Recipe: Vagabond's crab cake-topped McHenry burger

For Harford Magazine
Where can you get a burger topped with a crab cake? At this Bel Air restaurant.

When Ben Meyer opened the Vagabond Sandwich Company in Bel Air two years ago, he says he wanted to create an all-American restaurant with a “cool, funky, dinerlike” vibe. So he added one of America’s favorite foods to the menu — but with his own localized twist.

The McHenry burger, honoring Baltimore’s Fort McHenry and Meyer’s Maryland roots, is made with Angus beef, bacon, a crab cake, Old Bay-based spread and Meyer’s own mix of seasoned salt. It is one of six signature burgers served with house-made potato chips on Vagabond’s menu.

“Gotta represent the hometown,” says Meyer, an Abingdon resident and Bel Air High School graduate. While Vagabond also sells wraps, salads and sandwiches, the burgers are by far the most popular items, he says.

If making the McHenry or any burger at home, Meyer suggests keeping seasoning to a minimum.

“Simplicity is so much better,” he says. “And don’t overcook it or play with it too much.”

McHenry Burger
Makes one burger, with extra seasoned salt and remoulade for additional burgers

For the crab cake:
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Old Bay
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ tablespoon chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
½ pound lump crab meat
1 slice of white bread, crust cut off

For the seasoned salt:
1 ¼ cup salt
¼ cup sugar
6 teaspoons of cornstarch
3/8 cup celery salt
¼ cup paprika
6 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons of garlic powder
4 teaspoons of turmeric
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

For the Old Bay remoulade:
2 cups of mayonnaise
¼ cup yellow mustard
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1/8 cup horseradish
Old Bay to taste

For the burger:
Brioche bun
Butter for spreading
8-ounce Angus beef patty
2 slices cheddar cheese
2 slices applewood smoked bacon
Piece of green lettuce
2 slices of tomato
Old Bay for sprinkling

To make the crab cake:

  1. Combine all crab cake ingredients except the lump crab meat and bread in a bowl.
  2. Add in crab meat and bread, shaping the mix into a round crab cake. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. Fry the crab cake in a pan until cooked through.

To make the seasoned salt and Old Bay remoulade:
Combine each group of ingredients before preparing the burger.

To make the burger:

  1. Slice and butter the brioche bun, then toast it on the grill or griddle.
  2. Season the beef patty with seasoned salt, then smash it down to about ¾ inch. Place it on the grill or griddle, let it cook and then flip halfway through. Season again.
  3. Once the burger is close to done, place the fried crab cake on top.
  4. Place cheddar cheese on top of the crab cake, then put a lid over the burger and crab cake combination to melt the cheese.
  5. Take the toasted bun off the grill/griddle.
  6. Place applewood bacon on bottom half of bun. Add lettuce and then tomato slices on top of the bacon.
  7. Take the burger combo off the grill or griddle and add it on top of the tomato.
  8. Sprinkle a dash of Old Bay on top of the cheese. On the other half of the bun, spread Old Bay remoulade on the inside. Put it all together.
  9. Keep the extra seasoned salt and remoulade on hand for additional burgers.

 

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