John Tesar is the real deal. I mean, he was famously dubbed “the single most talented cook I ever worked with” by Anthony Bourdain. Tesar is the meat-obsessed chef behind the popular Dallas steakhouse, Knife as well as a two-time Top Chef contestant.
He also recently published his first cookbook, Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals at Home, where a very cool Magic burger recipe resides. Tesar, who just partnered with Barclaycard for an epic carnivorous feast at NYC’s Wine & Food Festival, shared the recipe and the inspiration for the bad ass burger, and you can easily make it in the comfort of your own home.
For the “magic burger” you will need: 5 ounces of 80/20 ground sirloin, ½ a teaspoon of softened butter, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, a teaspoon of vegetable oil, an English muffin, cooked applewood-smoked bacon, New York cheddar, some butter lettuce, a slice of vine ripe tomato and a red onion.
Start by patting the ground sirloin into a thin patty, not much bigger than the English muffin. Spread butter on one side and season that side of the patty with the salt and pepper. In a pan, heat your oil over high heat and when the pan is sufficiently warm, pour out the excess oil and put the burger on butter side down.
In the pan cook the meat until it is brown and crusty. This should roughly take four to four and a half minutes. Season the top side of the burger with salt and pepper and baste it with the fat in the pan. Allow time for drooling.
Leave your burger for a little and split your English muffin with a fork. Toast it until the slices are golden brown and crisp. Flip the burger and put your bacon between two slices of cheddar and layer it all up.
Cover your pan to let the cheese melt and let the burger cook for another four to four and a half minutes. On the English muffin, layer the lettuce, tomato and onion. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and then top with the burger (cheese-side up). Cover with the other half of the English Muffin and enjoy.
The burger was named in honor of Magic’s Pub on Westhampton Beach – the place where Tesar first cooked professionally. He stated, “this is my first memory of a really great restaurant hamburger and the first burger I ever learned how to make. What made the burger at Magic’s, an Irish pub, different is that it came on an English muffin.”
He continued, “practically, it makes a lot of sense. Once the muffin’s toasted, the nooks and crannies in the bread catch all the juices from the burger without losing crispness.” On his recipe specifically, he notes “you may have to toast the English muffin twice to really develop those crunchies. The muffin-to-burger ratio is also nice, as is the contrast of textures from soft and toothsome to crispy crunchy.”
As burgers go you can’t get much richer. The crunch of the crisp muffin mixed in with the juices of the burger works amazingly well with the Irish-American fillings. With some in-season tomatoes, red onion and maybe a side of chunky chips, you have yourself a real winner. But don’t forget your burger sauce!