With the recent news of a declining McDonald’s, one can’t help but speculate that at least part of this decline must be attributed to shifts in tastes and overall competition. With ever increasing options for interesting, unique and boutique burgers, both complex and simple, the delivery model for large scale, “industrial” burgers is increasingly less appealing to an ever growing segment of the population. Combined with the the influence of celebrity chefs, cooking and food shows, there has also been a significant increase of interest in the art of DIY speciality burgers. Enter American Burger Revival: Brazen Recipes to Electrify a Timeless Classic by Samuel Monsour and Richard Curry via Union Park Press.
Much more than a generic coffee table cookbook, American Burger Revival covers cuts of meat, DIY butchering & grinding, philosophy of spice, bread making for creative buns, sauces, pickling, plus a wide range of recipes both moderate in scope and serving as inspiration for the overachiever. In particular, I found the sauce recipes compelling. “Bloody Mary Ketchup”, which includes 1/2 cup of vodka as well as the mere notion of fried ketchup (yes, indeed), Creole Mayo, “Carolina Gold”, and Alabama white sauce all sound appealing to my morning hangover as well as my general interests regarding regional Southern cuisine.
The benchmark burger recipes “Misohorny”, “Ragin Cajun”, “BLT Club”, “The Walker Texas Ranger”, “The Filthy Pilgrim” and the piece de resistance: “The Blacked Out Monte Cristo” (glazed donut, fried ketchup, smoked Tasso ham, corned beef hash, swiss cheese, maple syrup and fried eggs), though serious undertakings relative to the simple art of making hamburgers (and also time consuming), can certainly inspire the DIY chef, be it subbing store bought ingredients or making the entire spread from scratch.