Saturday, May 14, 2011

Burger Throwdown: Burger Seasonings

Walking down the aisle, I saw these two characters sitting next to each other on the shelf.   It was an impulse buy that I couldn't resist. 

I wanted to try them in an "all other things considered equal" situation so I decided it was time for a burger throwdown, mano a mano.  Or I guess more like burgero a burgero....

Side by side they don't look all that different.  Both have a good blend of textures and colors.  

Emeril's Grill Bam!burger seasoning was $.47 per ounce and Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning was $.49 per ounce.

I took Mike Davis' (Team Lotta Bull, champion BBQ team) BBQ Boot Camp** last year and one of the tricks he taught was to taste rubs straight by themselves to check the balance, blend, and flavors they will bring.   I tried that with these seasonings and both had a lot going on.  Emeril's seemed a little saltier.  Weber's had more of a smokiness to it. 


To minimize the variables, I tried to make this as equal as possible, using the same beef grind and cooking them over the same fire.  I weighed out 3 separate pounds of 80/20 ground chuck.  To each I added 1 egg yolk as a binder and 3 Tablespoons of panko bread crumbs.

Following package directions, I added 2 teaspoons of the Weber to one batch and 2 Tablespoons of the Emeril's to another batch.   Yea, teaspoons vs Tablespoons, I checked the label 3 times because it sounded wrong.  In the third batch I used a simple burger seasoning of 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.

I carefully weighed the mixture into 5.3 ounce portions and pressed them out into 4" patties.  I'm not normally so exact with my burger weight but I wanted everything but the seasoning to be the same.  

I grilled them for 8 minutes, flipping every two minutes, over a 450f fire.

Finally, time for taste testing!  
What?  You didn't think I was going to eat 3 whole burgers, did you?

My preference was the burger made with the Weber seasoning.  I thought it had a spicy flavor but it didn't overpower the burger.  Alexis also liked the Weber burger best.  The two boys (22 y/o and 11 y/o) both chose the burger with basic seasoning as their favorites.  

Nobody liked the Emeril's burger.   My youngest asked if I made that burger out of sausage and my older son said that it tasted like a turkey burger trying to be a real burger.  The seasoning just dominated the flavor of the burger, it wasn't enjoyable at all.  I don't think the seasoning is "bad", I think the instructions calling for 2 Tablespoons is just way too much.  I'll try it again but only use 2 teaspoons next time.

If you need a premade burger seasoning, I'd recommend the Weber.  Overall, I would stick with making your own burger seasoning.  Start with the basic seasoning and then add whatever signature flavors you like, maybe some worcestershire sauce or bbq sauce.  You get to experiment with flavors more that way and it's a lot cheaper than almost $.50 an ounce.

**Speaking of which, Mike Davis is teaching a class at Dead End BBQ next weekend (Sunday 5/22/11), you can still sign up.

21 comments:

  1. You've done us a mitzvah, Chris.

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  2. I received two containers of the Weber Gourmet burger seasoning as a gift. Recently, I broke them open to try them. I have liked them. It's nice sometimes to just open a container and sprinkle without making my own.

    I have not compared this to others as I haven't tried other pre-made seasonings for burgers.

    My wife even has commented on the flavor of the seasoning.

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    1. I use this mix on ribs, steaks, chick, and smoked pork chops, works well with all these, tasty lil rub.

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  3. I know it's not a readily available grocery store item, but I highly recommend Back of the Yards Seasoning from The Spice House for burgers and steaks. We used to be within walking distance of their Evanston, IL store, but now I have to resort to ordering on-line, but I think all of their spices are such high quality that it is absolutely worth it!

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  4. Great job Chris. Nice fun little test.

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  5. Great test and good info. You made me hungry . . . again.

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  6. Great job Chris, but I usually use Dizzy Dust and love the results. See you next weekend at Dead End

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  7. Making burgers tonight . . . think I'll go with option C. Okay okay, I'll probably also add some A1, minced onion and jalapeno (per Mango Chili & Z). . . . or some smoked chipolte pepper . . . eessh too many choices for this hungry gal. :) nom nom nom

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  8. I love throwdowns. More please!

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  9. Interesting. I still love Snider's Prime Rib dry rub for my burgers... so good!

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  10. I'll be going to BlogHer in Atlanta next weekend, so although I won't be able to go to the Dead End class, I'll be surrounded by good food, just the same! I am a purist with burgers- just salt, pepper and garlic powder (just a little). But if I were going to add something, it would probably be Northwoods seasoning from Penzey's.

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  11. I had a hunch that Weber product would win. It had me at "smoky". Love the throw down post Chris.

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  12. Nice comparison Chris - taste testing is a favorite thing of ours.

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  13. I've always wondered how Emril's burger seasoning was...thank you for testing it for me :)

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  14. Love the throw-down Chris. Hope you'll do more. Perhaps a series.

    I had a hunch, just as Lea Ann did, that Weber would win. But I also had a feeling that in the end that you would prefer to make your own. Sometimes I wonder how long that stuff sits on the shelf at the supermarket.
    Sam

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  15. "burgero a burgero"

    heh heh

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  16. Definitely a great test! Lately our favorite is Montreal Steak Grill Mates or Weber's Grill Creations N'Orleans Cajun for our burgers.

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  17. great throwdown! it's nice to have the feedback too, you just never know.

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  18. Love the throwdown! I received a combo pack of Emeril's seasonings and they all seemed a little heavy on the salt. Maybe that is his thing. Anyways, Great Post.

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  19. Love the thowdown. Seems Emeril didn't BAM! his seasoning out of the park.

    I like to make my own seasoning too.

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  20. There was a time, maybe some still do, use more salt than actual seasonings in those bottles, and at 47 dollars a pound! We both have worked grocery, actually I think you still do right? But I remember learning about how expensive seasonings were a pound and I began straying away from that stuff and make my own mixes...there is one that I have seen that eminates mexican flavor, of say tortilla soup, all it is...seasonings most people have in the cabinets anyway...so you exercise your arm a little more and open a few more bottles...okay Chris I will get off my 'kitchen' soap box :) I need to purge my seasoning cabinet LOL its bulging like my husband is at the mid section! Ooops don't tell him I said that!

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