As the days get shorter and the air a bit crisper up here in PA, the odds of foregoing preparing a home cooked dinner and ordering Chinese takeout instead have increased. This quick recipe came about the day after a recent takeout night and we resurrected it this evening for dinner with some friends. It is a dead simple recipe which produces a quirky take on familiar fare and, when combined with Sriracha Ketchup, makes for a darn good burger.
The taste? Take everything you love about bacon on a burger and then sugar that up about 200%. By itself, honey boneless spareribs may be the most addictive item on any Chinese menu (and easily account for 2/3 of my repenting on Yom Kippur) and as served here (chopped up and mingled with high quality beef) it follows along the lines of the trend led by so many “name chefs” adding different cuts of meats into their burgers (not just on them). The spicy ketchup cuts down the sweetness a bit and provides a tease of heat to take this burger to the next level.
Rough #’s here, but any combination of these ingredients will produce more than passable results.1 lb. ground beef (we used “all-natural” Hillacres Pride beef purchased at our local farmer’s market) 1/4 lb honey boneless spareribs from Pak Yue (which is a fun name to say but always sounds confrontational when they answer the phone)
2 tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
Dice the pork into very small slivers then combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix lightly but well and then form patties (we made slider sized burgers). As mentioned earlier on this blog, and ripped from the pages of John Torode’s book “Beef and other bovine matters,” when using the oyster sauce you can omit salt from the recipe. The oyster sauce provides you with the tang you are looking for and keeps the burgers incredibly moist.
Siracha-Ketchup3 parts ketchup 1 part Sriracha
As shown cooked on the gas grille and served on Martin’s Whole Wheat Potato Rolls.
7638 Castor Ave Update: now located at 6501 Castor Avenue
The best new burger in Philadelphia is an absolute mess! An ungodly train wreck of ingredients served to you in a location devoid of glitz, glamor, panache or any of the other adjectives our beloved city’s slew of worthy new burger joints can lay claim to. It is primal, carnal, evil and glorious. It is more Ronaldo than Ronald. It is 5 inches tall and a hemisphere of flavor wide. It is the reason I may never have to venture into Newark, NJ again.
I present to you the X-Tudo Hamburger-Hubcap-sized sesame seeded roll – check Beefy grilled patty – check Gooey mozzarella cheese – check Perfectly fried egg – check Leafy green lettuce – check Fire-engine red tomato – check Fried slices of boiled ham – check Crunchy potato sticks – check Juicy corn niblets – check Blasts of mayo and ketchup for good measure – check and check
Game-Set- Match, checkmate, “you sank my battleship“, Yahtzee! and “boom goes the dynamite (as uttered by Cleveland Brown)” all wrapped up in wax paper and delivered piping hot on a plate.
I was first introduced to the concept of Brazilian hamburgers by Jason Perlow’s review of Hamburgao in Newark on his pioneering food/tech site offthebroiler. After that, and thanks to the coincidence of some of my work locations being in that neck of the woods, I trekked to the Ironbound to get my hands on a Cheese Egg as often as possible. And whenever possible I dragged others, first my wife and daughter and then later my boss and some work colleagues. The Brazilian version of a hamburger just rewrites the rules and is guaranteed to be a memorable experience (even if it were bad – and they have never been – it would be memorable for so many reasons including the atmosphere, the language and the ubiquitous pastries). Now to find a location so close to home serving these gems…needless to say I’m a happy happy guy.
The Picanha Grill Lanchonete is the sister restaurant to Picanha Brazilian Grill, which sits further south on Castor Ave towards Oxford Circle and offers all-you-can-eat rodizio style dining. In fact, the Lanchonete will be moving next door to the grill later this year, which is good news for anyone visiting from the City or the ‘burbs because it makes the trip about 10 minutes shorter (just off the Roosevelt Boulevard). It features a long bar with high chairs for eating while watching Brazilian daytime TV and a row of tables for more refined noshing. In the barren wasteland that is this strip of Castor Ave, the inside of this joint yearns for a hipness above what is both expected and probably attainable considering the rivers of asphalt just steps from any seat in the place.
