Crop Kitchen's Steve Schimoler walks us through the evolution of the perfect burger.
Concept: The CK Double Double Burger ($12) is the first burger Steve Schimoler has allowed on one of his dinner menus in 30 years. Inspired by his favorite In-N-Out meal, the two 4-ounce beef patties are topped with smoked cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and a coarse-grain mustard aioli. "It's kind of deceptively simple," he says. "But this one took more work than probably any dish on the menu."
Meat: Originally, the burger started with an 8-ounce patty. But Crop Kitchen's wood- and charcoal-fired ovens and grills run at about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. While it's great for imparting char and smokiness for the most flavorful patty possible, it also presented a problem. "Because [the grill] is so hot, we were getting way too much charring," he says. "The burger was still rare." So Schimoler settled on two thinner patties, which not only cooked in less than three minutes but also
Bun: Schimoler estimates it took Zoss the Swiss Baker at least three tries to make Crop Kitchen's onion rolls. "They were originally way too doughy, very solid," he says. Baked up with a light, airy texture, the bun is sized to match the cooked patties and topped with toasted onion according to Schimoler's idea of the perfect ratio. "Hey, it's an onion roll. It's really got to have onions on it, not just a few little garnishes."
Toppings: There's nothing too fancy about the CK Double Double's lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle toppings (bacon can be added as well). "We wanted it to be kind of old-school," Schimoler explains. To add a little character, though, he went with two slices of smoked cheddar from his favorite Amish dairy, Middlefield Cheese. "We wanted to see an orange cheese on it, [which is] more retro than white cheddar."