End Results: we made some pretty hostile burgers. We were inspired by the famed burgers of Kuma's Corner in Chicago. Have you been there? Their website describes Kuma's as "a place with the most mouthwatering meat laid upon pretzel rolls in a dazzling presentation made for Odin himself while listening to bone crushing metal and rock and roll." I think they are on to something. Burgers and metal are a match made in heaven, don't you think?
Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to try a Kuma's burgers, but Kurt (a former Chicago resident) sometimes likes to reminisce about the hole-in-the wall, heavy metal burger joint that pays homage to bands like Pantera, Metallica and Iron Maiden by granting them their own unique hamburger. For example, the Black Sabbath burger entails blackening spice, chili, pepper jack, and red onion. The Melvins burger is topped with fresh basil, prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and onion. I hear you can opt for chicken or vegetarian options, and every burger is served on a soft pretzel bun. It's rad.
Although metal is certainly alive and well in our hearts, I think I'll just be generic and refer to our masterpiece as the Whirly Burger. First, I busted out my tried and true soft pretzel recipe. Instead of forming pretzel shapes, I wrapped the ropes of dough into fist-sized pinwheels to create a better suited vehicle for a burger of epic proportions. Kurt ground a couple of pounds of sirloin, then whipped up a big batch of impromptu avocado spread, which he later dubbed "guacadile sauce." The Whirly Burger went like this: pretzel bun, burger, melted edam, lettuce, tomato, caramelized peppers and onions, guacadile sauce.
For my fellow hamburgologists, here's a super delicious pretzel bun recipe, adapted from Alton Brown's Homemade Soft Pretzels.
You will need:
Rob Halford would probably say, "Praise the goat," but I think it should be more like, "Praise the cow!" He heh heh. Happy hamburgering.
- 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for pan
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt (or coarse kosher salt)
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine warm water, salt and sugar. Sprinkle on yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture looks "foamy". Dump in flour and melted butter, and with the dough hook attachment, mix on the slowest speed until well incorporated. Switch it to medium speed and let it go until the dough is smooth and starts to pull away from the bowl.
Place dough in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it relax in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with lightly greased parchment paper and set aside. Fill an 8 qt. saucepan with water and the baking soda. Bring to a rolling boil.
While you wait for the water to boil, turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and divide it into 8 equal sections. Roll each piece into a 12" rope. Roll the ropes into pinwheels (like a snail or a cinnamon bun). Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
One at a time, using a spatula, gently place pretzel rolls into the boiling water for 30 seconds. This will give them that shiny, firm exterior. Using the spatula, remove them from water and place on sheet pans. Brush the tops of each pretzel roll with the egg wash and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until they are dark golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing into buns.