by Lynn Ogryzlo & Emily Bednarz
As many backyard barbecuers know, burger-building is a complex endeavour. Like an architect, a good barbecuer knows that a burger requires a sound foundation, textural support, and flavour finishes to come together for a sensational experience. To help up your backyard barbeque game, Look Local asked some local experts for their burger-building advice.
Paul Daley, at The Corner Market in Barrie and chef at Barrie’s Holiday Day Inn, offered some tips on making your backyard barbecue burger healthy and flavourful. It starts with the kind of grill you choose to use, says Daley. “I like to use charcoal because of the more natural flavour.” It may take a little longer to set up, but Daley emphasizes the need for slow and thoughtful cooking techniques in our fast-moving society.
Though some may prefer their burger on the rare side, both Health Canada and Daley are adamant: “The least you should cook your burger is medium-well, to kill off the bacteria.” So what does cook-time look like? “For an 8 ounce burger, I would cook it eight minutes on one side and eight minutes on the other side,” says Daley. “And I use a spatula to squeeze out some of the juice—not all of the juice—but some of it. Because when all the juice is stuck inside, it doesn’t cook properly, and you end up with blood clots inside of the burger, which is not good for you.”
Alex Rechichi, CEO of The Burger’s Priest, also highlights the importance of the grill. “We advise using a seasoned iron skillet on top of your barbecue. Heat the skillet to about 500 degrees Fahrenheit and place your ground chuck onto the skillet.” Like Daley, Rechichi agrees a little squeezing is in order. “As it sizzles, press it down slowly letting it create a nice crust against the skillet. Season the top of the patty with salt; wait about four to five minutes and use the spatula to slowly scrape the patty off of the skillet to flip.” But, Rechichi adds, “If all else fails, ask The Burger’s Priest for delivery!”
If you’ve never tried The Burger’s Priest in Barrie, what sets them apart is their ability to combine familiar tradition with high-quality ingredients. “We are a classic cheeseburger joint. We grind a custom blend of ultra-premium beef and it’s always fresh. We never use yesterday’s beef in today’s burger,” says Rechichi. “We believe in purity, simplicity and over a hundred years of grilling and grinding techniques.”
For those who are (or have a family member who is) vegetarian, vegan, or allergen-sensitive, finding a burger joint for a bite can be difficult. That’s where Boon Burger comes in.
The first vegan burger restaurant in Canada, Boon Burger first opened shop in Winnipeg but has since expanded into Barrie, where its headquarters are now located. CEO Michael Valiant says that, though the company is expanding, the priorities of the business will always be on healthy, yummy, and locally-sourced produce. Boon Burger offers four
main patties: the Boon Patty (packed with mushrooms and rice), the White Patty (with chickpeas, brown rice, and a crunchy crust), the Buddha Patty (with chickpeas, brown rice, and curry flavours), and the Black Bean Patty (with black and red beans and lentils).
When they choose to try a vegan burger, some people may be worried about “getting their protein.” But Valiant insists that, on the one hand, people think that they need much more protein than they actually do, and on the other, beans and legumes can be more than a suitable substitute for beef. “Our chickpea burger is actually higher in protein than a chicken burger,” says Valiant.
Finding a “safe” place to eat can also be tricky for people with allergens, says Valiant. “We’re not just meat-free and dairy-free, we’re also nut-free, we’re largely soy free, and we have a lot of gluten-free options.” Since Boon Burger makes almost everything in house, including the patties, sauce, and buns, you can be assured that you or your loved one is eating a safe and scrumptious meal. Boon-Apetit!
Lynn Ogryzlo is a food, wine and travel writer, international award winning author and regular contributor to Look Local Magazine. She can be reached for questions or comments at
The Corner Market, Barrie
The Burger’s Priest, Barrie
Boon Burger, Barrie