When I have a good dish at a restaurant, I sometimes try to recreate it. I’ll chronicle these things in the Copycat at Home series.
I went to Holeman & Finch a year ago after learning about their famed burger. Though it was raining and we had to wait for an Uber, I insisted that my boss Dusty and I go. We had a few drinks and small plates (beets and charcuterie, if I recall), and each reserved one of the 24 burgers for the 10pm serving. It was incredibly delicious.
Fast forward one year: Amanda and I were watching Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover on Netflix and he went to Holeman & Finch. Overcome with the memories of that delicious burger that all rushed back to me, I vowed to recreate it.
I think I came pretty close. Regardless, this process took my burgers-at-home game to a higher level. Here are my notes.
H&F makes their own buns in-house. I’m not quite there yet, so I took a look at a bunch of photos of the H&F burgers and decided to go with a French brioche bun.
It is important to toast the inside of the bun to get a nice squish on top with a slight crunch as you bite in to the burger. The easiest way to do this is to lightly butter the inside, then place place it butter-side down in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes.
The chef at H&F grinds his own blend of beef in-house and is pretty tight-lipped about it. He uses a blend of brisket and chuck, so the beef should have a high fat to lean ratio. I decided to go with 20% fat, 80% lean for this version, and I’m pleased with that. This commonly goes under the name, “ground chuck” at the store. Spare me the jokes, I’ve heard most of them.
Make two 4oz patties, keep them thin to maximize the Maillard reaction, then sear them over medium high heat until golden brown on each side. When you flip the burger, add the onions on the side you just seared and cover with a slice of cheese. See topping notes below.
- American cheese – Go to the store and get some delicious processed Kraft American “cheese.”
- Onions soaked in water – H&F uses red onions. I made this burger on three separate occasions with different ingredients and didn’t have much of an opinion either way on whether the onions were red or yellow. Use what you have on hand. Slice them and soak them in water until ready to use.
- Pickles – H&F uses bread and butter pickles that they make in-house. I prefer half sour pickles, so I used those. Your preference.
Take the two finished patties, stack them on top of the toasted bottom bun, top off with a few pickle slices, then put the toasted top bun on top of it all. Devour.
- Once you’ve made this burger a few times, you’ll become fast enough at it to make it for lunch. Delicious.
- I use a cast iron skillet for searing all meat.
- I tried one burger with a spicy aioli on the bottom bun. This isn’t traditional for the H&F burger, but it is certainly a tasty addition.