Now I know I just went off about burgers for an uncomfortable amount of time, and my Animal-Style Burger recipe is still being revered for its glory and legendaryness (my blog, my grammar, get over it). But there are certain events that have led me to this particular piece of gloating, and for that you can thank Dr. Fox.
Dr. Fox is one of those really annoying smart people who does freaky genius things like designing algorithms for fun (thanks, Google, for telling me how to spell that), completes PhDs in half the time, and goes all Beautiful Mind on you and the organization of your fridge/bar/house when he’s bored. He also blurts things out like “I’ve killed and dissected at least 10,000 frogs!” in front of your mother after a couple beers and loves Lil Wayne so much he should probably be his publicist. He’s a mad scientist, emphasis on the mad, if mad scientists looked like underwear models who lived in gyms. Frustrating, right? He eats with the appetite of a bear about to go into hibernation, lets my dog kiss him on the mouth, and did I mention he has a race car driving license? Suffice it to say I’m rather bewitched with this one.
At some point in the last couple of months, Dr. Fox became aware of my kitchen prowess and decided it was time to knock me down a few pegs and challenge me to a Cheeseburger-Off. And then, because this duel was declared after a few too many cocktails, kinda forgot about it. But I didn’t, because I’m a competitive psycho bitch who likes and, lets be honest, needs to win when challenged. So we Cheeseburger-Off’d, and had the cast of equally psychotic regulars over to judge (you met some of them here). Although I would love nothing more than to declare IN CAPITALS that I won by a landslide, it was one measly vote that tipped me over to the winner’s circle, and I was told it was only because of “bro code”, meaning one of my own male friends decided to side with Fox but yet was too dumb to realize the burger he was voting for was actually mine. Worse than this limping, half-assed victory? I have to admit that Dr. Fox’s burger was, in my now humbled opinion, better than mine. It was less gourmet, of course. More of a saucy backwoods diner meets a Big Mac rather than my bistro-style, don’t-fuck-with-me masterpiece. But it was the perfect ratio of bun to cheesy goodness to sauce and I dare say I silently swooned. Am I biased because Dr. Fox makes me swoon on an hourly basis? Maybe. But I’ll let you be the judge of that. Below are our recipes which make 8 burgers each, as well as word-for-honest-to-god-word notes from our peanut gallery of drunken burger experts (of course there was wine). Each burger was wrapped in foil and labeled A (mine) and B (loser’s), and both were tasted without bias, I swear:
BURGER A: THE JBS BURGER
3 lbs extra lean ground beef
1/4 pound thick-cut pancetta, diced
2 large yellow onions, sliced
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 head butter lettuce
8 slices of good quality aged cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup relish
1 tbsp hot sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
a few squirts of regular French’s mustard
sweet pickles for garnish
8 soft portuguese rolls
salt and pepper
Start caramelizing your onions. Heat a large frying pan over medium0-low heat with the butter and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Sautee the onion for about 30 minutes under a lid or a piece of foil if your frying pan doesn’t have a lid. Stir occasionally until they’re golden and softened. Keep warm over low heat.
One the onions are going, fry the pancetta until crisp and drain on a paper towel. Mix the pancetta with the ground beef and form into eight patties, making a dent with your thumb in the center of each patty. This makes them stay even and not swell up into hockey pucks once you start cooking them. Seal them in plastic wrap and refrigerate them until the onions are about ten minutes away from being done.
Preheat the oven to 425. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a table spoon of olive oil. Oven roast them for twenty minutes until they’re softened and starting to brown.
Make your sauce. Mix the mayo, relish, ketchup, hot sauce, and a little salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
Lower the heat of the oven to 200. Wrap your rolls in foil and throw them in the oven to start warming them.
Heat a big skillet over high heat and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season the burger patties with a generous amount of salt and pepper on each side. Cook the patties for 7 minutes, squirt with a generous squiggle of mustard, and then flip them over and cook another 6 minutes on the other side. Put the cheese on top and cover the pan with foil to melt the cheese.
Assemble your masterpiece. Coat each side of the burger bun with sauce. Place a patty on the bun, top with caramelized onions, a couple slices of roasted tomato, some sweet pickles, and a leaf of butter lettuce. What, son?
