Ladies and gentlemen, if you are a longtime reader of AHT, this week's Grilled interview subject needs no introduction. George Motz is a filmmaker best known around this site as the auteur behind burger biopic Hamburger America. He's currently researching a book on our favorite sandwich treat. Without further ado, let's get Grillin' ... Ed.
Name: George Motz
How often do you eat burgers? At least twice a week, but on burger outings, I can put away up to 15 in four days (research...).
Where did you eat your most recent one? [At the time of this interview] at the Yankee Doodle in New Haven, Connecticut. I had a Dandy Double Doodle and a single with cheese.
Cheese: American, cheddar, other? I prefer American and mild cheddar but usually eat burgers without cheese. The only time I get cheese on a burger is when it's what the locals are ordering. For example, if you go to Nick's in Brookings, South Dakota, you'll hear very few people ordering cheeseburgers, but at the Shady Glen in Manchester, Connecticut, the burgers would be nothing without the cheese "sculpture" they create on the grill.
Ketchup or mustard? Always mustard, never ketchup! Usually, a pickle and mustard is all I need. Mustard enhances the beefiness of the burger. Ketchup hides it.
Sesame seed or plain? Doesn't matter as long as the bun is white and squishy and proportionate to the burger.
Grilled, griddled, or broiled? Griddled is the best way to enjoy a burger. A patty cooking in its own juices creates the most flavor.
And how would you like that done, sir? Medium for good beef, medium-rare for sushi-grade chopped beef.
Would you do us the favor of describing your perfect burger? Price and ingredients are no object. Fresh ground chuck shoulder with some sirloin and strip steak bits thrown into the grind, ground twice; griddled at super-high heat; and served on a buttered, toasted white squishy bun with pickles and mustard; consumed standingwith a Budweiser.
What's your favorite fast-food burger? Without a doubt, Steak n Shake because they use fresh-ground beef and smash it flat on the grill. And they toast their buns.
What topping or condiment, in your opinion, should never grace a burger? KETCHUP!!
What's the most unusual burger you've ever eaten? (Or most unusual burger experience you've had?) I was in San Diego, California, last December and had this huge burger with gyro meat on it at Western Steakburger. The taste was out of this world, but I had to pull over 20 minutes later because I was having one of those 10,000-calorie hallucinations.
Overrated burger: In-N-Out. They make a good burger and we all appreciate the fact that the burgers are not frozen, but come on. There are so many other top-notch burgers in LA. If you go to Pie 'N Burger in Pasadena, you can eat the same double double that tastes 10 times better.
Underrated burger: Casino El Camino in Austin, Texas, gets a bad rap because of the wait, but I'd gladly wait three times longer.
For some crazy reason, you're going vegetarian. Where do you go for your final burger? Sorry. Not going vegetarian. Give me meat or give me death!
BURGER JOINTS REFERENCED
Yankee Doodle: 258 Elm Street, New Haven CT 06511; thedoodle.com
Nick's: 427 Main Ave., Brookings SD 57006; nickshamburgers.com
The Shady Glen: 840 Middle Tpke E., Manchester CT 06040
Steak n Shake: Various locations, Midwest and Southern U.S.; steaknshake.com
Western Steakburger: 2730 University Ave., San Diego CA 92104
In-N-Out Burger: Various locations in California, Nevada, Arizona; in-n-out.com
Pie 'N Burger: 913 E. California Blvd., Pasadena CA 91106; pienburger.com 626.795.1123
Casino el Camino: 517 E. 6th Street, Austin TX 78701; casinoelcamino.net