In this article I will show you how to cook the Cracker Barrel hamburger steak recipe at home in just a few minutes.
Cracker Barrel captures the picturesque warmth of the Southern countryside with its stores and restaurants. This American chain restaurant was founded in 1969 by opening its first store in Tennessee. Their menus encapsulate a slice of hearty Southern cuisine, serving traditional comfort food and giving us serious nostalgia.
The regular Cracker Barrel customers go nuts for their delicious green beans, amazing country-fried steak, and mouthwatering chicken tenders. You can find your favorite decadent or simple country breakfast here as well; they serve authentic biscuits, heavy butter, easy eggs, and sugar-cured ham.
We all love these meals because they radiate hospitality and warmth. Hamburger steaks are a specialty in Southern cuisine and are well worth the hassle of preparation. A lot of love goes into them!
What is the Cracker Barrel Hamburger Steak?
Although Cracker Barrel is famous for its meaty meals, a hamburger steak might sound confusing to some. After all, how is it different from the basic patty in a burger? The bad news is that there is no one commonly accepted explanation. But hamburger steaks are definitely a southern thing.
Typically, burger steak patties are served on top of mashed potatoes and sautéed with onions or mushrooms rather than in a bun. They are seasoned with salt, pepper, and, in some cases, smoked paprika to give them a darker color and a smoky flavor.
Some cook them in the oven similarly to meatloaf, but Cracker Barrel hamburger steaks are cooked in an iron skillet.
Ingredients for this recipe
This dish is fantastic since it uses things that you most likely already have in your cupboard. These plain ingredients will give you a very family-friendly, cheap, juicy, hearty meal that is easy to pair with any side dish. You can use up any leftover ground meat as well.
A Cracker Barrel hamburger steak is somewhere between a patty and a steak.
They are made from various meats, including chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and buffalo.
High-quality beef like Angus is used to make the real deal, a restaurant-quality hamburger steak.
Get some seasonings like pepper, salt, garlic, onion, coriander, nutmeg, and Worcestershire sauce, and mix them well with some eggs and a very small amount of breadcrumbs and the ground meat. Pan-sear the steak-patties in lots and lots of butter.
Cracker Barrel Hamburger Steak Recipe
- 2 pounds Ground meat
- 2 Eggs
- 1/3 cup Breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Nutmeg (ground)
- 2 teaspoons Sea salt
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- ½ teaspoon Coriander, ground
- 10 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 1 cup Pre-made gravy
- In a bowl, combine all the ingredients; ground meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, ground nutmeg, sea salt, garlic, onion powder, and ground coriander.
- Mix the ingredients with your hands. Try to form an even, fine texture without big lumps.
- Let the ingredients sit in the fridge for an hour. This lets the flavors mix well, and the meat becomes sturdier. The resting time helps the meat not fall apart when seared.
- Separate the mix into 4 equal parts. Form thick and firm patties with your hands.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet with the butter on high heat, and transfer the patties into the searing hot butter.
- Turn down the heat to medium, and sear the hamburger steaks in the preheated butter for approximately 4-5 minutes per side until they are brown.
- Plate the hamburger steaks and pour some spoonfuls of gravy over them. Serve them with mashed potatoes, oven-baked sweet potatoes, glazed carrots, or green beans.
What is the best type of steak for this recipe?
There are some varieties of this recipe in Southern gastronomy. The variety is such that you can find many different recipes, from chicken to buffalo.
You can make a hamburger steak from:
- Buffalo, and some more.
The traditional burger steak is a fusion of steak and burger patty, using the best of each dish. The breadcrumbs and eggs help to add fluffy creaminess, but just a smaller amount, not as much as in a hamburger patty.
Burger steak is still very much plain ground meat, deeply flavored with seasoning.
Lean meats are best to use, such as buffalo or high-quality beef like Angus. Both of them have a unique taste and a moist texture. The overall experience will be entirely different with quality ground meat.
Gravy is also a staple for this meal, so don’t skip it! To keep calories under control, use a cooking spray instead of butter.
Can I replace some ingredient?
Fortunately, this Southern meal is often made in a variety of ways. Good news for finicky people! After making this recipe a few times, you might want to try other varieties of this traditional meal, so let us give you some ideas.
Blend some fresh mushrooms, onions, and garlic in a food processor and mix them with the other ingredients in the recipe. After letting them rest for an hour in the fridge, slightly squeeze any extra moisture from the patty mix due to the added fresh veggies. Proceed to sear them up in hot butter.
Forget Worcestershire sauce; instead, use some soy sauce and half the salt in the recipe. Smoked paprika adds depth of flavor and deeper color to the hamburger steak.
Instead of butter, sauté them in red wine for a more robust flavor that pairs well with beef or buffalo. In this scenario, add a few tablespoons of melted butter to the batter.
Tips and tricks to improve this recipe
The best tip for any recipe ever is to balance out the flavors; sweet, sour, umami, salty, and some bitter elements. There are some tricks to doing this in every recipe.
You can add a twist to hamburger steaks by squeezing some lime juice into the mix and glazing the steak patties on rum or sherry. The taste will be unforgettable!
Freshly chopped herbs and freshly ground seasonings make a big difference in a good recipe.
Vinegar is an aromatic, tangy ingredient, and adding a few small drops can bring out earthy undertones in meat. However, avoid adding red wine vinegar to gravy because it will ruin the taste horribly.
Going to a friendly, scenic restaurant for a warm meal and listening to the chit-chat of other people can be such a lovely experience, especially with friends and family.
However, some days you want the intimacy of your home, with the all-so-familiar restaurant dishes. You can do so by recreating this Cracker Barrel hamburger steak in your home and leaving the restaurant experience for when you’re on the road.
You can enjoy this meal with a side of green beans, baked sweet potatoes, french fries, corn muffins, mashed potatoes, salads, dumplings, or a sweet potato casserole. Chances are, you will crave some sweet tea or lemonade as well!