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Sunday, October 23, 2011

“Sandwich Seminar, Pt. III: How to make the Best Hamburgers in the World”

The Grateful Dead’s fifty-fifth album, “So Many Roads (1965-1995),” was released in November 1999 and was a great collection of the best of the Dead from start to finish. As always, the Grateful Dead’s compilations are extensive, developed, and complete and this one is no exception.  We therefore recommend that you buy it and think you will be delighted with it so please take the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and get it now! You won’t be disappointed!  Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.

Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 425 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!


                                                   STINKBUG 2011


Chef Brian Carrick

END Commentary 10-24-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,557.



Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Monday, October 24, 2011 by Chef Brian Craig Carrick


 Sandwich Seminar, Pt. III: How to make the Best Hamburgers in the World

Bakersfield, CA, 10-24-2011 M: Greetings, friends!  I haven’t been here since July 20, 2011 and am very happy to be here as ONE week from now, I will be marrying the Lovely Lady Linda E. Payne and we will be man-and-wife and I am so excited!  I have never had a woman as lovely as she in my life—ever!—and I hope we’re together until the very end of time.  She is such a lovely angel that to have found her after having had my heart destroyed on 11-08-2010 was a miracle.  She is the most precious woman and has made life worth living for me again.  I owe her my life: thank you, Lindy, I love you very much!

            We are going to return to our short-lived Sandwich Seminar and make some sandwiches this week which includes burgers and along with them, I will also be giving you a recipe or two of different sauces and accompaniments that you might care to use with them.  We haven’t really delved deeply in sandwiches very much so when Stinkbug held out his infamous hat to me and I drew out the Sandwich Card, I was elated because what better way to prepare for next Monday than by doing fun and easy recipes that everyone will love.  I hope that because of my offerings that you, your family, your friends, and your fellow employees and co-workers will ALL join us as followers and will leave your comments for us.  We want to be the best online reference site for people interested in finding out food information, recipes, and foodservice news than anyone else presently out there on the Internet.  We can and will become the best resource for those of you involved in professional foodservice and for those of you who would like to be or who would at least like to know the secrets of the professional kitchen. Let’s go:


Yield:  4-6 servings / Mis-en-place: 1 hour/ Cooking Time: 10 minutes or less. 

30% ground beef

Lawrey’s seasoned salt

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Granulated garlic

Granulated onion

Smoked hickory salt

Dried parsley flakes

Worcestershire sauce


A-1 Steak Sauce


1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work.

2.      Using an electric mixer equipped with a paddle attachment, place half of the ground beef on the bottom, then the seasonings and sauces, and then the rest of the meat and begin rotating the paddle on low speed until the mixture is combined.

3.      Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes; then, pull it out and form 4-6 patties of equal size, separating each with a piece of wax paper.  Chill again for 10-20 minutes.

4.      To cook, press the patties into ones about 5” across and about .75” thick.  Cook on a hot broiler, turning over only once or twice at most and baste with vegetable oil as they cook.  Be sure that all hamburger products reach a minimum of 160°F and preferably 165°F in order to combat E-coli bacteria. 

5.      Note: always pay attention to where you buy your meat.  It is important to buy meat at stores where you know it’s fresh and preferably is ground within the store.  Meat bought in bulk usually comes from many different animals and it’s this combining together of various meats that can lead to foodborne illness.  Fresh-ground is best and if you can buy your own top round and grind it yourself, you are doing you and your family a great service because you are almost 99.9% guaranteeing them that they won’t get a bacterial foodborne illness. Pay attention to the health code rating placed in the windows of your grocery store and if a place doesn’t have a consistent “A” rating, shop somewhere else.

This is a great recipe that you will find extremely tasty.  Now let’s cook some hamburgers—shall we?

For me, there’s nothing in the culinary world better than a well-prepared hamburger, which I guess doesn’t say a great deal about my epicurean tongue; however, “I am what I am” or so said a once-famous American from long ago, Popeye the Sailor Man!  With this, we launch Part I of our fabulous hamburgers segment of our Sandwich Seminar:

This is a story about how my friend, Chef Aaron Homer and I discovered the “perfect hamburger” when we worked together at the post-bankruptcy Rodeway Inn that went down to unmitigated disaster when the Milligan’s bankrupted both this restaurant and the Hilton Inn in 1976.  This hotel was reopened by a major Bakersfield real estate developer and owner who picked this place up once it went on the sales’ block.  He had to back out after awhile due to difficult business dealings and his loser son bought the place and did his best to run the crew off so he could bring in a bunch of scabs.  That story will be discussed at a later time.

