stick pan and fry apple slices until golden on both sides and softened. Remove apple slices and set aside.
- Divide the ground moose and form into 4 patties. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Over medium to medium-high heat, heat about 1 tablespoon of leftover shallot oil in the same pan you previously cooked the apple. When oil begins to shimmer, add patties, and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side for a medium-rare center. Remove patties and keep warm.
- Toast hamburger buns in the pan until golden around the edges. Assemble burgers by laying arugula on the bottom, then the moose patty, two fried apple slices, beer-cheese sauce, and fried shallots. Smear ketchup or mustard on the bun if desired. Use extra beer-cheese for dunking French fries or chips. Extra fried shallots can be stored in an airtight container.