Remember when I said I didn’t believe in anything being the ‘best’ of anything back in my ‘BEST IN THE WORLD’ peanut butter cheesecake chunk brownie entry? Well, I may have to backtrack a little since I just made some burger buns that could very well be the ‘best ever’. Plus, a really, fat, juicy burger loaded with corned beef, swiss cheese and slaw, to put between these burger buns.
It all started when I was flipping through People Magazine a few weeks ago (my weekly gossip indulgence). Sometimes they have a section where a well-known or celebrity chef offers up some recipes from their restaurant, usually recipes that are brand spanking new. In this case, it was some party held by Rachael Ray where one of the American Iron Chefs, who also happens to be a very talented, well-known celebrity chef chef, Michael Symon, served up these incredible looking burgers loaded with homemade slaw, swiss cheese, and pastrami.
Apparently, these burgers were so popular, they won the People’s Choice Award at this star-studded event. Naturally, this piqued my interest, especially since I’m not much of a burger enthusiast. It has to be a really, really exceptional, knock your cotton toed socks off burger for me to crave a burger in general, like this Black and Blue Burger with Cajun Mayonnaise I had at some restaurant on the UES, the name totally escaping me, when I was 15. Gosh, I wish I could remember!!
The add-ons looked and sounded great, but I think what probably makes these burgers pretty special are the different cuts of beef used; brisket, sirloin and short rib. Right then and there I knew I had to try what Michael Symon calls his ‘Fat Doug’ Burger. In the culinary world, that’s akin to a rock star writing a song about you, right?
Doug must be pretty stoked.
The thing is, I don’t know if the ‘fat’ refers to Doug, the burger, or both. This certainly IS a fat, messy burger, as you can see in the photos below. Jaw-cracking bites and lots of napkins are definitely imperative. If you omit the corned beef or pastrami and swiss cheese, you now have a ‘light’ slaw burger that’s more manageable on the mandible…and hips.
Of course I’d never omit either.
Since I was going to take a stab at these burgers, and the slaw too..when I saw it called for buttery brioche or egg burger buns, lightly toasted in a pan with butter, I knew there was no way I was going store-bought. They had to be home baked, yeasty goodness to compliment this manna of burgerdom.
I searched the net for burger buns and brioche burger buns, restraining myself from typing in “best ever”, but I did find a ‘best ever’ and it was from the NY Times via Comme Va restaurant in LA. Let me put it to you this way, the simplicity in making these burger buns is a bonus because these are the bomb of all burger buns; the holy grail of burger vessels; the creme de la creme of light, fluffy, eggy, buttery goodness. I usually prefer really soft and doughy egg or potato burger buns hugging my beef patties, but these fluffy, tender, slightly dense burger buns are perfect because they soak up the juices without falling apart like my favorite doughy counterparts do.
If you’re making what you feel is the ‘best’ burger ever, please make these burger buns. They’re the diamond Tiffany necklace to the Versace gown, the crunchy sea salt atop the buttery caramel..the perfect accessory.
As for the other burger accessories, I made two slight changes to what I think is an already perfectly loaded burger. I added thinly sliced red bell pepper to the slaw and used corned beef instead of pastrami.
Make these burger buns; make the burgers, make the slaw (and even the corned beef or pastrami if you’re feeling adventurous); it’s totally worth every step! Enjoy and let me know how it turned out for you!
The Best Burger Buns
Recipe from the New York Times via Comma Ca restaurant, Los Angeles
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons warm milk
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups bread flour
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Black and white sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds (optional)
- In a measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. In the mean time, beat one egg.
- In a large bowl, combine both flours with the salt. Add the butter to the flours and salt and rub into the flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter, making crumbs, like you would a pie dough. Stir in the yeast mixture and beaten egg until it forms a dough. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter or board. and knead, scooping the dough up, slapping and turning it, until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. (You may also use a stand mixer for this, eliminating the need for a bench scraper - but bread that's hand kneaded is always better in my opinion). You want the dough to remain slightly tacky, as the more flour you add, the tougher they will be when baked.
- Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper or sharp knife, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on the lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.
- Set a large pan of water on oven floor. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the center. Beat remaining the egg with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash, then brush on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds ( I used both sesame and poppy seeds. Try a little sea salt too!), pressing them in gently to adhere. Bake, turning the sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. These can be frozen, then placed in a freezer bag for up to 2 to 3 months, When ready to use, let thaw at room temperature and heat or toast slightly, if desired.
- ½ head Napa cabbage, shredded
- ½ clove garlic, minced
- ½ small red onion, sliced thin
- ½ jalapeno pepper, minced
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
- I added some julienned red bell pepper
- ½ lb ground sirloin *
- ½ lb ground brisket *
- ½ lb ground boneless short rib *
- ½ lb pastrami, sliced thin (I used corned beef)
- 4 slices swiss cheese
- 1½ tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 brioche or egg buns
- Salt and Pepper
- Mix all slaw ingredients and refrigerate for one hour.
- Combine the meats, then make 4 equal size patties, and season each with salt and pepper. Heat a grill or saute pan over high heat, then cook patties 3 to 5 minutes per side, or to your liking. I prefer medium rare. REmove from pan and keep warm.
- Place 4 piles of pastrami (or corned beef) in the same pan over medium heat. After two minutes, top each pile with a slice of swiss cheese. Remove when cheese melts.
- Over medium heat, melt the butter in a clean pan. Toast the buns in the melted butter, cut sides down, for two minutes.
- Assemble Burgers. Place slaw on bottom half of bun. Top the slaw with a burger and the pastrami (or corned beef) cheese pile. Cover with top bun and serve.
BTW, I’m submitting these burger buns to Bread Baking Day #28 (buns) hosted by Rachel of Tangerine’s Kitchen and Susan at Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting. Yes, once again, they’re that good.