The menu features several different variations on the kitchen sink theme, with your choice of hamburgers, chicken or hot dogs buried underneath. Even if this wasn’t a burger blog I’d insist that this be your point of entry to the cuisine as, in my opinion, it provides the perfect foundation (both in shape and taste) for the bevy of toppings which run the gamut from the mundane (lettuce) and mandatory (bacon) to the ridiculous (bananas) and sublime (yes, potato sticks belong on your sandwich!).
My Portuguese is negligible, despite a short period of time living in Rhode Island (where have you gone Vinny Pazienza?), so I am still a bit lost as to how the description of my burger on the bi-lingual menu has more ingredients in Portuguese than English? (11 items in Portuguese and 10 in English). I’m jut going to assume the real secret to the deliciousness of this concoction is that magical 11th ingredient which us estrangeiro’s are forbidden to possess (like bikes in the United Arab Emirates or that Goethe quote about “…what we cannot understand”).
Eating this burger gracefully is impossible. Even after cutting it in half (a tactic both to increase one’s ability to grip the darn thing and to cause me to pause long enough to weigh the downside of consuming the whole thing in one sitting) didn’t render it manageable. An ample supply of napkins were key as were the polite pauses in conversation offered by the server who told me about his family in Sao Paolo and his impressions of Philadelphia after having only been here a short time.
In a year where so many great burger joints have opened in the City, the arrival of Picanha Gill Lanchonete has gone completely unheralded. Nary a tweet, yelp or peep from a chowhound has tipped off the masses to this joint, and that is a shame. I hope you’ll stray from your comfort zone at least once to test this place out (or their new location when it opens) because your perception of what makes a great burger will be changed forever.
Additional thoughts…Fries With That Shake‘s friend girlscantell needs to diagram this thing for her next set of placemats….the roll at Hamburgao in Newark is a bit different and much better, but it is about an hour and a half away and will set you back $20 in tolls to get there so I am willing to forgive…I was in the area for business and to test out the kosher burger at Holy Land Grill (located just a few doors down). Not sure if I will ever actually make it there…yes, it is called a hamburger but it has cheese on it, I think cheese is just a given.
Survey Says: American’s are bored with burgers.
The quick service industry’s forgotten step-child, Arby’s, commissioned a survey and found that American’s are bored with fast food burgers. They are too greasy (55% agreed), too dry (40%) and the quality of meat is poor (45%).
“Roastburgers offer a tasty new way for burger lovers to satisfy their cravings while avoiding burger boredom,” says Steve Davis, Arby’s Chief Marketing Officer. “
So basically what Arby’s has done is swapped out ho-hum ground beef for the taste sensation that is their trademark roast beef.
The results…well…ummm, how do I say this…not as bad as I thought it would be.
The All-American Roast Burger I had for lunch, and it’s relatives the Bacon & Bleu Cheese and Bacon & Cheddar RoastBurgers, clearly benefit from some super-secret chemistry straight out of the flavor labs of New Jersey, because darnit…the RoastBurger actually tastes like a fast food hamburger. Again, I am left completely frustrated by how easily my taste buds can be tricked by science, but I guess that is the point with modern day fast food. The Oxford University Museum of Natural History bails me out a little here noting that the taste buds are easily tricked (in general, not specifically by this sandwich, but someone should definitely take this back into a lab and experiment).
More from an Arby’s Press Release:
All-American Roastburger – Features Arby’s thinly sliced, oven-roasted roast beef with fresh lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, ketchup, mustard, and a secret sauce served on a specialty roll
Here is the skinny on this “burger.” Easily 1/4 lb of roast beef which because of its shape/folding meant the sandwich stands pretty tall and seems substantial. Any hint of that special sauce, which someone on these here Interwebs actually compared to IN-N-OUT‘s secret sauce (?), was completely overpowered by the beef flavorings sprinkled on the sandwich (the Arby’s website even features an eerie animation showing the beef fleck coating process). Ketchup and mustard, the tried and true burger toppings, along with lettuce, tomato (very red – not always the case at fast food joints), raw onion and pickle were all present. Even the bun was better than your average fast food vessel. I’d compare it (favorably) to a BK Whopper.
