Our Monday Blue Plate: The Roadhouse Burger

By Marcy Harris

One of our favorite questions to ask people at the Roadhouse is: What’s your favorite thing on the menu? It’s difficult to pick just one thing, but my answer without hesitation is always our burger. I will never forget the first time I tried it–I fell in love.

You can add all the toppings, but you can’t top the flavor.

I’ve tried many burgers over the past few decades, and there have been a few that were particularly memorable. Typically this was because they had amazing toppings–delicious melty cheeses, over-easy eggs, thick slices of bacon, fresh avocado, or even some sort of amazing secret sauce. But the Roadhouse burger tops them all for one simple reason: it doesn’t need all the stuff.

The flavor is in the burger. We don’t add anything except salt and pepper. There’s no chopped garlic or onion, no additional seasonings are needed. The beef just tastes so good on its own, there is no need to mask the taste. It all comes back to using really good ingredients.

Respect the animal, respect the product.

We source our beef from pasture-raised steers to ensure better tasting beef and a more pronounced texture. By selecting animals that are farm specific from Northern Ohio or Southern Michigan, the Roadhouse can make sure we know exactly where our beef is coming from. We also make sure it is processed locally, leaving a much smaller carbon footprint. This way we can constantly evaluate the quality of our meat. The animals are grass and grain fed, no hormones or antibiotics.

We use different parts of the cow, including chuck, leg, and belly, because a variety of cuts imparts more of a full flavor. The meat is dry-aged for a few weeks, just like our steaks, and marinated in salt and Telicherry black pepper. We then course-grind the beef fresh daily at the Roadhouse, and form the patties by hand so as not to over pack them.

The flavor is astounding. I have not been able to find a burger on par with it anywhere else. The grain in the feed gives it a round buttery beef flavor, yet because of the grass given to the cows, the meat also tastes clean. The course-grind makes a huge difference. It provides more of a chew that allows the flavors to roll over your palate, instead of a mashed up bite of what inevitably just tastes like everything else on the burger except the actual beef.

I take my burger rare and one-of-a-kind, please.

The burgers are cooked over oak on a wood-fired grill, giving them just the right amount of smoky flavor. Because of the organic form of the patties, which are not uniform and squished into pucks, the result is what Ari Weinzweig calls an “imperfect burger”. They are not going to cook perfectly, but they are are going to taste better than anything that is mass-produced.

According to Ari, “Burger cooking, in the context of my systems work, is what we call a ‘craft system.’. . . . You can systematize up to a certain point but there’s still the skill of the artisan, the nuances of nature in the raw material, etc. that bring a bit of variation into play. This, I have to admit, is where my new angle on imperfection comes in. The craft, the beauty of the imperfection . . . . it’s the poetry of the product.”

While we do take temperatures for the burgers, they are not always exact. Because of the course-grind, the color will always be just a touch more pink than what you might see from a burger down the road. But it also means that our burger will be that much juicier and full-flavored.

I love my Roadhouse burger with our famous pimento cheese and sliced pickles. I also love it with on its own, because sometimes I just want to taste the beef, and nothing else. But no matter how you order your burger from us, it’s going to be an incredible experience. Stop by on Mondays for our Blue Plate burger special, and order anything you want on it for $13.95, with fries and a side salad. It will give you reason to feel differently about that one day a week we usually prefer to skip.

Check out all of our Blue Plate Specials!!