Bon Appétit Magazine: September Cover Recipe

Triple-Beef Cheeseburgers with Spiced Ketchup & Red Vinegar Pickles

Rating: 3 out of 5 (pretty tasty overall, waaaaaay too much work!)

Initial Thoughts:
Oh it’s on Bon Appétit – bring it baby! As I browsed through this month’s cover recipes (emphasis on the plural) I could picture the magazine executives chuckling amongst themselves as they planned revenge on all of us cheeky little food bloggers who dare to make each cover and pretend like we know it all. Their retribution? A cover that not only features the world’s most complex burger patty, but also involves making burger buns from scratch, homemade pickles, doctored ketchup and a coleslaw side. Fasten your seatbelts folks; this is going to be a bumpy ride…

The Test:
I have no problem admitting that I avoided making this recipe for as long as possible. Fear was the main motivator behind my procrastination. Can you blame me?! I was completely intimidated! This burger is the invention of Cambridge (MA) restaurant Craigie on Main chef-owner Tony Maws, and took him six months to develop. Served with a spiced ketchup, vinegary pickles and a homemade sesame bun, this burger has become one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.

In the magazine intro to the recipe, Bon Appetite says “we predict it will be a hit at your house too.” I’m not so certain. But despite my misgivings I am a Capricorn so if I’ve committed to making every single cover recipe this year than by golly that’s what I’m going to do!

Luckily for me I have the world’s best butcher who got me all of the ingredients I needed to make the burger patty. This included beef brisket, short ribs, skirt steak, beef suet and beef bone marrow. Yes you read correctly; suet and bone marrow. Unfortunately there was some miscommunication as I thought my butcher was going to grind everything for me, but when I arrived home with my prized package I quickly realized that I was going to have to grind it myself. Great. Just after I finished writing a post about Mr. Spock wanting a meat grinder and how creepy I thought the whole idea. Is it too late to change my mind honey? Can I fully support your creepiness now that I have a pile of various cuts of meat and bone to deal with? Come to think of it…did you call the butcher and tell him not to grind the meat?! Is this all part of your ploy to gain a grinder of your own?!

Moving on…

The Results:
The beef patty itself was pretty good; nice and rich and very steak like in taste. Was it worth all of the effort and expense of using all of those different cuts? For the average home cook I would have to say…don’t bother. Yes it’s good but definitely not worth the effort (not to mention the cost of ingredients!) If you happen to have access to a commercial kitchen then it might be worth pursuing this recipe.

The ketchup had a nice kick, the celery root slaw was a nice departure from the usual cabbage concoction, and the pickles were phenomenal (will definitely be making these again). But the buns were a flop and completely inedible. In the words of my four year-old: “Mommy, do we have any real buns?” You bet we do sweetie. You bet.

(For a copy of September’s recipe, please click here)

As part of my culinary new years resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine. Inspired by a New York restaurant owner who has been making the magazine’s cover recipes each month for the last 25 years, I decided to attempt to do the same while blogging about my monthly experiences along the way.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Bon Appétit and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to

Bon Appétit celebrates the world of great food and the pleasure of sharing it with others. Every issue invites readers into a hands-on experience, engaging them in all aspects of the epicurean lifestyle—cooking, dining, travel, entertaining, shopping and design. For more information please visit