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Sunday, July 10, 2016

San Antonio bean burgers....NOT vegetarian!


The bean burger is a culinary icon nearly unknown outside of San Antonio, where I was born and raised.   I was first introduced to the deliciousness that is a bean burger at "Ringo's" which was a hamburger stand across the street from my middle school.  The original version was a meat patty topped with diced onions, crushed Fritos, refried beans and Cheese Wiz.  This was in the heyday of processed foods, so Cheese Wiz was very cool.  I pined for a bean burger for decades, not really remembering what was in them from my 7th grade memory.  The owner's daughter, Ginger, had been in my class and I once thought of trying to find her to ask the ingredients!  (This was way before the computer age and was impossible to do;)  After living in Dallas for several years a restaurant opened there that had originated in San Antonio called EZ's.  I still remember my excitement of seeing a BEAN BURGER on the menu that wasn't vegetarian!  The Ez's burger is a grilled to order meat patty, cheddar, housemade black beans, Fritos, onions, picante sauce and guacamole.  We would go probably once a week for years until they closed in Dallas :(  
Craving them here in New Hampshire I started making them and they are divine!!



This is my version of the bean burger:

-grilled beef pattys  I use organic beef, generous salt & pepper, and the yolk of one egg to bind.
-use larger kaiser buns as a regular bun doesn't hold up well to all the ingredients, and ALWAYS toast the buns!
-cheddar cheese added to the final couple of minutes on the grill
-warm refried beans  I will make my own, or use Rosarita nonfat refried beans (which I usually doctor up with a bit of cumin, chili powder and a pinch of kosher salt.)
-diced raw onions
-homemade guacamole  For an easy, quick quac simply mash avocados and several tablespoons of your favorite picante sauce.  For those in the area my personal favorite picante is Hannaford's store brand in "Hot!"
-crushed Fritos  I use the original, but Trader Joe's has a version of corn chips. 
-ketchup/Tabasco mixture If you like hot and you've never tried mixing ketchup and Tabasco- DO!!! It is wonderful on hamburgers, fries, onion rings, Fritos, omelets, etc. etc...!)  If you don't like things as hot, simply add picante instead of the ketchup/Tabasco mix.  I'm just a ketchup kind of girl and love me some Tabasco!

You will want to mise en place all your ingredients because, while it is a simple burger, there is a lot of assembly involved and you want everything to be warm when served.  Serve the bean burgers with fries (I like Trader Joe's frozen fries) or onion rings or chips, and you'll be very happy!!! :)
*I also suggest when assembling that you put the guacamole on one bun, the beans on another then add the onions to one and Fritos to the other, and then the other ingredients.  This helps the onions and Fritos from falling out when you pick up the burger :)
*They are messy (the best kind of burgers;) so I always serve them with a fork.
*I gave this recipe to the esthetician who does my facials and she and her husband loved them so much she made them for her guests at a Fourth of July party!   

While I realize the ingredients might be a little unusual to you this is my hands down favorite hamburger IN THE WORLD, and I promise you will not be disappointed!!!  :)



 Ringo's was across the street from my middle school, Nimitz in San Antonio.  Ringo's is long gone, so finding this photo on Pinterest brought back lots of fun memories!





28 comments:

  1. I will take your word for it that these are delicious! Isn't it funny how the tastes from childhood stay with us in taste-bud memory? I have never been able to replicate a real Philly Cheese Steak as made in any of the taverns along the Main Line. I wish!

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    1. Have you googled it or looked on Pinterest? You never know what you might find!!!

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  2. Thanks for sharing. It is always good to hear from you.

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  3. Our family LOVES burgers. Wednesday nights is burger night where we try new recipes each week. This sounds like a winner and thanks for sharing. So glad you were able to recreate them in New Hampshire. I love your blog (and your home!).

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  4. My husband and I were just saying, now that we've been in NH since Memorial Day, we had a craving for some Tex-Mex! This looks yummy. Also...I have a hard enough time finding someone to dye and cut hair...where do you get facials...because pictures don't lie, your skin is gorgeous!!
    Holly, up Rt 31 in Washington!

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    1. hi Holly, Thank you:) It would be a bit of a drive for you, but email me and I'll give you her name!
      fortheloveofahouse@comcast.net

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  5. Dear Joan,
    It is VERY hot today in San Antonio...you would want your bean burger with a cold beer! There are only two EZ's left in the franchise - one on N. New Braunfels in Sunset Ridge (original location) and the one at Bitters & Hwy 281. Your photograph was perfect and your description spot on! (You can get the bean burger on a sturdy whole wheat bun here.) Glad to know that you have all the ingredients for a bean burger in New Hampshire... please do a rain dance for us in Bexar County as the grass is starting to get crisp! Best to you, Dan & the girls! Carol

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    1. hi Carol, I'm thinking I might want TWO beers:) and onion rings. EZ's had THE best onion rings.... sigh. I'll do a rain dance for you;) We've had a super dry summer- everything is so crispy. It finally rained all day yesterday and is raining today. So happy to see it. Hope you get some soon.

