Michael Symon | Parsley, Sage and Sweet

Possibly the Best Burger Buns Ever

March 31, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Posted in BBD, Beef, Breads, Dinner, Lunch, Salads, Vegetables, Yeastspotting | 145 Comments
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Remember when I said I didn’t believe in anything being the ‘best’ of anything back in my ‘BEST EVER’ peanut butter cheesecake swirl brownie entry?  Well, I may have to backtrack a little since I just made some burger buns that could very well be the ‘best ever’.

It all started when I was flipping through People Magazine a few weeks ago (my weekly gossip indulgence).  Sometimes they have a section where a well-known or celebrity chef (I really hate that term – and usually the celebrity chefs are celebs because they’re more entertainers than chefs) offers up some recipes from their restaurant, usually recipes that are brand spanking new.  In this case, it was some party held by Rachael Ray where one of the American Iron Chefs, who also happens to be a phenomenal chef chef, Michael Symon, served up these amazing burgers loaded with  homemade slaw, swiss cheese and pastrami.

Apparently, these burgers were so popular, they won the People’s Choice Award at this star-studded event.  Naturally, this piqued my interest, especially since I’m not much of a  burger enthusiast.  It has to be a really, really out of this world burger for me to crave a burger in general.

The add-ons looked and sounded great, but I knew what probably made these burgers pretty special was the different cuts of  beef used in it, like brisket.  Right then and there I knew I had to try what Michael Symon calls his ‘Fat Doug’ Burger.  In the culinary world, that’s a akin to a rock star writing a song about you.

Doug must be pretty stoked.

The thing is, I don’t know if the ‘fat’ refers to Doug, the burger or both.  This certainly IS  a fat, messy burger, as you can see in the photos below – big bites and lots of napkins are imperative.  If you omit the corned beef or pastrami and swiss cheese, you now have a ‘light’ slaw burger that’s more manageable on the mandible.

Of course I’d never omit either.

Since I was going to take a stab at these burgers, going to the trouble of whipping up the slaw too – when I saw it called for brioche or egg buns, lightly toasted in a pan with butter, I knew there was no way I was going store-bought.  They had to be home baked, yeasty goodness to compliment this manna of burgerdom.

I searched the net for brioche buns, NO, I did not type in ‘best ever’, but I did find a ‘best ever’ and it was from the NY Times via Comme Va restaurant in LA..  Let me put it to you this way, the simplicity in making them is a bonus because these are the bomb of all burger buns..the holy grail of burger vessels, the creme de la creme of light, fluffy, eggy, buttery goodness.  I usually prefer really soft and doughy egg or potato buns hugging my beef patties, but these fluffy, tender, slightly dense buns are just perfect  because they soak up the juices without falling apart like my favorite doughy counterparts do.

If you’re making what you feel is the ‘best’ burger ever, please make these buns.  They’re the diamond Tiffany necklace to the Versace gown..the crunchy sea salt atop the buttery caramel..the perfect accessory.

As for the other burger accessories, I made two slight changes to what I think is an already perfectly loaded burger.  I added julienned red bell pepper to the slaw and used corned beef instead of pastrami.

Make these buns..make the burgers, the slaw..and even the corned beef or pastrami  (yeah, yeah, yeah..I cheated..I bought the corned beef already made) -, it’s totally worth every step!  Enjoy and let me know how it turned out for you!

BTW, I’m submitting these burger buns to Bread Baking Day #28 (buns) hosted by Rachel of Tangerine’s Kitchen and Susan at Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting.  Yep, once again..they’re that good.

Light Brioche Burger Buns
Recipe from the New York Times via Comme Ca restaurant in Los Angeles
Makes 8 4-inch to 5-inch burger buns

1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Black and white sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds (optional)

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. (You may also use a stand mixer for this, eliminating the need for a bench scraper – but bread that’s hand kneaded is always better in my opinion). You want the dough to remain slightly tacky, as the more flour you add, the tougher they will be when baked.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds ( I used both sesame and poppy seeds), if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

“Fat Doug” Burgers
Recipe from Michael Symon, with my slight revisions
Makes 4 burgers
1/2 head Napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
I added some julienned red bell pepper

1/2 lb ground sirloin, 1/2 lb ground brisket, 1/2 lb ground boneless short rib (or 1 1/2 lbs ground beef)
1/2 lb pastrami, sliced thin (I used corned beef)
4 slices swiss cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 brioche or egg buns
Salt and Pepper

1.Mix all slaw ingredients and refrigerate for one hour.

2. Make 4 equal size patties, season with salt and pepper.  Grill patties over high heat. 3 to 5 minutes per side.

3. Put 4 piles of pastrami (or corned beef) in a pan over medium heat.  After two minutes, top each pile with a slice of swiss cheese.  Remove when cheese melts.

4. Pour butter into pan.  Toast buns, cut sides down, for two minutes.

5.  Assemble Burgers – Place slaw on bottom half of bun. Top with burger, pastrami (or corned beef) and cheese.  Cover with top bun and serve.

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