By Jeremy Berger
on 10.17.12
Photo by Eric Yang

There’s something to be said for the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We believe in it. Meat plus bun plus ketchup is a very good meal, indeed. On the other hand, anyone who’s walked into Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers in Cambridge, MA, and sampled the brain-thwacking assortment of burgers, can surely attest to the value of experimentation. When the chips (or fries) are down, the GP crew likes innovation. We’re tinkerers, after all.

After learning how to make the perfect burger patty, we figured we may as well cook the damn thing in grand fashion, too. So we enlisted the help of chef Phil Conlon of New York City restaurant, Swine, to help us create an extraordinary burger. Our parameters: simple to make, readily available ingredients, innovative, seasonal, juicy as fu**.

See what happened after the jump.

Conlon knows his way around a dead animal. At Swine, he makes his own charcuterie — serious carnivore stuff like tongue pastrami, bresaola (air-dried, salted beef) and head cheese — which diners snack on in the company of vintage pinball machines and large rock & roll photographs. What caught our eye on the menu was a burger made with bone marrow and brisket. The bone marrow, according to Conlon, gives the burger a juiciness and unctuousness you don’t get with the average beef blend. That’s what we wanted.

The problem is we don’t typically have marrow bones lying around the kitchen. Or any bones, for that matter. Conlon met this challenge with the Onion Soup Burger, a clever play on French onion soup and our ultimate Fall burger, with all of the richness and savoryness that dish embodies. By putting the caramelized onions inside the patty and sealing it off with cheese, he creates a veritable burger juice bomb. The kicker? It’s easy to make.

This is your perfect burger for fall. Make it. Photograph it. Show it to us. And most importantly… eat it before it gets cold.

Onion Soup Burger

Serves 4

Ingredients
Vegetable oil
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
1 can Lion Stout (or another stout of your choice)
2 lbs. Ground beef
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, sliced
4 Martin’s Sesame Seeded Rolls
1 Large tomato, sliced
4 Leaves lettuce (or more as needed)
4 Pickle spears

Step 1. In a saucepan on medium-high heat, add a teaspoon of vegetable oil until hot. Add onion, stirring every 2 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Add 4 oz. Lion Stout (drink the rest while cooking) and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate for ten minutes.

Step 2. Separate meat into 8 oz. portions. Cover work surface with a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten 8 oz. piece until 1/4 in. thick on all sides. In the center of the beef patty, add one oz. caramelized onions. Using the sides of the plastic sheet, bring edges of the patty to center to fully envelop the onions. Tighten the patty using the plastic wrap. Place wrapped patty in the fridge and let settle for 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining 8 oz. portions.

Step 3. Preheat oven to 425F. In a saucepan on high heat, add 2 tsp. of vegetable oil, until smoking hot. Add meat patty, and cook for two minutes on each side.

Step 4.Top with sliced gruyere, and finish in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the buns for burger assembly.

Step 5. Serve burgers with sliced tomato, lettuce, and a pickle spear on the side.

Chef Phil