Chef Peter Kelly Knows How to Build the Perfect Burger

His Cowboy Goes to France burger, available at X20, makes a great template. If there’s a way to craft the perfect specimen, here’s how it’s done.



SAUCE #1
Tomato/mustardseed compote for acid and “some piquancy”

BUN
House-made pretzel bun sprinkled with fleur de sel. It’s brushed with clarified butter before a light toasting on the griddle. Says Chef Kelly, “The pretzel’s baking soda and salt give the bun a little zip.”

SAUCE #2
“Spicy Japanese mayonnaise”—supercreamy, Japanese-made Kewpie brand mayonnaise “for unctuousness,” blended with Sriracha, the Thai-inspired hot sauce.

TOP OF PATTY
Salt and pepper are “vitally important to everything–they’re what give food its life.”

BEEF
A mixture of trimmings from Kelly’s signature aged cowboy rib-eye steaks mixed with chuck, Hudson Valley foie gras, and puréed chicken livers. “To be honest, I usually don’t tell people about the chicken livers.”

PATTY SHAPE
“The thickness of the patty is the most important thing.” Kelly goes for between ½” and ¾”—that way it’s “perfectly cooked with a little char. I don’t like meatball burgers.”

COOKING
Kelly prefers a griddle to the more romantic wood grill for burgers. “Wood adds another element of flavor, and we already have enough going on with the aged beef, foie gras, and livers.”