In the kitchen: Baked Burgers

We have some good fries and burgers out here in the DMV: Five Guys, Good Stuff, The Burger Joint, Rogue States, Michel Richard’s BLT, Ray’s Hell Burger, Crossfire. But just like with cupcakes, it feels like we’re merely riding the coattails of our fine burger-makin’ bros up north in the Big Apple.

Specifically the fine folks at the Corner Bistro in the West Village. Oh baby.
See that line coming out of that pub at 331 West 4th? That’s the place. Get in that line. And if you can’t, have I got a recipe for you…
When it’s your turn, settle down in a booth in the dark wood paneled back room. Order yourself a pint of the local brew (McSorley’s) and a Bistro Burger (which comes with cheese and bacon), plus an order of fries (with malt vinegar, natch). Sit back and enjoy this NYC burger institution. Before you leave, watch the guys do their thing- lining huge metal sheet pans with giant, softball-size lumps of fresh ground sirloin; sliding them into the oven, opening the door on occasion to pat them down and let them bake a little more. And they toast their buns, did I mention that?
And if you can’t schlep all the way there, grab some 80/20 ground beef, season it with freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Pat a 1/3 cup of it out into a patty, then crank up your oven to 375F– because you and your beef deserve better than a mere frying pan. (And if you live in an apartment with no balcony, you don’t want to be messing with a grill. Trust me.)
Slap your patty of awesome onto a baking sheet or a bit of foil and slide it into the oven. Wait 10 minutes (during which time you might want to slide in the buns, or just put them in the toaster). Remove and let your burger sit for another 5 minutes– in between, resist the urge to press down on the meat, because that will drain all the lovely juices and dry out your burger. Get out the A1.
You know what’s really good with this? Skin-on sweet potato fries. Fo’ sho.
Same oven, scrub then slice your ‘tater into matchsticks (larger if you can wait for them to roast longer). Toss the ‘tater sticks with olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and a bit of salt. Spread out on a cookie sheet (or some foil) so that they aren’t crowded together. Bake for, oh, 15-20 minutes. Douse those guys in malt vinegar.
Grab your churchkey, open up a bottle of your favorite local amber ale, or porter. Because as Ben Franklin says “Beef is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. And it’s good with a beer.” Well, okay, maybe not quite like that…

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