Anyhow, what started out as a joke (the search for the “perfect burger”) became a serious investigation with concrete results by the time we concluded our experiments. 

The principal question was the one concerning the meat; namely, should it be cooked on the broiler or should it be fried on the griddle?  Most restaurants have both a broiler and a griddle (the “flat-top” for the professionals) while most drive-in restaurants have only a griddle and cook EVERYTHING on it: burgers, corned beef, pastrami, hotdogs (unless they have a steamer, too), bacon, onions, it’s all cooked on it and the foods have a melded flavor that sometimes can be disgusting.  McDonald’s was the first fast-food super drive in that became a chain and spread throughout the world like a cancer and they fried their burgers on the flat-top and still do.  Later, when Burger King arrived on the scene, they advertised “flame-broiled burgers” and became very popular.

So, we looked at what we knew—A & W, McDonald’s, and Burger King: the three principal models upon which, everything else are based.  We made the decision to scrap the broiler, NO broiled burgers so we decided we would use the “Classic Drive-in Method,” fried meat but NOT like McDonald’s because we would use only the choicest 100% with 30% fat because it’s there that the flavor of the meat is, in the fat.   But please, do not get us wrong, no one would want a diet of 30% fat ground beef every day, all we decided was that to make the best facsimile to the old drive-ins of the past, we would use this mode.

Important note #1: the broiler robs a hamburger of much of its natural juices and if you’re going to eat one, why eat meat with the personality of cardboard?  ‘Nuff said!  Let’s continue!

So, in switching to the griddle, we stumbled onto the correct way to cook our meat.  You see, it isn’t enough to just let the burger patties sizzle on it in their own juices, they had to cook in a little bit of “oil” (“grease” to you gastronomes)—yes, oil, because it’s when combined with the meat’s natural juices and with plenty of salt, black pepper, and garlic, then and only then, was the magical flavor of the past reproduced!

The final touch came when we cooked the burger medium-rare (with a great deal of pink showing in the center) and left it slightly greasy (oh, I know, some of you are going to lose patience with me, but remember, Aaron and I were only “searching” for an elusive piece of Americana, not a new dietary standard, my friends!)  You know, what Chuck Berry sang about in his song, “Back in the U.S.A.”, “hamburgers sizzling on an open grill night and day…”

And then, when we topped our juicy, thick patties with a thick slice of American cheese, we knew we were getting closer to our goal!

The next “problem” arose in the form of garnishes—what kind and how to prepare them.  Onions naturally top the list, but a thick slice of raw onion just didn’t “get it” in our professional opinions so we grilled them right alongside the sweltering meat in its own juices and that hit the spot!

Important note #2: the onions needed to be “chopped,” grilled, and slightly greasy!  Wow, there’s that word again!

The next two items we investigated were the lettuce and tomato.  A leaf of iceberg just isn’t “classic” drive-in, so we shredded it instead and then with the tomato, we decided that a big hunk of that wouldn’t get it either so we opted for several slices of paper-thin that would easily disappear underneath the condiments. 

Finally, choosing a pickle was the least difficult of our myriad decisions because dill slices were the one and only choice for a good drive-in hamburger like this, our fantastic recreation!  Sort of like making the Frankenstein Monster you might say; besides we were completely satisfied with our progress.

Important note #3: I’d like to make one thing clear—one must understand that our study of what makes the “perfect hamburger” took several weeks of our time but wait till you see our upgrade on the meat!  But, we’ll save that for a few more minutes…

You see, professional cooks really don’t get that much time to eat on the job themselves and when they do, they usually don’t because of food burnout.  Besides, there isn’t a person among us, we concluded, who could eat a hamburger (and a greasy one at that!) every day without becoming sick to their stomach or suffering a nervous breakdown and believe me, and I spent six weeks inside the nut house!  Ah, well, enough of that, let’s continue!

