Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grilled Thai Butter Bomb Burgers with Bok Choy Slaw

I have thought about trying "butter bomb" burgers for quite a while but it took a trip to Vegas to finally get me to make one.

A "butter bomb" burger is kind of like a Jucy Lucy [sic] but instead of cheese in the middle, you just stick a pat of butter.  Why?  I guess 20% fat isn't enough?  Actually, most use some type of compound butter so it is more about adding flavor than fat or moisture.  But first, back to Vegas.  Skip ahead to the recipe if you must. 

I am lucky enough to be a part of the 2014 Char-Broil All Star team and flew out to be a part of the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. 

I'll go more into our exploits there later in this post but the part pertinent to the recipe was our hands on cooking session at Le Cordon Bleu.  One of the recipes that we prepared with Chef Tony Ramos was a pan seared strip steak, Tahi chile butter, stir fried vegetables, and Furikake Musubi.

The plate that I cooked with my partner, Curt.

People had their favorites but everyone loved the Thai chile butter.  So fast forward to this past Friday night when I was doing a full practice cook for a KCBS BBQ competition (chicken, ribs, butts, and brisket) on the our trailer pit at the front of our house.

I was getting hungry but the BBQ was going to be smoked overnight, so I needed something to eat.  I had a leftover strip steak in the fridge, thought about that compound butter, and decided to make a quick steak snack.

I'm glad the steaks were packed in 3's so I had this one leftover from the prior evening.

Whipped the compound butter together and put it in the fridge to chill while the grill preheated.

Thai Chile Compound Butter
slightly adapted from Le Cordon Blue (but they said we could reprint as was anyway)
Makes a bit more than 1/2 cup

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (Asian chili-garlic paste)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped green onions
  • 3/4 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • salt to taste

  1. Put it all in a bowl.
  2. Smash it all together.
  3. Chill.  The butter, not telling you to chill.  Unless you're uptight.  In that case, you chill too.
All of my kamado grills and my gas grills are out on the back deck, yet I needed to be out front.  No problem, I pulled out my Char-Broil Patio Bistro TRU Infrared grill and parked it on our front walk so I could grill while I smoked.  Turned the heat up to 550°F on this electric grill.
Seasoned the steak with my NMT Beef Rub - salt, black pepper, green pepper, garlic, onion, green and red bell pepper, and oregano.

4-5 minutes per side and then a brief rest.

Sprinkled the cutting board with a little oil, more NMT beef rub, and cilantro for a board dressing before slicing the steak.

We ate it just like that, right off of the cutting board.  Deeee-friggin-licious but since I only had one steak, I had lots of butter leftover.  I thought about ways to use it and the butter bomb burger came to mind.  I thought I'd make a bok choy slaw using a Sriracha-mayo to go with or on it.  Normally I like to make slaws a few hours ahead but the bok choy wilts fast so I like to make it at the last minute before grilling the burgers.

Grilled Thai Butter Bomb Burgers with Bok Choy Slaw
makes 4 large burgers

  • 28 ounces ground chuck
  • 2 teaspoons NMT Burger Mix In or other burger seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons Thai Chile Compound Butter
  • 4 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns
For the Sriracha Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1-2 pinches kosher salt
For the Bok Choy Slaw
  • 2 cups thinly sliced bok choy
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shreeded
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons Sriracha mayonnaise
  1. Set up your grill for direct heat (see notes) and preheat your grill to 450°F
  2. Season the ground beef with the burger seasoning, divide into 8 equal portions (3.5 ounce patties by weight).  
  3. Top 3 of the patties with 1 tablespoon each of cold Thai chile butter.  Top with another patty.  Then rinse your hands with cold water and seal the edges between the two patties by kneading them together.  Just treat it like you did Playdoh as a kid.  Put these in the fridge to chill while you make the slaw.
  4. Mix the Sriracha mayonnaise ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined and uniform in color and texture.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the bok choy, carrot, and cabbage together.  Add Sriracha mayonnaise in small batches and toss the slaw mix, until you get the consistency you want.  I like ours creamy so I went with 4 tablespoons.
  6. Lightly brush the buns with any leftover Thai chile butter (or plain butter) and toast them on the grill, normally about 15-20 seconds.  Set aside.
  7. Grill the burgers 4 1/2 minutes per side. Remove and serve on buns with slaw.

Placing two patties on a deli sheet like this make it easy when assembling the patties, since you can just fold them over.

Keeping the butter very cold will minimize the chance of butter leaks.

Fold the paper over to top the buttered patty and seal the edges.  Easy.

The slaw adds a crunchy texture and spicy flavor to complement the burger.

Mix the leftovers of the Thai chile butter with regular butter if needed to get enough for brushing the buns.

I planned to do the burgers with a direct set up like this, which will work.  But I was worried about how much butter might leak out and cause grease fires every time I opened the grill.

