Recipe of the week
The Kronnerburger: Perfecting an American classic
It “sounds a little silly to say out loud,” but I spent a decade studying the art of the hamburger before developing the recipe below, says Chris Kronner in A Burger to Believe In (Ten Speed Press). I share my secrets expecting you’ll take shortcuts, and that’s OK, because there is no perfect. “There is bad,” though, and “bad should be avoided.”
To make a true Kronnerburger, you need grass-fed dairy beef that’s been dry-aged at least 30 days and freshly ground before you cook the patty over a wood fire. You also need housemade dill pickles, housemade pain de mie buns, and roasted bone marrow. But let’s focus on main principles: If you can’t get dry-aged chuck, ask your butcher to grind fresh grass-fed chuck, 80 percent lean rather than the 70 percent I recommend with dry-aged. Salt the patties well. And because a true Kronnerburger is cooked rare and is thus done in just 3 minutes, it’s very important—“essential even”—to have the other ingredients ready for assembly.
Recipe of the week
The Kronnerburger (makes 4)
1¼ lbs trimmed dry-aged, grass-fed chuck
1 red onion, cut into ¹⁄³-inch slabs
2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more if cooking on stove
4 pain de mie buns
Dill pickle slices
Tomato, if in season (1 to 2 slices per burger)
Iceberg lettuce (3 to 4 leaves per burger)
¼ cup cheddar mayonnaise (see below)
Cube the meat. Chill on a tray in the freezer until firm but not frozen, 10 to 15 minutes. Coarsely grind chilled meat. Divide into four 5-oz balls, then gently form patties 4 inches wide. Refrigerate until ready to cook. On a grill or piping-hot skillet, char onion slices on one side. Before you begin cooking burgers, get buns toasting: Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Smear butter on cut sides of buns and place butter side down in pan. Toast until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
While buns toast, cook patties. Season each with salt on both sides, using about ½ tsp per side. To grill: Cook patties over direct heat for 2 minutes, then flip and cook 1 minute, until cooked rare. To cook on a stove: Heat a skillet over high heat. Smear butter on one side of each patty and cook them, butter side down, 2 minutes. Flip and cook 1 minute. (If using unaged beef, add 1 to 2 minutes cooking time after the flip). Assemble burgers and serve.
3 egg yolks • 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar • ¾ tsp mustard powder • ¾ tsp kosher salt • 1 cup neutral oil (such as safflower) • 3 oz aged sharp white cheddar, grated
Place first four ingredients in a food processor and process until combined, about 30 seconds. With processor running, very slowly pour in the oil, almost at a drip, then gradually increase speed of pour. When you’ve added all the oil, add cheese and process until completely smooth. Makes 1½ cups. ■