For the past couple years, I have watched him schlep to Las Vegas to compete in the World Food Championship and now we have some lovely burger-topped trophies sitting in our home.
With the “Founding Father of Burgers” and the 3rd best burger chef in the world at my fingertips, I asked him for some tricks of the trade.
Contrary to popular belief, “the freezer becomes your most valuable cooking tool” Bucher explains. “Freezers get a bad rep in the food world sometimes, but in reality, they give chefs the power to manipulate their food without cooking it.”
2. The Importance of a beef blend
“Making one burger is pretty simple,” Bucher explains. Take 8 ounces of ground beef blend. His preferred blend is 50% ground chuck with a 80/20 fat ratio, 50% ground sirloin with a 90/10 fat ratio.
In terms of a quick recipe: throw in a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, one large egg and quarter cup of white vinegar. For the bun, grab a sesame seeded potato bun. Add some bacon, and both white and yellow cheddar…just because its July fourth. Take your 8 ounces, divide it into two even patties and stick them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Never over-season
“DO NOT SEASON YOUR BEEF ANYMORE. If you mix anything else in your meat, it’s called meatloaf…not a burger” he adds. Salt and pepper on both sides and thats it.
4. Shock people with an egg in the middle
Take your two patties out and put a frozen poached egg in the center of one. Take the other patty and put it on top and,”almost like burger ravioli” pinch the sides together.
#SpoonTip: Splash a teaspoon of the Worcestershire sauce on top of the burger.
5. To cook, use a seasoned cast iron pan
“I like to season my pans by cooking bacon in them. It’s a double whammy…seasoned pans and a snack!” said Bucher.
6. One flip and one flip only
“Once your burger is in the pan or on the grill, only flip it once.” Bucher says to only cook the burger for 4-6 minutes on each side with *one* gentle flip because anymore will burst the ~secret~ egg we have in the middle. “If the egg breaks, our secret is out.” Literally.
7. Dressing our burgers
“Get crazy and add as much bacon (or lettuce, tomato, onion) as you want, but if you don’t want to go into cardiac arrest, two strips is fine.”
8. Use room temperature american cheese.
Once the cheese is melted, take the burger off the pan or grill and let it rest while you toast the bun.
If these tips can get Mark Bucher rankings at the World Food Championship four years in a row, they have to be good.