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"Gourmet" Burger chain restaurants secrets?

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With the surge in new upscale burger restaurants I'm wondering if they have have any secret ingedients or techniques they use in creating their burgers? I'm going to a new burger joint today in CT, Plan B that everyone is raving about. We've also had several Five Guys, Shake Shack, Burgers Shakes & Fries open up within the last couple of years. Other than buying fresh (not frozen) choice or higher graded chucks of beef do they add anything to their burgers. I'm thinking MSG or onion/garlic powder etc. Do they salt & pepper intenally or just on the surface? Then rest before cooking? Any special grilling techniques?

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  1. I hope their burger has better taste than their music-vomiting, Flash-heavy website.

    High-end burger places like The Counter push hormone-free, locally sourced beef. Plan B seems to be selling their beef as hormone-free and "human" whatever that means. Nothing about where it comes from, though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: monkeyrotica

      Plan B was quite a dissapointment. Burgers were ordered "pink" and they came out well done. They were bland due to lack of seasoning (salt & pepper). The fries were lukewarm and limp. Obviously the kitchen was "in the weeds" so they were pre-cooking then re-heating the burgers & cooking too large batches of fries in advance. Admittedly, they were very busy & since they're new in town I'll give them another chance. At this point I'd say all the aforementioned restaurants are better choices @ lesat until the get their act together.

      1. re: monkeyrotica

        Human?!

        Just remember one thing: "Soylent Green is PEOPLE!"
        Thank you, Charlton Heston.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sp-VF...

      2. I think with places like Five Guys the key difference vs. run-of-the-mill chains is "no freezers". (I don't know Plan B -- looks like it's CT and MA only at this time.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: drongo

          Plan B
          Burgers, Beer, Bourbon, BARF'

          Plan B rates an F

        2. Shake Shack uses a blend from Pat LaFrieda; it's more than just chuck. It'd be a disaster if they salted internally. Burgers are salted right before they're cooked. The good places, like SS and Smashburger, use the "smashing" grilling technique, where the beef is smashed once early to help it form a nice crust.

          The biggest factor is, of course, that the burgers are freshly made.

          1. Another planb opened? Where? I've been to the one near me a few times...not awful but a bit over priced for what it is. Fries so-so, a nice bar tho. Like OG, always seems to be a wait for a table, so odd with meh food. I don't mind the wait for a table, but planb is not one of those places

            1 Reply
            1. re: BiscuitBoy

              BB
              The new Plan B is in Stamford in the Stamford Town Center. Not actually in the mall but on the South Side where PF Changs, Capital Grill. CA Pizza Kitchen sit. Beautiful interior including an impressive bar. I would assume it does a rousing happy hour business.

            2. I've heard of seasoning the hamburger patties with a touch of ketchup and mustard instead of salt and pepper. Tried this myself and wasn't that impressed though.