That said, the whole concept just seems wrong to me. A roast beef sandwich shouldn’t have to aspire to be anything more than a roast beef sandwich and a burger by its nature has no equal in the world of meat-on-bun concoctions. But of course this is all about marketing and market share and so Arby’s, known as the #2 franchise sandwich chain in the country (behind Subway), has dipped their toes in the ultra-lucrative burger pool in launching this line. Interestingly, they could potentially steal market share from their sister restaurant, Wendy’s, by offering a burger experience which caters to a more high-end fast food eater.
- Close your eyes and it tastes like a pretty darn good fast food burger
- Really red tomato, crispy lettuce and tasty raw onions – all fine toppings which would be well placed on a burger
- Price – Arby’s is offering a free RoastBurger (with the purchase of a drink) via a coupon on their website (exp. 2/9/09)
- Mouth-feel: The meat just disappears in your mouth, like cotton candy or those weird Japanese shrimp chips.
- The whole “better living through chemistry” vibe you get when seeing the flavor flecks and tasting the overpowering beefiness of this sandwich.
40mg of cholesterol 1390mg sodium 46g carbs 2g fiber 15% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C (!)
Bonus feature: Recipe to make your own Jamocha Shakes…previously the only reason anyone went to Arby’s.
Newark, NJ 07105
282 Kearny Ave
Kearny, NJ 07032
Was lucky enough to sneak up to the Eagles playoff game on Sunday at the Meadowlands and with minor arm twisting was able to convince our crew to pit-stop at the Hamburgao on Lafayette Street in Newark’s Ironbound District on the way home from North Jersey (you know, to let the traffic die down a bit).
Way back in 2007, food and tech blogger Jason Perlow wrote the only post ever needed about this place and so I’ll spare you most of the details and encourage you to check it out on his site – the photography is to die for and you will probably have the same reaction my wife and I did upon reading the post – we hopped in the car that afternoon and drove to Newark!
I ate the “Cheese Egg” which is a cosmically disorienting combination of Mozzarella, ham, corn kernels, potato sticks (yes, like mom used to pack in your lunch), lettuce, tomato and mayo all placed on top of an 1/8lb or so grilled burger. This sandwich (and most of the other similarly topped offerings) is much more than the sum of its parts. What on paper looks like a laundry-list of things that should not go together (at least not in the American palate) comes together in a delicious gooiness that takes an admittedly ho-hum burger patty and elevates it to mythic status. I enjoy introducing these Brazilian burgers to others because they are so different that it makes you rethink everything you know about one of the simplest foods in the world. One of my buddies picked at a piece of corn from his burger and looked at it mystified wondering how anyone could even dream of such a concoction – thankfully somebody did.
Again, go read Jason Perlow’s post and admire the great pictures at the tail end. If you don’t already read Jason’s Off The Broiler blog you should (and you really should have back before his diet! Jason knows good food and is a great writer to boot. He has never steered me wrong and he is responsible for introducing me by way of his blog to my all-time favorite pizza joint Trattoria Sorrentina).
Hamburgao is a mini-chain with 3 locations (none close to you – but all worthy of dropping what you are doing right now and hopping in the car while gas prices are still low). And as a special bonus for all of you Eagles fans, now is a great time to visit North Jersey because the burgers are great and the Giants fans are humble!
Ok folks, we’re gonna need a ruling…is this a burger?
Add a slice of cheese, a big squishy bun, and oh heck, a slice of bacon and tell me that wouldn’t be about the best darned grilled burger you’ve ever seen?
