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Locavore: The Best Burger recipe from Orlando Meats

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A “locavore” is a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food. Along those lines, every month, local chefs welcome Orlando’s locavore, Misty Heath, into their kitchens to break down how to make some of their signature dishes for our readers to make at home.

This column is also featured in our monthly print product, available in restaurants and storefronts across the City Beautiful.

PHOTO BY KIMBERLY JEFCOAT

Every time I visit Orlando Meats (Facebook | Website), I feel like the proverbial “kid in a candy store” and  I want to eat everything on the menu, drink gallons of their delicious coffee, and take home all the delectable treats.  

I’ve purchased everything from their custom grass-fed beef blend, sausages, charcuterie, house-made yogurt, fermented goodies, farm fresh eggs, you name it. It’s like the best parts of a farmer’s market but without the sweating and typical hangover.

After spending a little more time with Orlando Meat’s Chef Eliot Hillis, my respect has grown. Experimentation remains key to Hillis’ process and out phrases like “charcuterie cages” and “having conversations with bacteria” regularly just fall out of his food scientist’s mouth. There’s a juxtaposition of the science of things; where food scale and good, old-fashioned taste-as-you-go methodology that keeps everything (mostly) in balance.

Their crowd-favorite Medium Rare Burger is a perfect example of formula and experimentation. Hilis’s fermented garlic aioli relies on the science of fermentation with balancing the nuance of final flavors.

Hillis shared his recipe with me and here’s a doalbe version you can try at home or simply read through in order to appreciate the process they go through to make theirs. Either way, your belly with thank you.


Fermented Garlic Aioli

PHOTO BY KIMBERLY JEFCOAT

Take a bulk jar/bag of peeled garlic cloves. In a pint mason jar with a plastic lid, pour in cloves until almost full. Measure out enough water to completely cover the cloves; probably one-and-a-half cups or roughly 350 grams water.

Dissolve in kosher salt at 5 percent salinity (magic Google calculation = 17g salt, or 1T).

Pour salted water over the cloves until covered, but be sure to leave a little breathing room at the top. Loosely close the lid and let sit and bubble (look up lacto-fermentation) 10 days or longer.

The mixture gets pungent and funky which is all part of the science. If you want to skip this step, just go buy the fermented garlic from Orlando Meats.

After approximately twoish weeks (or longer if you’re doing lots of garlic) grab your blender.

In your blender/food processor, take two cups of blended oil and one cup of garlic (no liquid) and purée. Pour into a bowl.

Rinse your equipment and add four egg yolks (Chef Hillis prefers farm fresh yolks) and one-and-a-half tablespoons of good dijon mustard. Begin blending, and ever-so-slowly start to incorporate your oil/garlic mixture. Mix only until combined and allow to rest. Flavors will mature.

This can live just over a month in the fridge in an airtight container. You can use this as a base for sandwiches, potatoes, salad dressings, or whatever else your fancy brain can think of.

Burger

PHOTO BY KIMBERLY JEFCOAT

Portion out a good, dense, cold patty about half-an-inch thick. Liberally season with salt and pepper.

Get a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat and place a patty in the pan to brown for a good two-and-a-half minutes. Swiftly flip with a metal spatula. Add cheese, or don’t if that’s not your kind of thing.

You’re looking for a bit of pink in the center with browned outer edges. Grab that digital thermometer and check for 119-128 degrees and remove to rest for at least a minute before mounting up the goodies you’ve assembled.

PHOTO BY KIMBERLY JEFCOAT


Order Up

PHOTO BY KIMBERLY JEFCOAT

Buy some good buns, provolone cheese, and fry off some good-ass bacon. Orlando Meats does their own custom XO sauce but that’s for another day.

Take your bun and toast it with some butter or in the burger or bacon fat, if you like, then heap on a generous amount of aioli. Drop that patty on on that fat sponge of a bun, dig in, and enjoy!

We enjoyed the version we made at home for our photographs with some pickled goodies and fancy potato chips for more aioli dipping.

PHOTO BY KIMBERLY JEFCOAT

Extra knowledge

  • The Orlando Meats team sells about 125 dozen farm fresh eggs a week.
  • This tiny little restaurant makes over 250 burgers a week. That number swelled to a whopping 200 burgers a day during Orlando Burger Week.
  • Chef Eliot has a new podcas called @offcutspodcast or check out his informative ramblings @saltforge or @cat.house.labs

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