I don’t know about where you live, but burger bars are popping up on every other corner here in the Queen City much in the same way steakhouses did a few years ago. Custom built burgers are all the rage with even well established chefs such as Hubert Keller opening a burger bar in Las Vegas.
I’ve tried several around town, but I had my fill of these places after the response I got when I asked for them to leave something off their daily special.
It was a simple request, really. All I asked for was for them to not put the bruschetta on the burger because it contained olives. I hate olives.
They told me there were no substitutions on the daily specials because the chef works hard to create a very specific flavor profile. Flavor profile? This is a burger we’re talking about, right?
The term flavor profile is one of the most overused in the culinary vernacular. While sitting at the table I felt like I was being read a bad food PR pitch like the ones that find their way into my inbox daily.
While I eventually got what I wanted, I decided that it just wasn’t worth the aggravation to get my burger made the way I wanted it made, especially since they’re charging “gourmet” prices. So, rather than fight the power, I started making my own custom built burgers at home.
After a bit of research I decided to give Chef Michael Symon’s Lola burger recipe a shot using a 40/40/20 mix of chuck, sirloin and beef brisket that I ground myself. We liked the test batch so much that I ended up putting together a burger bar for my son’s second birthday replete with an assortment of custom condiments and toppings.
I’ve since refined my burger blend a little, but the main tenants remain the same. I liked to make a batch of these burgers, partially freeze them and then vacuum seal them up so we can have a custom burger night whenever we choose.
Even now that I’m following the spirit of the Paleo diet to control my diabetes and lose weight, I still enjoy my custom built burgers, albeit wrapped in bib lettuce and not a bun.
From a cost standpoint I only spent about $.30 per pound more than I would have for the leanest pre-ground meat at my local mega mart (which is the best comparison since I don’t add fat beyond what the meat already has naturally) and I get to control what goes into what I put on my family’s table.
PJ’s Custom Burger Blend
adapted from Chef Michael Symon, Willow Bird Baking & White on Rice Couple
2 pounds tri tip steak, sirloin tips or sirloin steak
2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1 pound beef brisket (with the fat cap on)
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground star anise
- Cube all the meat and add to a large mixing bowl
- Add the remaining ingredients to the cubed meat and stir to combine well
- Return seasoned meat mixture to the refrigerator for an hour or so
- Grind using a coarse plate, or follow instructions on this post for using a food processor
- Pack loosely into patties of a size that fits your need, cook and enjoy
- Should yield 10 to 15 burger patties depending on preference
If you give this, or anything else here, a try we’d love for you to drop us a comment and tell us how you liked it, or what you did differently to suit your tastes.