Spike Mendelsohn

The Burger Bible from Top Chef’s Spike Mendelsohn

June 15, 2010 at 9:08 am , by

Love making burgers, but want to get more bang for your bun? Spike Mendelsohn, Top Chef Season 4 contestant and owner of D.C.’s Good Stuff Eatery (a Michelle Obama fave) gives us a glimpse of his new cookbook and shares tips for preventing boring burgers.

What can we expect to see in The Good Stuff Cookbook?
“Everyone loves to have cookouts in the summer and make burgers and sides, but most need guidance… this book is about sharing what we do at the restaurant because we’ve worked hard to perfect our unique recipes and know they’re working.”

Where’s the Beef?
Most of us think burgers and beef are one in the same, but Spike’s Good Stuff recipes also include turkey, chicken, pork, and lamb! “The thing to know is that ladies love turkey burgers,” says Chef Spike (a man we can relate to!). “For one of my turkey burgers, I add celery, scallions, apples, and lemon juice – then it’s all about sauces and toppings, like avocado or carmelized onions. I also have a pork burger with a tamarind glaze that I top with red cabbage slaw and grilled pineapple. If you like lamb, try the ‘Big Fat Greek Burger’ with whipped feta and cumin scented yogurt. There is even a fried chicken burger which features gingered honey mustard and sautéed collard greens. In other words, if you’re going to try different meats, there are ways that will make it the best burger you’ve ever had and we’ve fine tuned every combination.”

Spike’s Taste Tips
1. After prepping, wrap your patties in wax paper so ingredients can mesh together.
2. Don’t press your patties while they’re cooking – why risk losing any flavorful juices?
3. Make sure the burger is done right – heat a large skillet over medium heat or adjust your grille accordingly: 1 ½ mins on each side to sear / 2 ½ mins  for rare / 3 mins  for medium rare / 4 mins for medium.

4. Make your own condiments – this adds another layer of flavor to any burger (ie: seasoned mayo)
5. Serving burgers on potato buns makes a big difference – butter both sides and toast them.
6. Go-to burger boosters:  fresh herbs, applewood smoked bacon, and daikon radish.

Photo courtesy of:  Joe Shymanski