Of course you won’t get any of that at Kabobeesh, one of West Philly’s hidden gems (which happens to be a Halal restaurant so forget the bacon). This Pakistani/Afghani/Indian restaurant located in an old diner just blocks from UPENN’s campus is home to some amazing grilled meats, exotic vegetable dishes, truly friendly staff and the delicious (and potentially burger-ish in nature) dish pictured – the Chapli Kabab.
According to the web’s most reliable information clearinghouse – wikipedia:
Chapli kabab is a dish from Peshawar … which is very much popular in Pakistan and Afghanistan. An iconic dish among the Pashtuns, chapli kabab is made from minced beef or lamb, lightly spiced, and cooked on a large flat griddle in animal fats.
Kabobeesh’s version of Chapli Kabab is more than lightly spiced, but nothing outrageous. This burger tended towards spicy, but was not off-putting in any way. Maybe zippy is a better way to describe the heat. Kabobeesh is known for their grilling and the two patties you get with your order came with perfect grille marks. These were super juicy thanks to the higher fat content of the meat and just shy of medium done-ness.
Now, is it a burger?
The grilled naan bread more than made up for the lack of a bun so… √
They are round and of general burger thickness…another √
No mustard or ketchup in sight, but several unique condiment options available including a neon green mint-y sauce…√
They were darn tasty…√
There you have it – burger it is/was (and will be again).
Are you in a burger rut? Need a new taste to knock you out of your comfort zone? Stopping by the brand new Shalom Catering in the Philly ‘burbs will do the trick (just don’t stop by on Friday night!).
The burger is akin to a middle eastern kafta kebab in taste and texture, but make no mistake, this is a real burger lovers burger, served on a perfectly squishy seeded bun with lettuce and tomato (and wrapped in that essential burger blanket – wax paper).
The burgers are cooked fresh and to order (mine was medium, would probably order medium-rare next time) and comes with a side of coleslaw that I kept thinking would taste really good on a pulled pork BBQ sandwich (just not here!!).
Shalom Catering’s sister restaurant Shalom Pizza has been serving amazing falafel and pizza for years and a meat restaurant is the perfect compliment. (Meat and milk don’t mix, so don’t even ask about a cheeseburger) Even if you are not Kosher (I’m not) or Jewish both restaurants are welcoming and deliver quality products that defy the typical kosher=bland stereotypes (and that could just be myhang-up from a particularly scarring vacation one summer in the Catskills).
At some point I need to institute a rating system for this site, as this place is deserved of at least a 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.
So says the description in the iPhone App Store. I really have no idea what is going on in this game, but lookee – its got burgers!
The object is to move you red lollipop(?) thinger left and right using your fingers on the iPhone’s screen…avoiding the bombs and hitting the burgers. Each burger you get earns you 50 bonus points. Hit a bomb or lose your balance and it’s curtains for you (only one life in this game).
I guess until they release a non-flash version of Burgertime this will be as close as anyone can get to burger related game play on Apple’s wonderful creation.
More info on PapiPole is available here.
Oh, by the way…PapiPole is free.
3847 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA 15146
The “Second Best Selling” item on the Primanti Brothers menu is Pittsburgh’s signature sandwich, the Pitts-Burger Cheese Steak. This colossus is an ode to excess, concoted in a manner only a steel town could justify.
The original Almost Famous sirloin beef patty sandwich that feeds the spirited fans of Pittsburgh
…features said beef patty, “sweet and sour” cole slaw (unlike any you have ever had before…think grandma’s recipe but without mayo, really), tomato slices, provolone cheese and yes, french fries, all nestled together under two big hunks off a loaf of bread and served in a wax paper draped plastic basket
The only thing that could make this sandwich better would be to remove the burger. Seriously.
Primanti Brothers was the first stop on our summer burger/BBQ vacation and it was supposed to be the burger that set the course for the remainder of the week, but it fell flat. This sandwich was better than the sum of its parts, the slaw was so unique a tasty that I won’t think of cole slaw the same again, the bread was perfect, the fries stellar…the whole combination was mesmerizing…except for the patty which tasted manufactured. Look left…it just looks sad, pinned down below all of that topping goodness.
