The Burger Lab's Toppings Week 2013: Grilled Cuban Fritas (Spiced Burgers with Shoestring Fries)
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The first time I had a frita—the frita is a classic regional American burger created by Cuban immigrants in South Florida—was at El Rey de las Fritas in Miami. There, the burgers are made with a combination of beef and pork, cooked thin, griddled, and well done, placed on a bun covered in spiced ketchup, and topped with a handful of crisp shoestring fries.
It's a great sandwich, to be sure, but I'm the kind of guy who likes cooking outdoors in the summer, and for the grill, those thin patties just end up drying out and the ketchup-based sauce doesn't add back enough fat to combat the problem.
So this version starts with a slightly larger patty—same beef and pork blend, same basic seasoning (a mix of garlic, paprika, and cumin)—grilled and served with a creamier sauce and few more vegetables. The crisp shoestring potatoes that are the hallmark of a traditional frita remains the same.
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About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.