by Lynn Ogryzlo & Charlotte Ottaway
Like architects, back yard barbecuists and beef lovers take burger building very seriously; each one trying to outdo the other for title of King of the Grill, each one understanding the complexities of a good burger foundation, textural support and flavour finishes that need to come together for one sensational experience.
Speaking on behalf of burger aficionados everywhere, Grant Buckley, owner of the popular Ground Burger Bar in Newmarket says it’s all about the beef. “The beef should be the centre of the burger – the attention grabber,” he explains. “We buy AAA, organic, grass-fed beef from Paradise Farms. You can eat it like tartare, but we grind it into a patty.”
Mike Albright, owner of The Works in Newmarket also believes a great burger starts with quality beef. His burger patties are made from chuck and sirloin tip. “You can go to a high end steakhouse, and they’re going to have a sirloin tip platter,” he says. “But we use those sirloin tips in our grind. No additives, no fillers. We use sea salt and black pepper to season, and that’s it.”
Of course, you can still enjoy a delicious burger without the meat. Cachet in Newmarket offers a vegetarian option with a sweet potato patty. “Sweet potatoes are our base, then we use roasted corn black beans, which aren’t typical ingredients for patties,” says Julian Eddington, chef at Cachet.
Most people are astonished to hear that the bun is as important as the patty. With every bite of a burger there is actually more bun in your mouth than beef, so it makes sense that you should strive for the perfect beef-to-bun ratio. Buns come in a wide range of styles, textures and flavours from soft brioche or egg buns to thin sandwich buns in multi-grain or vegetable flavour. In between there is an entire range of buns from crisp crust and dense innards to soft on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
So what’s the third component to great burger building? The toppings of course! Burger bistros are always looking to push the envelope with new flavour profiles. “There’s a whole whack of flavours in the world, and you shouldn’t be stuck on just one,” says Eddington of Cachet.
The Works offers 50 different toppings that make for over a million different burger combinations. The options include thick slices of house-smoked, maple bacon, melted chunks of tangy, old cheddar, black peppercorn aioli, smooth, spirited, bourbon barbecue sauce, char grilled, meaty Portobello mushroom caps, creamy avocado, sloppy eggs, Kimchi and even peanut butter. Albright’s personal favourite is the “Hunka Hunka,” featuring peanut butter, banana slices and bacon. “People want different flavours; they want variety,” says Albright. “And sometimes, [what seems like] the oddest combination of food at first glance turns out amazing when it all comes together.”
Buckley also encourages burger builders to be daring when constructing their sandwich. Ground Burger Bar has toppings like barbecued crickets and dehydrated ketchup to “give it that extra little bit of flavour.”
Whatever toppings you choose, be sure to build your burger with the lettuce at the bottom, Buckley notes. This stops the juice from the beef from deteriorating the bun.
With so many menu options to choose from, there’s no shortage of opportunity to enjoy a divine burger in town this summer. Don’t be afraid to try something new. We are confident you won’t be disappointed!
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 www.lynnogryzlo.ca.
The Works, Newmarket
Ground Burger Bar, Newmarket
Cachet Restaurant and Bar, Newmarket