Note: Grilled is our series of Q&As with burger lovers. After an unintentional eight-month hiatus, we're bringing it back to life! Today we prod Rev. Ciancio of New York City-based burger blog, Great Burger Conquest (and another meat-centric blog, Steak Club 7), and instigator of Burgercon.
Name: Rev. Ciancio
Location: New York City AKA the Burger Apple
Occupation: Artist Management (until eating burgers pays)
How often do you eat burgers? As often as I can without risk to life and limb.
Where did you eat your most recent one? Salt Creek Grille
Cheese: American, cheddar, other? American
Ketchup or mustard? Don't even think about putting the red bottle on my table unless it says "Red Devil" or "Crystal"
Sesame-seed or plain? ANYTHING but plain. Why go to the effort to make a delicious burger and then skimp out on the bun? Using an English Muffin is like giving a burger its angel wings.
Grilled, griddled, or broiled? YES and NOW and all TOGETHER.
And how would you like that done, sir? My Mom used to ask, "Can you rip off its horn, wipe its butt, and put it on my plate?" After seeing the results, I've dedicated my life to medium rare (unless the house suggests otherwise.)
Would you do us the favor of describing your perfect burger? Mix of different kinds of quality beef, maybe some chuck, some sirloin, some Kobe, some brisket, some fillet...surprise me. Cook that bad boy medium rare and make sure it's a little juicy by brushing it with olive oil first. There isn't anything like the taste of a melted slice of American cheese and unless you're going uber fancy, then it's cheddar, sharp. Grilled (not fried!) Spanish onions, fresh lettuce, a little bit of mustard, and serve it on an over-sized whole wheat English Muffin. I would like some nice thick cut bacon, not too crispy, but don't put it on the burger; I want that on the side!! Don't forget the schmear of crunchy peanut butter. Skip the fries, give me some crispy tater tots with a bowl of Alfredo bacon dipping sauce!!! This should be served while seated on a roof top in downtown Sydney, Australia, overlooking the Quay on a sunny afternoon and with a cold Toohey's Black draft. I would like to be seated with my wife, my father, my friend the Logg, Roger Daltry, Roger Moore, George Clooney, Eddie from Iron Maiden (preferably from The "Seventh Son" record), Spaceghost, Bolliger & Mabillard, and Dave Attell.
The hamburger is a food item with which most Americans have strong childhood associations. Do you remember your earliest encounter with this delicious dish? I do not but I do remember the first time my father taught me how to grill.
Dad: "I am going to teach you how to grill today." Me: "How hard can it be? You put the burger on the grill and when one side turns brown, you flip it." Dad: "Go in the kitchen and get me a skillet, some eggs, and sausage."
And my Dad proceeded to grill up some breakfast. I was pretty mind blown for an 8-year-old.
What's your favorite fast-food burger? Two-way tie between White Castle and Rally's.
What topping or condiment, in your opinion, should never grace a burger? I would argue reconstituted braised fish livers shouldn't be on a burger but assuming you are asking for something standard, ketchup. Ick. Why?
What's the most unusual burger you've ever eaten? (Or most unusual burger experience you've had?) In the butt. Oh wait, wrong game show. The Vortex in Atlanta, 2 nights in a row, 3 burgers plus nacho tots. Or was it the time I cried at Kuma's Corner in Chicago?
What's the most overrated burger you've tried? Most underrated? OVERRATED: Corner Bistro. Seriously, MacGyver could make a better burger out of used bubble gum, a paper clip and a burnt rubber plunger. UNDERRATED: Trailer Park Lounge, although I think that tide might've just changed. [AHT will have a post about Trailer Park up soon.]
For some crazy reason, you're going vegetarian. Where do you go for your final burger? The Old Homestead in NYC, but that's a misleading question. If I am going vegetarian, the right question would be, "Where are the last 8 burgers you will eat before you lie to everyone that you aren't sneaking burgers in the middle of the night."
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