The Burger Lab's Toppings Week 2013: Pepperoni Garlic Bread Burgers

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

It's time for another round of The Food Lab. Got a suggestion for an upcoming topic? Email Kenji here, and he'll do his best to answer your queries in a future post. Become a fan of The Food Lab on Facebook or follow it on Twitter for play-by-plays on future kitchen tests and recipe experiments.

As a burger lover and a pizza lover, I've always liked the idea of some sort of burger-pizza hybrid, but it never really works according to plan. As our Home Slice Adam can tell you, designing a good hamburger pizza is no easy feat (I've yet to see a successful one anywhere, and pizza burgers rarely fare well either.

This one, which is not quite a pizza burger, does a little better, I think.

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We start with the basics: the bun. It's a standard burger bun, but rather than toasting it in butter, I toast it in garlic butter, with a bit of oregano and parsley mixed into it. It's not something you'd find on a pizza per se, but it gives the whole thing a bit of that generic Italian Red Sauce feel to it, and that's really what we're going for here.

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I've tried making burgers with standard pizza sauce on them, but they never quite work—the sauce doesn't complement meat like it does pizza crust. Instead, I decided to flavor my sauce largely with pepperoni, fried in olive oil until crisp, then reduced in crushed tomatoes. A splash of vinegar at the end adds some tang, which is essential for any kind of burger sauce—it's the missing element in pretty much every pizza burger I've had.

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Finally, we get to the cheese. Rather than the mozzarella most opt for, I went with much sharper, tangier provolone, along with some shards of good quality parmesan added at the very end.

Get the Recipe

Pepperoni Garlic Bread Burgers (Grilled Cheeseburgers with Pepperoni Sauce Serve on Garlic Bread Rolls) »

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