The San Antonio Bean Burger is an iconic Tex-Mex recipe that is made with a beef patty and topped with diced onions, crushed Fritos corn chips, refried beans, and cheese. This is NOT a veggie burger, it is 100% beef.
Although there are several theories about its origin and inventor, a man named Frank Sills is synonymous with the burger as he was the owner of the original Sills Snack Shack, where this burger was originally served.
Today, there are numerous restaurants in San Antonio and the surrounding area that serve different versions of the bean burger with added crushed tostada chips, melted cheddar, or pico de gallo.
The original recipe served by Sills Snack Shack uses Cheez Whiz (processed cheese sauce or spread). If you want to go with that version do not melt a cheese slice on the grill, wait until you assemble the burger to put the Cheez Whiz on. Some people also like to put a sliced avocado on the burger.
San Antonio Bean Burgers are a little tricky to eat. The beans on top of a thick beef patty are refried. That means they are squishy and may “drip” when you take a bite. The Fritos sprinkled on top require a fairly large mouth to get a taste of everything in one go.
San Antonio Bean Burger
To Make the Burgers
- 3 lbs ground beef or ground chuck 80% lean 20% fat
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 8 slices cheese
To Make the Sandwich
- 8 hamburger buns
- 15 1/2 oz refried beans heated
- 1/4 cup jalapeños sliced
- 10 1/2 oz corn chips
- iceberg lettuce shredded
- 1 tomato sliced
- 1 onion sliced
Cook the Burgers
- Preheat the grill to 375 degrees F (medium-high).
- In a large bowl, add the beef. Sprinkle evenly with the Worcestershire sauce, seasoning salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until they are just combined.
- Divide the meat mixture into eight equal portions. Press each portion into the shape of a hamburger patty that is about 3/4 inch thick. Make an indention in the middle of the patty to prevent bulging in the center of the hamburger as it cooks.
- Place the burgers on the grill. Cook 4-5 minutes on the first side. Flip the burgers over and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, until the burgers have reached the desired doneness.*
- Add a slice of cheese just before the burger is done to melt.
Assemble the Sandwich
- Meanwhile, arrange bottom of hamburger buns on tray and spread 3 tablespoons of heated refried beans on each bun.
- Top the bean layer with the cooked beef patty.
- Sprinkle top of burger with a few slices of jalapeños, corn chips, lettuce, tomato, onion, and bun.
History of Tex-Mex Cuisine
Tex-Mex was first used as an abbreviated name for the Texas Mexican Railway that began operating in South Texas in 1877. The term was later used by some to describe Tejanos, and later still, the term spread to Tejano cuisine.
Today, Tex-Mex can be found around the world. Some Tex-Mex dishes still parade under the guise of Mexican food, but there are tell-tale differences that distinguish the two. If it has black beans instead of pinto beans, it’s Tex-Mex. Mexican burritos are small with few ingredients, as opposed to the giant, jam-packed burritos you create at Chipotle.
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