Saturday, August 2, 2008

Motz Goes Hamburger Flipping

Last weekend I did one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life - I spent 2 hours flipping burgers at a very busy beach cafeteria. 

I know a lot about burgers. However, I don't know a lot about making burgers. Given the time and space I've been know to make a mean, tasty patty in my great-grandmother's 100 year-old skillet. Making burgers for waiting, hungry, PAYING, customers was an experience that was foreign to me, until last Sunday.

The beach club on Long Island, NY that I've been going to since I was born has a very efficient short-order kitchen that can serve over 400 lunches a day, mostly hot dogs, fries, sandwiches, and burgers. The burgers on the menu are frozen so I agreed to a lunchtime shift on the griddle making burgers from fresh-ground 80/20 chuck. Mostly I wanted to see if the patrons at the beach could tell the difference between frozen and fresh. I chose the scoop-and-smash method popular at most burger spots across America and threw in the onion-fried burger from Oklahoma for good measure.

For those that have run a short-order griddle I have all new respect. My hamburger heroes across America that spend hours, day after day, year after year, doing what I did for 2 hours are true martyrs. It's hot, loud (exaust fan), and greasy. At one point I was behind by 27 burger orders but still moving as fast as I could. By the end of my shift I had sent 120 burgers out to waiting patrons that were thankfully impressed. I was wiped out.

Here's to my first and last trip to a working griddle. A lesson learned, not to be taken lightly.


Dave The Angry Rhode Islander said...

Kudos on your grilling action. I spent time back in college as a lunch short order cook, and can tell you that it takes time to get really fast and good. Two hours is nothing, so don't feel bad.

There are many times when I think I'd like nothing better than to open my own hamburger shack - maybe someday I will. Nothing is more satisfying than making people happy with food you cook for them, especially when it's greasy and delicious.

Hungry Monkey said...


Looks like you've been infected by Charles Treuter (aka "DocChuck" and a bunch of other personalities)

He's the Tastespotting Stalker

He got my blog bad awhile back.

So I read your post and was wondering why you didn't tell us how your experiment came out?

I mean, could the folks tell if the burgers were frozen or not? Seriously, how could they NOT tell?

Word to the onionburgers, by the way. One of the only reasons to make a burger on a griddle instead of a grill.

Hamburger America said...

@hungry monkey- The experiment worked (I think). Most people of course loved the fresh ground burgers but a few confused souls actually walked up and requested the 'regular' burgers, the frozen ones...

Regardless, it was so much work that it'd take a lot to get me back on that griddle again!

scooter said...

nice doorag george, bet it kept the grease off your head! The burger looks great, anytime you want to take the spatulla away from us, we will happily oblidge, maybe we will even feed you!

Anonymous said...

You should have your own show on Food Network!

I was so thrilled to find your blog - as I, too, love a good burger! Being here in Texas, there are lots of great places to get a great burger...but, after reading your blog the past month or so, I think it's time to plan a "burger road trip" somewhere! :)