Picnic Episode III: Rendevous at Burger Mountain

Picnic Catering
(201) 321-3213

Last week recieved the following email from Christine Nunn, chef and owner of Picnic Caterers in Emerson, NJ:

I just returned from Disney. No, it was not the best burger I have eaten, since Disney must cook well done, but the best burger conceptually, and one that I’m putting on the menu on Monday. Ready? Set…. Here goes… Rare fresh ground beef burger… Tomato confit… Mushroom Duxelles… Onion jam… Bernaise sauce…Toasted French roll.. OMG…I can’t wait to make it my own… My béarnaise, which, I must say, is better than bottled epcot béarnaise.”

Now, if its one thing I have learned, is to take Christine very, very seriously whenever she emails me about things like this. And I knew that if she was making a burger, well, I knew I had to have one. I invited myself over today to document the burger-making process and to make one go into my stomach.

First we start with 80 percent lean ground chuck, which has been seasoned with salt and pepper. I agree with Christine that this is probably the ideal meat/fat ratio for a burger, and Chuck is better than sirloin for burgers.

I advise you not to be ravenously hungry before looking at the rest of these photos. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

From the very beginning, we start to see that this is no ordinary burger. Christine adds Herbes De Provence and a nice healthy shot of Worcestershire sauce.

The burger meat is mixed up good and allowed to rest.

Next, we have our mushrooms.

Which are then processed in the Robot Coupe along with some shallots.

The mushroom/shallot mixture is cooked in a pan with a healthy amount of butter.

Christine forms up some nice, healthy sized burger patties. I’d fix these at least 10 ounces pre-cooked weight.

Sweet Texas Onions are cooked until caramelized in yes, you know it, more butter.

Burgers are thrown on the grill to sear the meat.

The mushrooms cook down until they become a thicker consistency and loose their liquid.

A dry sherry is procured for flavoring the duxelles.

Sherry is added to duxelles.

Heavy cream is added, with salt to finish.

When burgers are seared, they are pulled off the grill and allowed to finish in the oven until medium-rare.

For the confit, vine-ripened tomatoes are cut up and run thru the Robot Coupe.

Then they are cooked down with… uh, more butter.

Keeping an eye on everything.

For the Sauce Bearnaise, we need tarragon vinegar.

And some fresh butter (more butter!!!!) and eggs.

Tarragon Vinegar is reduced for a minute or two on the stove on high heat and allowed to cool down. Then 3 egg yolks are added and whisked up into the vinegar.

The egg/vinegar mixture is returned to the stove, where all the butter is gradually added in. In culinary school they teach you to do this on a double boiler so you don’t scald the eggs, but a real pro like Christine can do without it.

To complete the sauce, fresh tarragon is chopped up and added back into the Bearnaise.

Each burger bun gets a pat of butter, and is then toasted on the grill.

The burgers come Off The Broiler.

Nice and toasty buns.

Final burger assembly begins.

That looks good enough to eat already. But its not done yet.

A layer of caramelized onions…

Tomato confit…



A touch of bearnaise… the bun is topped… Finis!

Which angle do you prefer?

36 Responses to Picnic Episode III: Rendevous at Burger Mountain

  1. So said the man that Louis Lunch was not a burger!!!

  2. C’mon Josh. What part of it made you go ‘ew, the Bearnaise and Duxelles? Even White Manna has caramelized onions. The Tomato confit is a brilliant replacement for ketchup and sliced tomato.

  3. daisy says:

    omg! that looks delish!

  4. MJP says:

    Looks good, but I think it’s doing too much to a burger. Don’t get me wrong – it looks tasty, I would eat it, but I’d rather have a burger I made at home with the basics. Raw onion, tomato, India relish, ketchup, mustard.

  5. Pat says:

    Oh! I can’t possibly let my sons get a glimpse of those burgers or I will be in the kitchen all afternoon! Knife and fork or spectacularly messy eating, Jason?

  6. Pat lets just say that my golf shirt that I wore today is a casualty of war.

  7. Scott A. says:

    FedEx to FLORIDA? Please!!!

