Many moons ago, back at the turn of the century (man, that sounds totally weird!), I spent a few years in Calgary managing a cake shop in a trendy neighborhood. My boss had lots of friends in high places, which opened doors to some interesting connections for me. One opportunity that stands out from the rest was attending a full-day cooking class (for free!) at a local brewery with a Canadian celebrity chef dubbed the “Crazy Canuck” by GQ Magazine. He was a grill master, and we spent the day cooking and eating all things charred and meaty.
We learned to smoke and sear, and he taught us all about indirect grilling. We cooked delicate seafood, burly beef ribs, and low-and-slow pork butt. It was a carnivore’s dream! But the one thing that always stuck with me were some of the juiciest burgers I’ve ever eaten. The secret? Butter. In the burger. The concept—equally simple and mind-blowing—had never even crossed my mind!
We all know that fat equals flavor. A substantial amount of fat content in the grind is needed to elevate your burger game from ho-hum to sublime. But adding additional fat in the form of delicious, delicious butter creates a flavor profile that rivals all others. The Crazy Canuck accurately dubbed this burger “The Burger Is Better with Butter.” And it truly is.
So here I am, sharing the “secret” recipe with you all in celebration of the upcoming Independence Day holiday and all the cookouts that come with it. I adapted my burger recipe slightly from his to account for my own personal preferences. Feel free to adjust any ingredients to your own tastes, but whatever you do, don’t cut back on the butter. (You can thank me later.)
Serve these on toasted buns, piled high with garnishes and condiments of your choice. Or do like I do and put it on a salad with a crispy-bottomed egg. (My significant other exclaims this is a sacrilegious offence and not a real burger, but we’ll save that argument for another day.)
—Adapted from Sticky Fingers and Tenderloins by Ted Reader
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10–15 minutes
2 lbs. ground beef (20% fat)
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 small onion, minced or ground to a chunky paste in the food processor
2 cloves garlic, minced (I throw it in with the onions in the processor)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 teaspoons high-quality Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon steak or grill seasoning
1 pinch cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
½ teaspoon salt
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with gloved hands (preferable) or a spoon.
- Divide into 4 (8 oz.) balls for large burgers or 6–8 (4–6 oz.) balls for smaller burgers. Flatten until slightly larger than your buns. Make a small indentation in the center (to allow the burger to shrink without doming in the middle). Set aside in the fridge until ready to cook.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high. Cook burgers to your liking, about 4–5 minutes for medium.
- Serve with garnish and condiments of your choice
Happy 4th everyone!
Image from Briana Goodall.