The day before Memorial Day, I heard about an awe-inspiring creation: the butter burger. The butter burger? Butter? In a burger? Need I say more?
Well, yes. Probably I do. Because the butter burger needs some ‘splainin. In my tipster’s version, and the version I replicated at the BBQ I went to Monday, you simply mix some minced butter right in with your ground beef. Curious to see how widespread a phenomenon this butter burger is, I googled “butter burger,” tracing the most popular reference to Solly’s Grille in Milwaukee, where they apparently coat the bun with butter before cooking the burger in it. A different kind of butter burger.
There are, in fact, many kinds of butter burgers out there, and seemingly no definitive — or even most common — version. Solly’s is definitely the most mentioned restaurant, so maybe the default technique. But I found recipes using melted butter (mixed into the meat and also a version with it just poured over the meat), softened butter (mixed into the meat), a pat of butter (stuffed into the meat), and minced butter, like mine (kind of mixed, kind of stuffed).
The idea, I think, behind the butter burger is that the butter will melt during cooking, making the meat even more juicy and luscious-tasting than it already would have been. So you can use this in fattier ground beef and give it all the more mouth-feel, or you can use it in leaner beef to up the ante a little. You can also mix herbs or flavorings in with the butter, though most of the comments I read on various blog postings consider that sacrilege. I am very curious to try all the versions, especially the one with melted butter mixed into the meat. But for starters, I thought I would try the one I heard of through word of mouth.
So, this is the Butter Burger, Version #1. More versions, hopefully, will be coming, assuming I don’t have a heart attack before then.
Butter Burger #1 — Minced Butter
I have to admit: I don’t have an exact recipe for this. I will, however give you some proportions. You want about 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp. of butter per 1/4 lb. burger — that is, 6 or so tbsp. per lb. of meat. You can pick whatever meat you prefer for burgers (I tend to think fattier is better, and still usually buy lean, but with a butter burger, I would probably throw caution to the wind). You will also want some chopped onion, say 1/8 c. per burger (though you can eyeball that to your wishes). And you will definitely want some salt and pepper. Other spices and flavorings are up to you, though it might be best to just let the butter shine through.
In this version, the burger is grilled over a charcoal grill. There will be subsequent versions featuring burgers fried in butter, I think. So fire it up and get going. And let me know what happens — I’m a novice at the butter burger still myself.