When Tyler Florence was creating hamburgers for his new restaurant, his goal was simple — a burger that stays moist no matter how well-done it is cooked.
The solution was all a matter of numbers — one month of experimenting with the percentage of fat and the number of cuts of meat.
“Most people do an 80-20 lean-to-fat ratio,” Florence, whose Wayfare Tavern opened recently in San Francisco, said in a telephone interview. “We go 75-to-25 ratio, so it’s a little fattier. So even if you like it well done, it’s still nice and moist.”
For the cuts of meat, Florence settled on four of them — prime rib, brisket, skirt steak and filet. And after they are ground (at another facility), it’s mostly a hands-off procedure.
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“When it comes in, no one is really allowed to touch it except to take it out of the package and weigh it out,” said Florence, host of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.” “It gets touched once before it goes on the grill. It loses that fluffiness once you work it too much. It starts to become chewy really quickly.”
Florence was equally exacting when it came toppings.
“You can’t just put stuff on top of the burger for the sake of it,” he said. “To me, it’s got to be very purposeful stuff. You have to really think it through so it’s a complimentary flavor and not a distraction from the burger.”
For the AP’s 20 Burgers of Summer series, Florence opted for an intensely savory and creamy combination of oven-roasted red onions, lemon aioli and brie.
WAYFARE TAVERN LEMON AIOLI
Makes 1 cup
1 egg yolk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup grapeseed oil
Salt and ground black pepper
In a food processor, combine the yolk and lemon juice. Pulse until just combined.
With the processor running, gradually pour in the grapeseed oil. Process until the mixture is creamy and emulsified.
Season with salt and pepper, then cover and chill until ready to serve.
WAYFARE TAVERN BURGER
1/2 pound ground prime rib
1 pound ground brisket
1 pound ground skirt steak
1/2 pound ground filet
8 hamburger buns
Kosher salt and pepper
1 large red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch rings
1 cup lemon aioli (recipe above)
1/2 pound brie (Florence favors Cowgirl Creamery Triple Cream Brie), cut into thin slices
In a large bowl, mix the prime rib, brisket, skirt steak and filet together until well blended, but not overworked.
Divide the meat into 8 portions and shape into patties. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Arrange the onion slices in a single layer on the prepared pan. Roast the onion slices for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
Heat the grill on high.
Grill the burgers to desired doneness, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
Top the bottom half of each roll with a burger, some of the red onions, aioli and brie.