A chef who dubs his signature burger “Getting Piggy With It” must grill a real bellringer of a beef patty. Or these bold burgers: the Full Mountie (crowned by poutine) or the spicy Sexy Burger (topped with pineapple, cream cheese and hot peppers).
By Jack Kohane
Photography by Brandon Gray
“I had a dream about creating the ultimate burger,” muses Shane Kennedy, corporate chef for The WORKS Gourmet Burger Bistro, based in Oakville, Ont. “My dream has been realized with The WORKS, where I cook with the three Bs – burgers, bacon and beer.”
Now in its 15th year, the WORKS offers more than 50 different kinds of burgers stacked high with topping combinations.
“To me perfection is a burger that you can bite into, enjoy to the last bite, and plan on when you’ll come back to enjoy it again,” says Kennedy. His ground beef patties are hand pressed in each restaurant every day with fresh ground chuck, no fillers, from grain-fed beef. There’s also free-range, grass-fed domestic elk patty, as well as fresh, whole chicken breast or ground turkey burger options. Each patty is made on-site, cooked over an open flame and served on stone-baked artisan buns.
Kennedy and his team of ‘burger heads’ dream up new burger blends and taste test the results, working to find the next wild idea or crazy combination, like such recent menu introductions as the “What Would Bacon Do” appetizer of deep-fried bacon served with bacon mayo, and the Bacon Me Crazy burger clad in jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles, bacon mayo, and two strips of deep fried bacon. “There’s always something I can’t wait to uncover… it’s a real thrill,” grins Kennedy.
What’s his favourite? The Big Ben Plus — a patty capped by Montreal-style smoked meat, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. “It melts in your mouth and packs a lot of flavour,” he says.
Sizzling burger tips
1.Press your beef ahead of time. After being pressed, ground meat benefits from resting for an hour or two to relax before it’s placed on the cooking surface.
2. Try to barbecue at 500-600° F. While cooking temperatures are a matter of cooking style, BBQ’ing at that heat which won’t add too much of a crust on the outside.
3. Try toasting a bun with butter to create a crust to help hold sauces, moisture, and toppings without the bun’s getting soggy.