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  6. My husband has talked about this burger for years! He went to Nimintz. Went to middle school around the mid seventies. Small world. I saw this in my feed and am glad to get a recipe for his beloved bean burger!

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    1. omgosh Vickie! Such a small world!! Be sure to show him this photo;) I was at Lee H.S. by the mid 70's.

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  7. This looks yummy!! I want to come sit in your beautiful house and eat one!! LOL

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  8. Great to hear from former San Antonians! There are a few great stories about Bean Burgers that originated in San Anotnio. Many can be found through Google.
    AN acquaintance of mine, Cappy Lawton, built a place on N Main Ave in San Anotnio in the mid 1970's named the Quarter House. It was pool tables, pin ball, and lots of other machines that accepted quarters. Among other things he served very cold draft beer and bean burgers. Cappy said that after school, Alamo Heights HS, he and his friends would go to an "ice house" on Broadway(about three blocks) and drink sodas and have bean burgers made by the originator. There is some dispute as to who that was.
    Cappy has started several restaurant chains.
    One through his company, 1776, Inc was EZ's.
    Happy Eating !!! By John Owens

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    1. hi John, Thank you for your comment! I remember using the term "ice house" growing up! We would walk to the ice house to get candy which was basically a 7-11 type store. Yes, from my research on bean burgers there seems to be a bit of a dispute over who originated it in SA. Frank Stills is credited on some sites and Felix Stehling also. Very cool that you know Cappy.

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  9. much older sister susanJuly 10, 2016 at 8:38 PM

    I never had the bean burger. I didn't have the money, even thought they were 15 cents back in my day. I'm glad that you got to have them though.

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  10. much older sister susanJuly 10, 2016 at 8:44 PM

    P.S. If you were in this part of Texas you would have to have your bean burger on an HEB onion roll! Too Good to even explain AND the HEB frozen prepared hamburger patties that are 'flame grilled' are the BEST. I do not like prepared meat BUT these are fabulous!!!!!

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  11. I think NC got all the rain this season. We are wet and humid every day lately. This burger looks delish and I will be trying it on my daughter and son in law. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Love to the girls and Dan. Dianne

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  12. HI Joan...my husband loves these kinds of recipes, burgers, messier the better, fries, etc. We'll have to attempt to make it. My daughter just moved to Houston, so we're looking forward to enjoying TexMex and new foods when we visit. Hard to find it here in New England. Finally rained all weekend here in VT also. Bev

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  13. Joan,
    This sounds ideal for a summer BBQ with family. Thanks for the recipe. I wanted to mention, since you enjoy spicy, Heinz ketchup now has a Jalapeno ketchup that is delicious.
    What a fun and delicious trip down memory lane!
    Karen

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  14. Hi Joan, You actually just gave me great idea....having a burger night once every two weeks. That way I can try a different idea each time and not feel bad about it. This recipe really intrigues me because I LOVE fritos as well as refried beans! Once I try your recipe and great tips I will let you know. Love you and your blog!!!
    Hope your 'crunchy' lawn thrived in the rain we have received over the last few chilly days :)
    Fondly,
    -Lisa

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  15. I know that burger! The concession stand at the horse shows I rode in as a girl offered their take on it, and I still remember them as the best burger I ever had (or was it the one on Town Lake in Austin - so much good food!). We make a somewhat less nutritionally bankrupt version of them at home now, and have a salad or deviled eggs before hand instead of splurging on the fries, but it is still so good - and if I really stop to think about it, the original probably wasn't so horrifying as all that considering it was 100F Texas heat we were exercising in, and that it was usually our only meal of the day. Thanks for the walk down memory lane - I think - now I'm hungry.

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  16. I am a San Antonian - been here 25 years. Chris Madrid's has awesome bean burgers. Did you ever go there?

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  17. ...oh my!...these...muffalatas...and heaven too...blessings...laney

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  18. I have not really had much experience (0) eating a bean burger but this sounds delicious and I will try it. We live in North Texas but I was born in SA and now my daughter lives there so we go often. Someone mentioned the HEB stores....I would love to have one in our area but so far they are pretty much South Texas. Love your blog and the fact that you live in New England. We go to Finger Lakes area of New York every summer and we will be heading out in a couple of weeks. Always like to sneak a "side trip" through New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine....which we do occasionally. Great times!


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