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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Minimalist is as minimalist does, and Mark Bittman certainly ruffled some feathers at AHT headquarters with yesterday's New York Times column on sausage burgers.

The thing is, none of us really have any problem with the concept of putting a sausage-like patty on a bun, and all of his recipes certainly look delicious. But to call a patty in which you are required to both grind your own meat and add a whole bunch of stuff to it minimalist? Please! That's about as maximalist as you can get.

How's this for a much simpler, truly minimalist sausage-burger?

1. Buy some good quality store-made sausages and remove the casings.
2. Shape the meat into burger-shaped patties and cook them.
3. Put the patties on burger buns with some simple, but carefully selected toppings.

The beauty is that unlike a regular sausage roll, which is hard to top (and forget about well-melted cheese), sausage-burgers are custom made for toppings.

Here are two quick suggestions:

The Brat-Burger

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Bratwurst burger with sauerkraut, sliced red onions, melted gruyère, and whole-grain mustard on a poppy seed roll. Eat hot with plenty of beer.

Il Burgorino

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Sweet Italian sausage with melted fontina, roasted red pepper, and arugula on a sesame seed bun.

Those are the most commonly available types of sausage around the country, but please experiment with your locally made raw sausages and report on any good ideas you come up with! These two came together this morning from start to finish including shopping time, prep, and cooking in about 30 minutes. Couldn't be easier, they cost a couple bucks apiece at most, and the maintenance team in my building was very grateful for a hot lunch.

About the author: After graduating from MIT, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt spent many years as a chef, recipe developer, writer, and editor in Boston. He now lives in New York with his wife, where he runs a private chef business, KA Cuisine, and co-writes the blog GoodEater.org about sustainable food enjoyment.

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