Please Explain: Hamburgers

Friday, July 11, 2008

Please Explain is all about America's favorite sandwich - the hamburger! Find out how German hamburg steak became a classic meal all over the world. We'll also hear about the best burgers available, from fast food versions to grass-fed beef on brioche buns. George Motz has been called America's foremost hamburger expert; his 2005 documentary film is "Hamburger America"; he's also written a book called Hamburger America: One Man's Cross-Country Odyssey to Find the Best Burgers in the Nation. Josh Ozersky is the author of The Hamburger: A History.

Weigh in: Tell us about your ideal hamburger. What kind of bun, meat, and toppings do you love?


George Motz and Josh Ozersky

Comments [38]

Joanie from CT & NJ

If not White Manna, then Louie's Lunch in New Haven!

Jul. 15 2008 07:06 PM

cool recipe robert/35! will try.

Jul. 13 2008 08:52 PM
travis wilde from NYC

Wasn't the point of the discussion the "semiotic" burger, i.e.: enriched bun and ground beef (with or without cheese) cooked on a slab of well-used hot metal perhaps with onions? You can put whatever you want ON it or IN it and serve it on anything from focaccia to fried white bread, but the seminal hamburger is found on the road and next to impossible to fashion at home.
White Castle is good. I'm on my way to White Manna (Hackensack, NJ) after stopping at White Mana (Jersey City).

Jul. 13 2008 12:26 PM
robert from baton rouge, la

I buy whole ribeyes, have then cut and trim the outside, stringier (and fatter) portion of the steak off, grind that in my meat grinder. That is one fine burger.
Ketchup on a burger? Yuk! Ketchup is kids and french fries.

Jul. 12 2008 01:54 PM
and? and?

why on earth would you stop that guy in the middle of his recipe??

thanks for nuthin'

Jul. 11 2008 08:55 PM
Dick Dawkins from westchester

Never been to the other locations, but the Piper's Kilt in Eastchester, NY has the best burger I've ever had. Go there and tell me I'm wrong.

Jul. 11 2008 03:49 PM
Joachim Carels from At work in midtown

bacon and blue at Edward's on West Broadway cooked medium rare with a gin martini.
Oh I am hungry.

Jul. 11 2008 02:04 PM

What about bacon? makes every burger better.

Jul. 11 2008 02:01 PM
PJBeee from Ridgewood NJ


It took me over 30 years of grilling to learn is that to grill a burger rare, you have to remove it from the grill when the center is still pretty-much uncooked. It keeps cooking after you take off the flame. The same applies for steaks. It's an inexact science (in otherwords, it's an art form).

My other comment could be your "secret": McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning. Mix it with the burger meat or sprinkle it on steaks. And NO they do NOT pay me to say any of this, but I get lots of compliments when I use this product.

Jul. 11 2008 02:00 PM
Mickey Bitsko from Downtown Manhattan

You should have let the caller who was grillin' up some patties talk longer. He was the best part of the show!

Jul. 11 2008 01:56 PM
rob from pelham

What about Hiram's across from the ex-Palisades Park in NJ?

Jul. 11 2008 01:55 PM
Jon from East Elmhurst

In the Syracuse NY area and north to Canada they use horseradish on the burgers.

Jul. 11 2008 01:55 PM
ken trotta from jersey city

the white mana is in Jersey City NJ on Tonnelle Ave in Jersey City

Jul. 11 2008 01:53 PM
markbnj from


Jul. 11 2008 01:53 PM
dara b. from Brooklyn

I just had a burger from Five Guys in the Village. It was a pretty decent burger!

Jul. 11 2008 01:52 PM
Scott from Brooklyn


The Windmill on the Jersey Shore has good burgers. The main one is in Long Branch. There's this new place on Brighton Ave. in West End, but I haven't tried it yet.

Jul. 11 2008 01:51 PM
mark from south orange, NJ

No ketchup on hamburgers outside the coasts???

