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Sunday, March 11, 2007

the burger, revisited

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Has there ever been a food that is so ubiquitous, and yet so adulterated and destroyed as the lowly hamburger? While on one hand there are restaurants in the US that are trying to serve $40 burgers topped with shaved truffles (or made from ground tenderloin or something), it's far more usual to find craptastic "beef" fast food burgers that just really don't deserve the food moniker. Meh.

Ottawa is home to a chain that's been attempting to elevate the common patty to something a little more special - The Works. In theory, I love this idea, but in practice, my burger is ALWAYS underdone there (I know, true foodies like rare ground beef.....but I"m way too skeeves me)....and the burgers are just too big. And the buns aren't fresh enough. And to be perfectly honest, a 100% beef burger isn't actually as yummy as one that has a little seasoning.

But I can, however, take a lot of inspiration from their menu, as it features all sorts of crazy flavour combinations. It introduced me to the idea that there was more than the classic ketchup, mustard, relish, pickle type toppings.

MBR's ultimate burger patty
3 lbs lean ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 T montreal steak spice
1 t anchovy paste (secret ingredient!)
2 T bbq sauce
1 egg
1 t salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 t hot pepper flakes

1. Combine everything (it's gross, but it's best to use your works better!!!!!).

2. Make into 1/3 lb patties (I have a small squar-ish plastic container that I use to make them - comes out better and less likely to fall apart). Just under 1/3 lb seems to be a good size - 1/4 lb ends up too thin/small and 1/2 lb is just waaaaay too much meat. I don't really measure, but my container helps me keep the size consistent. I took some of the burgers and dipped them in cracked peppercorns. This was kickass.

3. Grill to desired doneness (I really can't tell you how long - hubs does the bbq'ing in our house! Try 5-6 minutes per side and check to see how cooked they are). I can only eat ground beef well done but if you like it otherwise, power to ya :)

bbq'd burgers

So once I had these burgers, I made two different kinds of burger, both of which kicked all kinds of butt. SOOOOO yummy. You must try them. You'll never put the k/m/r combo on a burger again. This is like a new level of food.

Bruschetta Burger
multi-grain bun
burger patty
slice gouda cheese
dijon mustard
bruschetta topping (chopped tomato, minced onion, minced garlic, fresh parsley, olive oil, pepper and sea salt)

bruschetta mix

And the burger....
bruschetta, provolone, and dijon on a burger

Caramelized Onion Horseradish Burger
caramelized onions (slow-sauté onions with butter and a bit of marsala for about 40 minutes)
caramelized onions


burger with horseradish, provolone, caramelized onions and mustard

So yeah....I don't really need to go to a gourmet burger place to get an awesome burger. These were better and MY buns were fresh. Yum. Make them now.

Thanks for reading!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

I've had a 100% beef burger, a tiny bit underdone, delicious though... it's because the best places don't use ground beef... they will grind up their own sirloin or similar beef instead. Mmmmm... I could use a burger. Gotta love the onions.

S. said...

I will definitely be trying your ultimate burger patty. Love the sound of the ingredients. Awesome photos, as always.

S. said...

What kind of onion did you use? I've used regular white/brown onions before in birger patties, but I was wondering if shallots would taste better?

Anonymous said...

Looks yummy! My brother goes to Carleton and The Works is always a restaurant on the menu when we visit. The first time I heard about it was when he told me of having a burger with macaroni and cheese on top...

Ferda said...

mmmmmmmmm we LOVE burgers! These look fantastic!

My favourite is the lamb burger at Stoneface Dolly's on Preston. It has caramelized red onions and goat cheese. I've reproduced this at home with beef and it's soooo good!

Anonymous said...

oooooh.... send me one?
BTW I always find the best burger at The Works is the one with sauteed mushrooms, avocado and brie on the portabella mushroom patty. You avoid the undercooked meat and get some hot mushroom grease dripping down your chin and staining your favourite white shirt... but you don't care because it's SO GOOD.

I need to come back to O-Town.

Anonymous said...

very similar recipe to mine.
I haven't tried the anchovy paste, what with the Worchestershire sauce and all, and I've used cracked mixed peppercorns and coarse salt in place of the ground pepper, mtl steak spice and red pepper flakes, but it seems like a similar flavour profile.

I make the burgs a little thinner than I want the finished patty, and about an inch bigger in diam than the buns, so when they contract on the grill, they end up thickening up and about the same size around as the bun....avoids the nasty mouthfuls of meatless bun before getting to the good stuff.

Stefanie, the shallots would probably be lost in the bold flavours. a Vidalia would probably hold up better.

Freya said...

I love all the options. I'd give all the toppings a go. In one bun.

Anonymous said...

I know a lot of the fastfood places are doing thsi now, but one of favorite burgers of all time is one with sauteed or grilled mushrooms and swiss cheese. Add some barbecue sauce and it is delicious.

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