KING OF THE BBQ AND A COMFORT FARE CULT-CLASSIC, THE HUMBLE CHEESEBURGER IS READY FOR ITS MOMENT IN THE SUN
BY CHEF DAVID BURKE
I have dishes I’ve been tinkering on for 20 I years. The number one goal is it has to taste delicious! Then, it must be practical, easy to execute for our kitchens, and marketable to the guests. It must also be cool and fun like my Bacon on a Clothesline. That fan-favorite has everything wrapped up in one ingenious dish. But sometimes a great dish involves reinventing a classic, or elevating a humble one like my DB Cheeseburger.
When I first started as a chef in the 1980s you’d never see a common man’s burger on a fine dining restaurant menu, but I thought, hey why not? I love burgers. So today, whether it’s at my casual THE GOAT in Union Beach or a cutting-edge, modern American fine dining steakhouse like Red Horse in Rumson, or even a seafood restaurant like DRIFTHOUSE in Sea Bright, you will find a DB Cheeseburger Night, a special deal we offer as an incentive to dine midweek. It’s not like any other burger you’ve tasted before.
Like every dish on my menus, it has to start with the absolute best ingredients. I learned this as a young chef at the River Café thanks to owner Buzzy O’Keefe, who insisted on sourcing the best ingredients. For my burgers I use dry-aged beef from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, a third-gener- ation butcher in Bergen County who specializes in dry-aged beef. It costs a little more, but it tastes really great.
One day in Fort Lee, I went to this local pub for a bite to eat. They served their burger on an English muffin. I thought that was the greatest idea ever. It has a unique flavor and all these nooks and crannies that catch the juices and melted cheese. I toast mine nice and crunchy so you get a mix of textures too.
Pat sells his dry-aged burger meat online so you can grill your own. Or, come to one of my restaurants on DB Cheeseburger Night. It’s Mondays at Orchard Park and 1776, Tuesdays at DRIFTHOUSE and THE GOAT, and Thursdays at Red Horse and soon my newest, The Fox & Falcon.
DAVID BURKE’S DRY-AGED CHEESEBURGER
1 medium red onion, sliced
8 oz dry-aged Black Angus ground beef
2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp burger special sauce (see below)
1 English muffin, split in half and toasted well Lettuce and tomatoes, for garnish
David Burke’s Special Sauce
1 qt mayo
8 oz ketchup
1 cup chives, finely chopped 1 cup pickles, finely chopped 4 oz truffle oil
6 oz pickling liquid
1/2 cup minced shallots
1. Season the hamburger patty with salt and pepper.
2. Grill the burger to the desired tem- perature.
3. Add two slices of cheddar cheese on top of the burger and place in the oven for two minutes at a temperature high enough to melt cheese.
4. While the burger cooks, mix all of the Special Sauce ingredients together in a large bowl. (I know that’s a lot of special sauce. So, give some away to your friends! They’ll love you even more.)
5. Spread 1 tablespoon of the Special Sauce on the top and bottom of the English muffin.
6. Place the tomato, onion, and lettuce on the bottom of the bun and burger on top.