Lulu Caldwell is no stranger to sharing recipes in the Old_Recipes subreddit. Caldwell, who is cooking through the 1970 "Women's Day Collector's Cookbook" and sharing her journey on Instagram, had a viral hit on her hands when she shared the book's Red Dog Toast recipe to the group in November, but the very first recipe from the cookbook she posted to Reddit wasn't toast — it was a cheeseburger.
The "Sherriburger" recipe contained in the '70s cookbook was what inspired Caldwell's cooking journey. Recently, it's taken off on Reddit, with several old recipe enthusiasts making their own versions of the cheesy ground meat sandwiches and sharing photos of their creations.
Caldwell said that creating Sherriburgers, which are made of ground beef, relish and a sherry-cheese sauce poured over sandwich rolls, was a flavorful surprise.
"I really liked it," Caldwell told TODAY Food. "I thought it was very simple but very indulgent in a total 'guilty pleasure' way. (The sherry cheese sauce) is strange and unexpected, for sure, but when paired with the meat and bun it becomes something really fun and tasty."
Caldwell said she unintentionally caused a heated debate in the subreddit when she shared a photo of her take on the recipe: Some users believed the recipe called for hamburger patties, while others, including Caldwell, interpreted it as using crumbled ground beef.
"People thought I should have formed the meat into patties, but I stand by my decision not to," said Caldwell.
The home cook shared her reasoning in a comment on her Reddit post about the recipe.
"There is a very amusing and robust debate about whether these should have been shaped into patties or not," she wrote. "So here's my take: This cookbook seems to be fairly explicit about forming patties when they want you to, looking at the other recipes. In '60s and '70s cookbooks, often crumbled meat sandwiches would be referred to as 'burgers,' as in 'Sloppy Joe Burgers.' Because they left out that step, I just left it crumbled which made sense to me, because pouring the sauce over a patty would make it run everywhere."
When I tried making Sherriburgers in my own kitchen, I followed Caldwell's lead. After making the sherry-cheese sauce using a double boiler, I cooked my ground beef into crumbles and added salt, pepper and sweet relish. Served over potato rolls with a side of fries, the "burgers" looked sublime.
The flavorful cheese sauce made the meal, in my opinion. After I ate my burger, I went back for a few more fries and topped them with cheese sauce and ground beef.
"Sherri-FRIES," I declared.
My picky eater, 12, gobbled his cheeseburger down, not even noticing the relish mixed into the meat. And my husband proclaimed that he liked the sandwich better than sloppy Joes, saying he'd prefer we have Sherriburgers instead from now on.
That's big praise from someone who looks forward to sloppy Joe night.
When it comes to the unique sauce, Caldwell offered a tip.
"Word to the wise," she said, "if you taste the cheese sauce by itself after adding the sherry, it might give you pause — it did me! Wait until you pair it with the final product before making a judgement."
"I also think this cheesy take on a Sloppy Joe would be awesome with additional burger fixings like sliced tomato and/or onion, if you like them," she added. "And, sweet potato fries or a salad could make a nice side."