I grew up in Indiana and every single hamburger I ate as a child always had ketchup: from the backyard BBQ to school cafeteria, roadside diner, McDonalds, etc.

Jul. 11 2008 01:50 PM
Jack from Brooklyn

Why ia it still so hard to find a Loca Burger, a burger made from 100% grass fed beef from local farmers?

Jul. 11 2008 01:49 PM
hjs from 11211

and a side of mad cow please?

Jul. 11 2008 01:47 PM
mary from Red Bank, NJ

What is the best hamburger on the jersey shore?

Jul. 11 2008 01:45 PM
NJTom from Bayonne, NJ

Chuck chop from a good butcher (like 22nd St in Bayonne), form your own patties -- not too thick, not too thin. Cook over hot coals on your BBQ, serve on a grill toasted hamburger bun by itself or with ketchup, pickle &/or fresh onion if desired.

Jul. 11 2008 01:41 PM
Jon P. from Hewitt, NJ

I agree Mitch. In fact, I think god intended all meat (chicken, pork, beef, fish, etc…) to be cooked over an open flame, whether charcoal, wood or gas.

Jul. 11 2008 01:39 PM
Scott from Ridgefield, NJ

You mentioned the sliders in NJ... are you familiar with the White Manna feud between Hackensack and Jersey City??

Jul. 11 2008 01:39 PM
antonio from park slope

Is it me or does George sound like Charlie Sheen?

Jul. 11 2008 01:37 PM
Mitch from Manhattan

God intended the burger to be cooked directly over a flame, whether charcoal or wood.

Jul. 11 2008 01:35 PM

What a couple of burger snobs! Who cares if the guy likes barbecue sauce on his burger? Let him have it if he wants it. :P

Jul. 11 2008 01:34 PM
Tom from Upper West Side

Before forming the patty, add a splash of bourbon. The alcohol burns off in the cooking; the result is close to divine!

Tom (Upper West Side)

Jul. 11 2008 01:34 PM
LBS from NYC

I'm so happy that Five Guys has come to New York City in the past year or so. Their burgers are some of the best I've had anywhere.

Jul. 11 2008 01:30 PM
Sammi from NYC

For those who would like a little more taste in their burgers, I highly suggest mixing a little ketchup (about a full tablespoon for every pound of beef) and a little bit of oregano and lemon-pepper to the meat as you are mixing it to make your patties. I have gotten incredible feedback from people who have tasted them. They taste great even before put you anything else on them.

Jul. 11 2008 01:30 PM
Aaron from Brooklyn

I know what I'm getting for lunch....this segment has got my mouth a'waterrin'

Jul. 11 2008 01:29 PM
Neal from Port Washington

Yawn, what a waste of air time.

Jul. 11 2008 01:28 PM
hjs from 11211

before the hamburger no bun

of northern germany

Jul. 11 2008 01:28 PM

(I have done 3/4 fatty chuck and 1/4 something tasty like skirt. Last time I went to get burger meat/ I eatem about 1x per 6 wks/ the new butcher implied I was nuts for grinding a perfectly good skirt steak. Now I'm sensitive enough to post this to an internet website.

Incidentally I assume this recipe works for most kinds of burger meat, I'll not discriminate against those tasty non-cows! Though I'm not sure where the skirt is found on an emu...

Jul. 11 2008 01:18 PM
hjs from 11211

bison burgers, much better and better for u also.

Jul. 11 2008 01:06 PM

For those of you who have your meat ground:

What is the best combo of cuts? Why? And do you add anything else into the burger (like eggs, bread, etc?) CHRS

Jul. 11 2008 12:45 PM

Bleu cheese!

Jul. 11 2008 12:19 PM
Chicago Listener

make two slender patties and put cheese, peppers, grilled onions, etc. in between. pinch the sides to seal it up.

Jul. 11 2008 12:07 PM
David! from NYC

For my health: veggie burgers.

For my tastebuds: ground chuck, medium rare, on a seeded potato roll with southern-style chili, onions, and mustard.

Jul. 11 2008 11:50 AM

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