The good news is my wife ordered the Black Angus Sirloin Steak Sandwich, which featured all of the same toppings but with delicious hunks of steak. Needless to say, she wasn’t going to share after she saw the look on my face after the bite of my burger, but I did get one good bite and man, that sandwich was terrific.
I am not going to pan Primanti’s because they are legendary. And, despite the notation that the burger is the #2 seller, it is widely reported that it is in fact the #1 seller (Serious Eats called their bluff earlier in the summer after noticing that there is no #1 seller listed on the menu). Somebody must be eating these. Here’s hoping they test out a Black Angus sandwich just once…I guarantee they’d switch allegiances.
- We did not eat in the original Primanti Brothers location in the “Strip District.” Things might have been different, we were out in the burbs. There are currently 13 locations throughout the metro.
- Pittsburgh has to be one of the nicest cities to visit in the US. Seriously. Leave your preconceptions at the city limits, the ‘Burgh features clean streets, a vibrant downtown, the best baseball stadium in the majors, Kennywood Amusement Park, the Warhol Museum, The Strip District and on and on and on.
They’ve done it again! The crazy food scientists (probably in Eric Schlosser’s New Jersey) have created a foodstuff that tastes the way we “expect” a burger to taste, even though everything about this thing is 100% WRONG!
This “natural” extension of the 7-11 Big Bite Hot Dog line-up is roller cooked until perfection (or until they pluck yours off) and delivered on a squishy hot dog bun. Step over to the condiment island and load it up as you please, I put on sweet peppers, ketchup and mustard, and there you have it – a concoction you would have had to dare your grade school friends to eat…but you are older now, on a tight budget and hungry, so let’s call this – lunch.
The rolled meat is infused with cheese and onion-y bits and has the texture of a kafta kebab, which it might have been called if (and I am only imagining this) focus groups would have signed off on eating anything labeled as mildly Arabic. In fact, if you ever find yourself in an Afghani or Lebanese restaurant and are craving a good burger, you’d do well to choose a Kafta Kebab. They are usually one of the mildest food choices on the menu and are a great gateway meal into further explorations.
But again, this isn’t a Kafta Kebab! It is an All-American Cheeseburger, rolled up to allow for even cooking on the already installed 7-11 hot dog roller system you know and love. It is $1.99 and even though I have it listed in the I Ate It (So You Don’t Have To) section, you could do worse.
File it under “If I have to have a burger and there aren’t any (and I mean any) other options…
Yes, the CHURGER!
The most pleasant intersection of summertime BBQ staples, the Churger is half hamburger, half grilled chicken and all right by me.
I’ve been going to Reading Phillies games for close to 30 years now (wow, that feels weird to write – am I that old?) and one thing you can always count on is great food. For years it was hot dogs and french fries and most recently it has been the burgers.
The Churger hybrid no doubt comes from the R-Phils cooks flair for experimentation which a few years ago birthed “The Grand Slammer” which is a deadly combination of two 1/2 half pound burgers, cheese, sauce, pickles and oh, yeah…a half-ton of french fries, all wrapped up in a bun. At $10/per it might give you sticker shock, but have no fear it can easily feed a family of 4.
It’s a sandwich that combines a burger and chicken breast separated by a slice of American cheese on a fresh roll and made with a whole lot of love.”
Signed by “Scoly,” noted as the Inventor of the Churger
Scoly is Jamie “Scoly” Scolastico who runs the outpost and is deserved of his name in lights (or at least on paint) for this invention.
The $7 sandwich itself is a 1/4 lb. hamburger and a similar sized chicken breast, char-grilled and kept from co-mingling by a slice of cheese applied during burger construction. No need for condiments of any kind because both the burger and the chicken were perfectly cooked and juicy. Besides maybe BBQ sauce, I’m not even sure what condiments you would put on it if you so decided they were necessary.
I can’t wait to catch another game (and burger) in Reading. This place is a perennial winner for a great family night out and the food just puts it over the top.