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!