The time has come to discuss the final items that will make our burger the “real deal”:  mayonnaise and mustard are a given and when combined together with sweet relish, they form our “secret sauce.”  Finally, you need Thousand Island dressing that is rich and creamy; yum!  So far, so good!  Only one more thing to pontificate about—the bun!  Aaron and I both emphatically ruled out plain buns and opted for the sesame seed buns because that’s what makes our burger stand out: they’re sturdier, tastier, and sometimes more expensive but wait until you see the meat!

Now, I would like to share with you a few simple recipes with you if you are a dedicated connoisseur of drive-in gourmet.  After all, Aaron and I were proud of our accomplishments at the time even though our insides paid an exorbitant price and what’s more, we probably didn’t eat a burger again for a decade, stuck to hot dogs and tacos!  But no price is too high, my friends, in the search for culinary knowledge.  Therefore, without further adieu, I will share our recipe with you!

The Perfect Hamburger

1. Mis-en-place:  everything at the ready! To serve FOUR:

Ground filet and New York steak with the fat
See your butcher!
Fatty bacon
Sesame seed hamburger buns

Melted butter
For the buns
2-oz slices
American cheese

Secret sauce
Ripe vine-ripened tomatoes
Paper thin
Shredded iceberg lettuce

Dill pickle chips

Thousand island dressing

“Secret Sauce”
Best Foods’ mayonnaise

Sweet pickle relish

Gulden’s brown mustard

To taste
Salt and black pepper


1)     Combine the ingredients for the “Secret Sauce” and refrigerate.

2)     Hamburger preparation: place the burger patties on a hot griddle or in a skillet along with the onions and the bacon (if using) with a little bit of oil (our “grease”).  Season to taste with kosher salt, black pepper, and granulated garlic.  Cook the meat medium-rare, the bacon crisp, and the onions limp—like my first wife, La Christina! 

3)     At the same time, spread the buns with melted butter and brown them on the griddle, too, away from the “grease”—they’ll be greasy soon enough.

4)     When the meat’s ready, place two slices of medium-rare bacon (a little bit underdone has a lot of delicious flavor!) on top of each patty (if using) followed by cheese.  Allow cheese to melt.  Top off with grilled onions.

Slather both sides of each pair of buns with “secret sauce.”  On the bottom half, place three tomato slices, four pickles, and finally, a patty.  On top of the patties, drizzle a little Thousand Island dressing and finish with a mound of shredded lettuce.  Put on the tops, wrap with wax paper (they seem to taste so much better this way!) by laying out a sheet, putting a burger top-side-down and fold the paper up from the bottom and then fold over and secure with a toothpick.  Now, they’re ready to serve!

As my good friend, Gervais Krinkelmeier mentioned to you all yesterday, I have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

We have made it through our first day my friends and I am excited about the fact that next Monday, I will be getting married.  This week is sort of like a vacation of sorts as I prepare myself for the upcoming ceremony and then the Princess Cruises around the Hawaiian Islands.  I cannot tell you how much I love my bride-to-be, she is an exceptional woman that I am fortunate enough to have found.  After being dumped and destroyed by Iowa last year, I cannot do anything but thank the Lord for having bestowed the Lovely Lady Linda upon me. Thank you, Lord!  I owe you big time! Anyhow, please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by the Grateful Dead and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com.  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!    

Thank you, my friends!

Brian Carrick

Brian Carrick

American Culinary Federation, Inc., Retired Member

This is me in 1985 at a Chefs de Cuisine of Greater Bakersfield dinner in Bakersfield, CA, at one of our participating member's foodservice establishments. I began my culinary career in 1969 bussing tables at age 12 and became a cook's apprentice in 1973 at age 17.


END Commentary for Monday, October 24, 2011 by Chef Brian Craig Carrick

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.


This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Brian Craig Carrick

Recipes created by Chef Brian Craig Carrick on July 28, 1984 in Bakersfield, CA.



“Stinky” of the Elemental News of the Day for the best of the news, politics, sports, foodservice, hotel and restaurant business, the end times, the end of days, the apocalypse, armageddon, and whatever else happens to pop up!




This is #1212 an 11” x 14" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Smoke Tree Sunset." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

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