Tag Archives: Louis Lunch

The Burger 

Well, I’m back from my long sabbatical of blog writing. I’ve been busy with my Executive Chef position at Showcase Live. I was thinking about what would be a good return topic? I went with my favorite food subject; the burger.

The original hamburger was called the hamburger sandwich. It was created at the beginning of the 20th century when Americans went to work in the large factories and needed quick and easy food. No one is exactly sure who created it. Louis Lunch in New Haven CT has put in the claim as the first. I have been there and it’s a very small cool place. They cook their burgers vertically in the original cast iron grill and serve it between two pieces of toast. They only allow cheese, tomato, and onion on their sandwiches. No ketchup or mustard is allowed!

In the Boston area where I live, the best high-end burger is at Craigie On Main. This French inspired restaurant makes a VERY limited amount each day. When they are gone, that’s it! It’s a secret what goes into Chef Tony Maws burgers, but they are fucking awesome!

In the fast casual category, my favorite is Shake Shack. They make amazing burgers, crinkle fries, and shakes. Next on my list is Five Guys. The burgers are always juicy and you can get tons of condiments on them.

The West Coast has In-N-Out. They are what McDonalds and Burger King wish they could be. When I go out to visit my brother in L.A., I always drive thru In-N-Out for a Double-Double.

My least favorite is Smashburger. I have tried so hard to like them. We have one right around the corner from my house and my wife likes their burgers. They smash their meat onto the griddle, hence the name. This goes against everything I was taught about making a good burger. Smashing them makes the meat tough and they lose the juice. It also doesn’t help their cause when they screw up my order every single time I’ve been there. On the positive side, they have good chocolate shakes!

Of course making burgers at home is always a good choice. Make sure you use nothing higher than 80% lean. Use 75% lean if you can get it. If the ground beef is too lean, it will not be as juicy and will taste different. Fat has flavor! Don’t mess with it too much. Just form it into the desired size patty and leave it alone. Don’t mix seasoning into the meat. Put all the seasonings on the outside of the burger. Try not to mess with it during the cooking process. Flip it over only once. Don’t press down or smash it! Keep the burger simple. I like mine on grilled bread (not buns) with cheese, onion, and ketchup.