When Bin Lu was the head chef of two-starred Pineapple and Pearls, he spent his days meticulously assembling hundred-layer lasagne or cooking up tiny tartlets made with A5 wagyu, the crème de la crème of Japanese beef. These days, he’s focused that same attention to detail on somewhat heartier fare. To wit: His Blue Rock burger — named for his Rappahonnock eatery — takes everything you thought you knew about this American classic and pushes it up to 11.
“It’s modeled after the Big Mac,” he says, “which is sort of the iconic burger for so many people.”
Of course, the devil’s in the details. Lu begins with top-notch beef sourced from Virginia’s own Clint’s Cattle. Each 3½ ounce patty is griddled and topped with one slice each of American and sharp cheddar for a high level of gooeyness and flavor. He even takes special care to overlap the edges of the cheese so that they melt and crisp on the griddle.
While the patties are sizzling away, he turns his attention to the buns: Big Marty’s seeded buns are the only ones for him.
“They’re a perfect size, but more importantly have the soft texture we love for burgers,” he says.
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He can’t resist adding his own special flair, however, by brushing them with mustard-infused butter.
“We definitely wanted to toast our bun with butter,” he explains, “but wanted to add in extra flavors to help the bun caramelize and develop more complexity as it toasted.”
In keeping with this ode to the golden arches, the patties are layered around a middle bun cut out of white bread as well as a layer of “shredduce” made by combining classic iceberg and more flavorful romaine and seasoning with Lu’s homemade “1001 Island” dressing.
“We chop everything by hand, make our own mayonnaise, and season all of it carefully, rather than just relying on the strong flavors to bring it together,” he says.
The resulting burger manages to capture the best of top-quality ingredients without deviating too far from the classic we all know and love.
Blue Rock Burger
- 1 egg yolk
- 2¼ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups canola oil
- ⅔ cup ketchup
- ⅔ cup diced cornichons
- ¼ cup diced white onion
- 1 heaping tablespoon prepared horseradish, drained
- ½ clove garlic, microplaned
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 3⅓ tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3½ teaspoons honey
- ⅔ teaspoon salt
- 1 Big Marty’s seeded burger bun
- 1 slice white bread, cut into a 3.5″ round
- 2 (3½ ounce) beef patties
- 1 slice American cheese
- 1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup julienned romaine lettuce
- ¼ cup julienned iceberg lettuce
- Pickled red onions (or your favorite pickle) and shoestring fries, for serving
Make the 1001 Dressing. Combine the egg yolks, vinegar, Worcestershire and salt in a robot coupe or Vitamix. Emulsify in the canola oil, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Combine ¾ cup of the mayonnaise with the ketchup, diced cornichons, diced white onion, horseradish, microplaned garlic and black pepper. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
Make the mustard butter. Combine the butter, Dijon mustard, honey and salt in mixer and paddle together.
Cook the patties on the griddle until nice and golden brown on one side. After flipping, add the cheese so that it has time to melt, and so that overlapping edges can crisp on griddle.
While patties are cooking, brush each side of burger bun with mustard butter and griddle. Toss the shredduce with a bit of 1001 Island dressing to coat.
In order, assemble bottom bun, shredduce with 1001, first beef patty, middle bun, second beef patty, pickled onions or pickles, and then spread more 1001 on the top bun and assemble. Serve with extra crispy fries and ketchup and mayo.
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