DJ BBQ Turns Operator’s Burger Challenges into Sales

Last month Americana gave you the opportunity to share your biggest gourmet burger challenges and get expert advice from the grill master himself DJ BBQ on how you could take your burger menu to “the upper echelons of tasty town” and your burger sales to the next level. You asked, he answered:


Q: “What are the latest burger trends we should be tapping into?”

DJ BBQ said:

Burger trends have always taken their inspiration from global flavour influences, especially America and their best kept secret is out! “Animal Style” burgers were recently part of America’s secret burger menus and they’re going to be big this year. What is an “Animal Style” burger? A quality burger with all the extra fixings and sauces to elevate it into the king of dirty burgers. You can do this by grilling the patty with a mustard glaze, adding a secret burger sauce, upgrading to fried pickle chips, swapping sliced onions for finely chopped caramelised onions. Use this to make your dish sing... It doesn’t get much tastier than this.

Choosing a quality, gourmet bun not only makes a burger look better, but it also makes it taste better. So always go gourmet with your bun! But that’s not to say you can’t be creative. We are starting to see a growth in bun customisation: create a plain glaze to dip the bun into which creates a surface for crunchy onions, nuts or even popcorn to stick to, for enhanced flavours and unique textures.

You asked, “What’s your winning burger combination recommendation?”

DJ BBQ said:

“It’s all about taking a classic burger and adding that flavour bomb to make it next level. It’s got to be the Oklahoma Smash Burger housed in a toasted Americana Brioche Bun recipe I made for Americana.

“Choose high fat ground beef, a minimum of 20%, shape it into a ball, top that with really thinly shaved onions and then you do what the name says, you SMASH it! Once seared, go ‘animal style’ with yellow mustard to really elevate the flavour. Add cheese and a pickle and don’t forget it needs a superior bun coverage, try the Americana Brioche Bun for this recipe – brioche really is gourmet.”

You asked, “What’s your bread bun of choice and why?”

DJ BBQ said:

“There’s a time and place for pretty much every good quality burger bun including the classic soft flour roll. But, if I really want to take my meal to the upper echelons of burgers, it’s got to be a toasted Americana Brioche Bun. American expertly craft their buns to be soft and spongey without falling apart when filled. The smooth buttery tones of a quality Brioche bun are the perfect base to any burger and offer that mix of naughty and nice! Though I must admit I’m also a sucker for Americana Gourmet Burger Bun with a Kaiser cut and subtle sourdough tang, which works well with most burger recipes. I also love the fresh off the grill look of the Americana Grill Marked Burger Bun.”

Watch out: “They can be real naughty under the grill, you’ve got to watch them carefully as they can burn super quickly!”

You asked “How do we elevate our chargrilled homemade burger? What bun should we use?”

DJ BBQ said:

“I’m sure you already do, but I always say, buy the best meat you can afford. Cuts with a higher fat content will enhance the flavour and ensure your burger remains juicy throughout the cooking process. Go for a medium size patty! When it comes to the seasoning you can have yourself a little burst of Umami by combining onion or garlic powder with salt and pepper, and throwing in a pinch of cayenne for real out-of-this-world flavour.

“When it comes to the bun, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. It’s got to be an Americana Brioche Bun. If you want to be really naughty you can brush the middles with some melted butter before toasting.”

The speed round:

Q. Would you rather simple and elegant or dirty and loaded?
A. There’s a place for both on a menu - by including both options you can appeal to the widest audience possible.

Q. What’s your ultimate cooking playlist?
A. I’ve created my own DJ BBQ Americana playlist which can be downloaded via Twitter. It’s full of crowd pleasers and always helps me cook the ultimate gourmet burger.

Q. Can you add garlic and onions to a burger?
A. Onions absolutely and in any form you like - raw, cooked, sauteed, smashed in. If you want to add garlic too, I recommend making a garlic burger rub.

Q. Should burgers be wider or taller?
A. Match your patty to your bun width and then find the right height to fill your burger whilst still managing your profit margins.

Q. Do you think its ok to sell burgers medium rare?
A. When it comes to gourmet burgers, don’t cook your meat too rare. Medium-well is best.

Oklahoma ‘Smash’ Cheeseburger

One of my favourite toppings for a burger is grilled onions. That savoury sweet, with a slight bit of tangy flavour, pair perfectly with a beautifully grilled cheeseburger. Umami heaven in a bun! 

Blackened Cajun Chicken Burger

My all-time favourite chicken burger recipe. Yup, the one you are about to rock!  I discovered Blackened spices at a seafood restaurant I worked at back in the late 80’s. The Wharf in Ocean City, Maryland.

Vegan Mushroom Korean Kimchi Burger

I always like to have a vegan or vegetarian burger in my arsenal.  This burger is ‘umami-tastic.’  It’s covered in layers of savoury, tangy, moreish goodness and is super quick to make and serve.