  8. lauren says:

    what? no cheese? ;)

  9. ScottyDaQ says:

    Interesting. But why use a cheap bun? Seems to take away from the real point you’re trying to make with the gourmet burger. A nice crusty homemade bun about an inch more in diameter would’ve made it easier to eat.

    P.S. She needs better whisks….those suck. LOL. :)

  10. […] wollte ich kein Fast Food mehr zu mir nehmen. So ein Kunstwerk würde ich mir trotzdem […]

  11. lotuseater says:

    Me so hungry now…

  12. I live in NJ. Please tell me where I can find this burger!

  13. cenunn says:

    We left all our whisks at a catering job over the weekend. I impressed myself that I could make the sauce with that one!

  14. Brooks says:

    No ketchup? Commie Bastards.

  15. slighterman says:

    Looks nice. I would try, but I have to make my wife to invest the effort to prepare. Bon apetite – as the French says.

  16. nola2chi says:

    BACON??!!! Where’d THAT come from? I thought I was paying attention. Looks and sounds amazing. Seems it should come with a chef’s apron.
    And I was not, “ravenously hungry before” reading this, but am now!

  17. Bill says:

    Overkill! How about a burger half the size. Also, there are just TOO MANY flavors here. I would do without the duxelles, and perhaps the bacon. The confit is a brilliant idea, though. Onions, yes!

  18. Paul says:

    Two Words- Ground Brisket No other cut to use. Makes chuck taste like ground round.

  19. I think brisket is nice to add as part of an overall burger mix, but I would not use it solely. Chuck very good to use if you don’t have a burger mix per se. My personal preference if you are going to use a mix would be like 20 percent brisket, 30 percent 80 percent lean sirloin and 50 percent chuck. Or all Wagyu if you’ve got the money. :)

  20. Rebecca263 says:

    My heart hurts just looking at it. That burger is 3 meals in one!

  21. […] How to make a proper burger. Do not follow this link if you are already hungry! […]

  22. […] from Lovescool, Potato Salad from M3rNi3, Pancetta-Ricotta Crostini from My husband cooks, the most mouth watering burger I’ve ever seen from Off the Broiler, Cream-Braised Brussels Sprouts from Orangette, Microwave […]

  23. […] by this post at Off the Broiler, my husband and I attempted to recreate that drool-incuding burger. […]

  24. Atomic645 says:

    Good god, Caloric-a-mundo. Gotta love it.

  25. […] 6th, 2007 by Hoshi Eigentlich wollte ich kein Fast Food mehr zu mir nehmen. So ein Kunstwerk würde ich mir trotzdem […]

  26. ideakh says:

    leeeeet , I’m hungry how can i eat this Burger !!!!

  27. Julie says:

    wowzers! looks fabulous!

  28. Davis says:

    I found this blog from a link in another blog about Christine’s computer, Any one claiming to have the best burger needs to be investigated. While I do prefer my mushroons sliced and sautéed in red wine, I am more than willing to experiment. Enough talk time to create one….

  29. Coffeejolts says:

    I think the burger patty itself is a little on the tall side. It looks delicious, but impossible to eat without it falling apart

  30. Steve G says:

    Nice set of flavors, but it looks like a textural disaster with everything chopped fine, pureed, or emulsified, including the beef, which looks like it was handled too much at warm temperature. Also, why the cream in the duxelles? There’s fat overkill here.

  31. […] endlich gebührend erwähnt wird. Fotos und Rezept sind natürlich wieder überirdisch gut. Diese Burgerrezepte sind für die Ferien geplant (nech S. […]

  32. […] had to up the ante in over-thet-top sandwich insanity, particulary when competing with Nunn’s Rendev0us at Burger Mountain, the Ultimate BLT and the Foie […]

  33. […] duxelles, tomato confit, bacon and sauce Bearnaise. This was actually developed a few years ago as an extreme burger project a few years ago as a one-off for an Off The Broiler post. Now you you can actually order it on the menu on some nights. If it’s popular, it might make […]

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