BURGER B: THE FOX BURGER*
*I would like to point out for the record that this egomaniac actually labeled his recipe “The Burger King”. I’ve created a monster.
*I would also like to point out that for a man who wrote a dissertation, this recipe was a total mess and I’ve explained it below as best I could.
3 lbs extra lean ground beef
a few shakes of dried onion powder
1 strip of bacon, finely chopped
10 slices of medium cheddar cheese <as opposed to extra small or large, I guess? I think he means medium-aged.>
1/2 cup mayo
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp relish
1 tbsp white vinegar
half a white onion, very finely diced
few squirts of ketchup
one sliced tomato
8 poor man’s buns <he used Wonder bread buns. I saw it. With my eyes.>
Iceburge lettuce, shredded
salt and pepper
Mix beef with the egg, onion powder, bacon, and some salt and pepper. Form a patty and break up two of the cheese slices. Tuck some cheese in the center of each patty and form the patty again so the cheese is nestled in the middle. Cook the patties 6 minutes a side, covering with the remaining slices of cheese just before serving. <He used my method of tenting the pan with foil. In some circles this would be considered cheating.>
Mix the mayo, sugar, relish, and white vinegar together. Slather on both sides of the bun. Spread some diced onion on the bun top and a squirt of ketchup. Put the patties on the bun and top with some lettuce and tomato and serve.
Jenny “Wild”, whom you met here:
Burger A: “This is like a high class call girl burger. She fancy. You have to book her days in advance but she makes it worth your while. Her bun is better. But she’s intimidating.”
Burger B: “This is the down and dirty street burger. You call her late at night and she never lets you down. My needs are met. The bun was not my favorite but I kept her waiting and ate burger A first, so it’s probably my fault.”
Patrick “The Laureate”:
Burger A: “Immensely enjoying the robust, full-blooded nature. Cheesy like romantic comedies, full of <use your imagination, I cannot print this with my mother reading> and man love. Makes me enjoy being messy. She fancy girl, She fancy. She fancy girl. Final score 9.1/10.”
Burger B: “Liking the eatability. Very White Castle meets the Hamptons. Excellent vegetable palate. <?> Hippy shit. Good. Makes me want to recycle more. And protest global warming. And those people who club baby seals. Final score 9/10.”
Burger A: “Nice bun. Almost Italian. Love the roasted tomatoes. And onions. Love the cheese. That was almost in the bun.”
Burger B: “All American. Soggy Bun. Very tasty. Diner burger. Patrick Masse.”
Cindy “Buzz”, whom you met here:
Burger A: “This sweet bastard left my mouth full of warm juicyness. The bun was a thick/powdery goodness and the patty reminded me of something I would run away from. <?> Overall an expensive call girl. <She and Jenny are friends, can you tell?> The Kardashian of burgers. Love the cheese content.”
Burger B: “This is like a really amazing one night stand where you’d be left wanting more. The onions were a great touch and the salty feel reminded me of a dirty <cannot print this, hi Mom>. The Jersey Shore of burgers. Can I have your number?”
Burger A: “Big exotic buns and spicy sweet contradictions. Lettuce of the finest green leaf and juicy tomatoes. Pickles on TOP <yes, this was underlined> and tomatoes down low, hiding the true gem, the smoked chilli <no chilli to speak of, Sean, sorry>. Bravo to the exotic, the boisterous, burger A.”
Burger B: “Classic qualities and quaint, graceful details. A comforting and calming bun from a hundred childhood memories with contents that excite and delight. Pickles UNDERNEATH and ripe hothouses blanketed in Heinz 57 up top give this true-beauty of a patty plenty of fortification. Hurray for a true Golden Age classic of a burger, burger B.”
Sean also decided to include some extra comments, because he is apparently going for his cheeseburger PhD:
“Nice work both packing that beef good and thick. Gimme a break with both o’ you going with bread and butter pickles! Oh how good they would have been with my buddy DILL! Verdict is Burger A. Reasoning: spice, lack of ketchup, and Bro Code.” <Hey, dumb-dumb. Thanks for the vote.>
Try them both. Let me know what you think. I promise not to be mad if you like his better than mine like I did.
Oh, and Dr. Fox? I love you and your burgers. But I’m still a better actress than you.