So I used GrillGrates as a compromise.  Great grill marks but it also vaporizes some of the drippings before they can get into the coals and cause problems (fires, smoldering grease). 

I was surprised by how much of the butter was retained inside of the burger, I thought most of it would leak out.
The flavor of the burger was very good.  The butter was a little much so next time I would use maybe a half tablespoon per burger.  As good as it was like this, Alexis and I both think this might be even better done as a chicken burger.

Here are a few shots of our Vegas exploits.  Our trip was very active and hands on, so I didn't get as many as I'd like.
(click below to see the rest of the pictures)

One of the pastry classes.

The red neckerchief indicates this student already has an internship established outside of the school.  That or she's a member of the Bloods gang. 

This needs to be my mantra.

Mark Levasseur, Director of Career Services, tells us to get the hell out!  Just kidding, all of the LCB staff were very friendly and open.  Not scary like the "snooty, mean Chef with an exaggerated French accent" caricature you see in movies. 

Parchment boxes - this was such a cool trick.  I'll cover it in an upcoming post.

Just a form of en papillote (in parchment) cooking but it scores 10 for the "x" factor.

Chef Instructor, Tony Ramos, talking us through the meal we were about to create.  Very cool guy with a calm demeanor, but I'm sure he can tear you a new one when you need a new one torn.

Chef Ramos demonstrating the bias cut he wanted us to use.

Dat butt(er)!

And then it was time for us to replicate the meal.

Curt McAdams of Livefire was my cooking partner for this part.  We nailed it.

We were all completely serious the entire time.  After all, this is Le Cordon Bleu!  No tomfoolery here.  Nose to the grindstone.

The other dish we made was Shrimp and Scallops en Papillotte with Soy-Ginger Dashi.
The pastry class brought us this fabulous dessert.  I don't even know where to begin with these.  I hate desserts and I ate every bite.

We also had a hands on photography session with food photographer extraordinaire, Matt Armendariz.

Then we headed back to the National Hardware Show.

All of the grilling and tailgate vendors were out in the parking lot.  Tons of cool stuff.

The BakerStone Pizza oven was a cool technique to convert your gas grill into a pizza oven.

These Kamado Rockets gave me a great idea.  I need to convert the prop arm of my trailer smoker to a pair of these heavy duty pneumatic arms to make it easier to open and close it.

The Char-Broil TRU Infrared Mobile Tour was in a prime location by the entrance.  They had all of the current line up outside for display, but we were there for something else.....

We had a "Chopped" style competition where we paired up and then were given a collection of ingredients that had to be used. 

The trash talking started quickly.
The ingredient list was "a piece of pork tenderloin" (was more like a piece of pork shoulder cut up), blue cheese, strawberries, rhubarb, butter, edamame, and sriracha sauce.  I know, right?  What kind of sicko came up with THAT list?

Julie and I did a stuffed artichoke and a slider. 

As long as the competition has run, Christo OR DivaQ have been on the winning team.  This year by luck of the draw, they were on the SAME team.  Guess who kicked everyone's asses....yep, these two troublemakers :)

We stayed at the New York, New York Casino...

...Christo, who lives in Manhattan, confirmed that yes, this is exactly what New York really looks like.  He might have been being sarcastic there.

We actually worked too!  BBQ/grilling blogging comes with Powerpoint presentations, who knew?  But we did learn a lot about what people are looking for in grilling and BBQ information.
It was impressive to see the entire Char-Broil line up (plus a few new items not pictured) in one room.  I was tempted to take one of everything and run.

My favorite fun part of the trip was an unscheduled, non-scripted stroll through the Fremont Street Experience.  Very interesting, indeed.  

The street performers were either very impressive because of their skill or very depressing because of their lack of self respect, big gap in between.

The overhead light shows were mesmerizing.

I've done zip lines through the Smoky Mountains but never over crowds in Vegas.  Next time I come to Vegas I am doing this.

You have to go see a show while in Vegas, it's some kind of law.  So we went to see Le Reve at The Wynn.  Incredible.

This spectacle left my jaw on the ground.  The mechanics of the "stage" alone was impressive.  It went from a raised stage in the middle of the water one minute to being deep enough to dive into from 45 feet up the next minute.

One of the most athletic performances I have ever seen.

Yeah, that person is somersaulting down through the air, no safety lines or nets.  Straight down to the water below.

More flippity floppity.

It was a wonderful week of learning, developing our skills, and making new friends.  But I was so glad to get home to Knoxville just as the sun was setting somewhere far in the West....maybe in Vegas.

[Standard Disclaimer]  This is not a sponsored post but I am a member of the Char-Broil All Star Team and they sponsored this trip.  All of my sponsored posts are over at Char-Broil Live, a great grilling resource.