Our second task as Canadian Beef Ambassadors is to talk burgers. Well I can certainly do that!
In fact, some of you can attest to the fact that when you get me talking burgers it is sometimes quite hard to shut me up!
Which is good, because tonight there is a Burger Party on Twitter complete with a $500 Burger Prize Pack up for grabs!
Burger Personality Twitter Party RSVP Now! » – Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 7pm EST hosted by @CanadianBeef and @ShesConnected #LoveCDNBeef — (Don’t have a Twitter account? You can still join in the Discussion Wall at the bottom of the page.)
What is my burger personality?
I am self proclaimed Burger Snob! And I’m not shy to say it.
I like creative toppings, interesting seasonings and I’m willing to try almost anything. (As you can see from the “Brunch burger” photo to the right… a burger with a fried egg on a donut. Sadly not as good as it could have been.)
But it was the summer I was 22 that I realized not all ground beef patties are created equal. I was taken for a special treat to at a small, wildly-popular, burger joint in Kitsilano. I took one bite and my eyes flew open and I knew I had been spoiled rotten by my father and the butchers in the Saint John City Market. Ruined in fact.
For the first time I realized that I do not like filler. Not at all. Not any time. Not any way. I don’t care if they are natural, I want my burger to be beef. Taste like beef. Smell like beef. Feel like beef. Not beef-like filler. No egg, no oatmeal, no bread crumb. You don’t need binders you need better beef!
I go so far as to take a tiny pinch off every burger I’m about to eat in order to taste the meat before I proceed to eat my burger. If the meat doesn’t taste and feel like meat, I will not be happy. There have even been times when the meat has been funky and I was the only one to notice because I tried the meat on it’s own.
Why do I do this? When was I ruined for fast food chains and crappy burger joints for life?
Well, it the summer when I was 16! I was back in New Brunswick for the summer and I was working with my father in the kitchen of a restaurant in Saint John near the market. Dad was Head Cook, I was the lowest of the low in the kitchen – grunt, minion – so low in fact there’s no official title.
The restaurant was a standard short-order restaurant of the time. Soup of the day, western omelettes, hot turkey sandwiches, chop steak, club sandwiches, spaghetti, daily specials which were usually some form of meat with potato and 2 veg and jello in a sundae glass topped with whip cream and a maraschino cherry for dessert. And of course burgers & fries.
Dad liked to use the freshest ground beef possible in the burgers he served, so I was regularly sent up the butchers in the market to buy 10lb bags of ground beef. I’d run up to the market, buy the meat, often watch it being ground, then run it back to the restaurant. There dad would grab a handful of the meat and hand-form it into a large roughly-circular patty and dropped immediately on the grill. With onions frying beside it, the patty would be seasoned with a splash of worchester, a splash of soy, a dash of pepper and maybe (only maybe) a dash of paprika. It would be cooked to medium-rare (shhhhh don’t tell anyone) and slid onto a bakery-fresh white bun on top of a small amount of those fried onions. Then a crisp lettuce leaf would be laid on top of it followed quickly by a slice of tomato and a slice of onion. Fries, golden from the deep-frier and studded with salt crystals were tumbled onto the plate beside the burger, then a small paper cup of coleslaw and a pickle garnished the plate and the bell was rung. The waitresses snagged the plates and hustled them out to hungry and soon-to-be-very happy customers. Some even ordered a second if they had enough time at lunch.
Now, you’d think that would be enough to spoil me for life, but those burgers weren’t anywhere near as good as the one’s dad would make from the meat we got from our friends Clark & Sue who raised organic beef up near Sussex. Every year we’d get 1/2 a cow in exchange for dad’s homebrewed dark ale. Which was a perfect beverage for a burger cooked over apple wood with oak leaf lettuce and fresh beefsteak tomatoes still slightly warm from the sun.
So, see… Burger Snob.
Note: this post is part of my Canadian Beef Brand Ambassador series . For more information on my relationship with Canada Beef Inc read about my Foodie Adventure: I’m a Canadian Beef Brand Ambassador. #LoveCdnBeef and my disclosure statement