The preparation of a tasty burger is wildly personal. Have you ever noticed how many different burger restaurants exist? How many places claim their burger is the best? It could be the type of cow used, the way it was raised, the grain it was fed, the cut of meat, the amount of age on the beef before it was ground, the fat content, the spices and additives, and on, and on. It could also be the preparation style. Grill, Griddle, Cast Iron, Sous Vide, Torch, Open Fire, Charcoal, Hardwood Charcoal, Smoked.
Seriously, how many ways are there to skin this cat?!
In 2019 Our Barbecue Team was competing at the Indiana State Fair BBQ competition. The opening category was the “Hog Burger.” This was a pork patty prepared any way you wanted. Tying in the theme of the fair always garners extra points. The 2019 theme was dedicated to first responders so we opted to make what we called “The Boys In Blue Burger.” Said fast, it almost feels like a play on words given the burger. This was a blackened pork patty topped with a pile of things, among them being a small piece of blueberry cheese cake. It sounds crazy, but it worked and it won first place.
I’m not suggesting you do that. In-fact, I think the best burger is the exact opposite. The classic burger, when executed well, is the best burger. You can tell a lot about a burger joint based on their classic cheeseburger. Quite similar to how the red sauce (gravy) makes or breaks an Italian red sauce. So how do we do it? Here’s our preferred method for making the best dang burger:
We start with the beef (duh). We prefer our own beef patties from Indiana antibiotic and hormone free beef that is grass fed and grain finished. We grind in Old Major bacon and then patty them up. Season with sea salt on both sides. We prefer the burgers medium to medium rare. fire up your cast iron on the stove top. Hopefully you’re cooking on gas. Toss in a couple hunks of butter and let the pan get piping hot. Put your patty in and toss the splatter guard on. Cook for 60 seconds an then take the splatter guard off and then, using a spoon, start basting the burger with butter and fat in the pan. Peek under the patty to see if you have a nice char, if so, flip. Add your cheddar cheese (or American… yes. I said it.) Don’t let the burger get over 145 degrees. Use a temperature probe if you have to. Toast your brioche bun, then slather on Duke’s Mayonnaise, whole grain mustard, sweet and spicy pickles, fresh tomato, lettuce and onion.
Boom Goes The Dynamite.