Thursday, July 16, 2009

Krazy Jim was on to something

Despite the publications that say Atlanta has the best burgers in the country, and despite my rampant hometown boosterism soul, I still think the best burgers around can be found at Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor. The place has even been on that show on Food Network where the guy drives around eating greasy food. That's where I found out that they double grind the meat to make it extra tender.

I have to confess that I don't really get what is so special about steakhouse burgers or whatever "fine dining" places call 'em. I like my burgers the old fasioned American way - salty, well done, greasy, and with skinny patties. When I yearn for a burger, I don't yearn for a Vortex burger, although they make a very good burger. I only get a yearning for fast food style burgers.

For the most part, I've cooked my burgers the 'traditional' way - made fat patties, grilled them (or used a skillet), and turned them a minimum number of times. No pressing on 'em cuz the juice will get out. Yet I was always fairly disappointed with my burgers. I mean, they weren't bad, and sometimes they were even quite tasty. But I didn't get the satisfying "this is sooooo fucking good" feeling I usually get at a McDonald's, Burger King, or most definitely Blimply Burger.

So tonight, I made burgers Krazy Jim-style. Well, until I get a meat grinder the double-grinding thing is going to have to wait (soon, my precious... soon). I just used some Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to prep the meat. Now, the key feature to a Blimpy Burger is that the meat is cooked on a griddle, in small patties, and it is mashed flat and turned over several times before being mashed flatter. The onions and buns are grilled on the same griddle, and the onions are grilled with some Worcestershire. Throw a little slice of cheese on each patty before stacking 'em up and topping em with the lettuce, tomato, et al.

THIS is what a burger should taste like. MAN. Sooo good. I'm never cooking on a skillet or even a grill again. I'm going have to improve my technique a bit - my patties were a bit too small, so they didn't fall out of the bun, which is important. A good burget should be messy. My patties started out about the right size, but I didn't mash them flat enough. I think the double grinding is important to get the patties to mash right. And I need to get a solid metal spatula so the meat doesn't squeeze through the slots in my current one.

Next time I'm going to have to get some old favorites - banana peppers and a kaiser roll. Also, I am gonna let it sit for maybe 5 minutes before I eat it, so the cheese does a mind-meld with the meat and become a fatastic new being. Maybe I'll throw an egg on top...


  1. Mmmmm. We do 1/4 pounders and make them as flat as we can between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Square, round, however they come out. They usually cover the bun and you can bite them without dislocating your jaw. This well done thing - it's just wrong. But almost well done is OK.

  2. Perhaps "well done" was a poor choice as a descriptor. I just mean NOT pink in the middle or even red, like a lot of folks seem to like their meat. I prefer my burgers cooked all the way through, with as much caramelized portions from the grill as possible. I don't mean all burnt to a crips.

  3. For my money, and maybe it's just the 12 years I lived in southwestern Ohio, the best burgers on the planet are at Zip's Cafe just off Mt. Lookout Square in Cincinnati. For five glorious months, I lived within walking distance of Zip's.

    My wife, who grew up in Middletown, OH, is also partial to The Jug, a Middletown landmark. You'd like their burgers - very thin, crispy edges. (They're very good, to be sure, but they ain't Zipburgers.)

    Best burger I've had here? Sadly, the place wasn't open for very long - Nico's Place in Hapeville, a one-minute walk from our house.



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