HAROLD: I want thirty sliders, five french fries, and four large Cherry Cokes. KUMAR: I want the same, except make mine Diet Cokes… Chuck. CHUCK: Wow! HAROLD: Damn, that hit the spot. BABISH: Hey, what’s up guys? Welcome back to Binging with Babish, where this week, we’re taking a look at one of the most culinarily cathartic scenes in all of cinema… …I’m speaking, of course, about the stony climax at the end of Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. I have here a frozen White Castle burger as a control group – it is mysteriously missing its signature single pickle chip, but it does have the characteristic five holes punched in the patty. Legend says that this is to save beef and money; White Castle says it’s so the patties cook quicker and absorb more onion vapors. We shall see. First things first, we got to make ourselves some patties. I’ve got a bunch of ground beef here that I’m going to beat to a more paste-like consistency, so the burgers end up having a very tight texture. The patties I pulled off the frozen burgers weighed about 0.7 ounces, and since burgers typically lose about 25% of their weight during cooking, I’m going for 1 ounce burgers. To form them, I’m going to coax about eight ounces of ground beef into a rough rectangle betwixt two sheets of parchment paper. Then I’m going to attach four millimeter guides to a dowel rolling pin and roll out the beef into a relatively even rectangle. Then it’s time to score it into individual patties. Using the bottom half of one of my slider buns as a sort of template, I’m going to cut six evenly sized square patties, just slightly larger than the bun itself to account for shrinkage. Then once all six patties are scored, it’s time to punch out the tell-tale five holes, using a metal straw and pressing down and twisting until a little nubbin of beef comes out. There we go, one hole punched out, 149 more to go. Once all of your holes are punched, it’s time to put this guy into the freezer to firm up while we continue making more patties, because Harold and Kumar ordered 30 burgers each, so to be accurate, we had to do the same, so prepare for a whole lot of sped up shots in this episode. It’s during times like these that you can reflect about how you could have bopped out to Brooklyn for a few minutes, grabbed a Crave Case™ and called it a day, but our dynamic duo went through a whole lot to get their burgers, so in that spirit, I will carry on. While we give our beef a solid couple hours to freeze solid, we need to chop up all of the onions. All of them. Just keep choppin’ until your largest bowl cannot support any more onions. From there, we’ve just got a bit more mise that we need to put en place. I’m using Martin’s Dinner Rolls as my buns. They are a potato-based bun which is inaccurate, but they’re the only bun that I could find that was exactly the right size. Speaking of exactly the right size, we need to cut down thirty slices of American cheese, retrieve our beef from the freezer, peel off the parchment paper, and start snapping them up into individual patties. Now there is gonna be a bunch of beef scraps here, which you can repurpose – just don’t refreeze it if you let it thaw to room temperature. Now that the patties are separated, it’s finally time to head on over to the stovetop, where I need something a bit more dramatic than the usual burners and cast iron. Let’s just adjust the camera here… give you a little bit better view of what’s going on – and first things first, we need to lube up our hot griddle top with a bit of vegetable oil, and then we need to lay down a big ol’ bed of onions, because unbeknownst to me, White Castle burgers never actually touch the grill. Instead, the frozen patties are placed on top of a large bed of onions and cooked solely using onion vapors, which we are gonna help along by giving our onions a healthy squirt of water: both to prevent them from browning too quickly and to produce as much steam as possible. I’m just gonna sweat these onions for two to three minutes until they’re just turning translucent, maybe picking up a bit of color, and then it’s burger time. I’m just gonna make sure that I laid down enough onions to support a burger pattern of ten by three. Looks like we’re good to go, so down go the patties. We want them stacked right up next to each other so the only place for steam to escape is through the holes. Then once all the patties are laid down, we’re gonna hit them with just a little bit of kosher salt – not too much because American cheese is salty. Next up, something I think is gonna freak everybody out a little bit, but this is what they do at White Castle: the bottom bun goes directly on the patties, with the top bun over top. This is to both warm the buns and trap steam so the burgers cook more quickly. Once the onions have picked up some nice color and the burgers are sufficiently… gray, we’re going to invert them onto a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. I’m gonna do this in batches of ten so the burgers don’t cool down too quickly. I’m gonna hit each burger with a slice of American cheese and a single dill pickle chip, which I’m then going to finish with the top bun, the steamy heat of which should hopefully melt the cheese, all on its own. As you can see, the burgers have shrunk perfectly to fit the size of the bun, each patty is beautifully laden with browned onions and the buns are nice and warm and squishy. So now, I’m just gonna rinse and repeat with the remaining twenty patties, keeping the fully constructed patties in a low oven to keep them warm, and now it’s time for the money shot: a cheesy, beefy palace erected in honor of one of my favorite comedies from when I was in high school. And there you have it, folks, that’s what thirty sliders looks like. I’m just gonna take a few off the top here, so it’s a little bit more structurally sound. Introduce two pounds of crinkle-cut french fries into the situation. I think that’s everything… N- Wait a minute. Nope, one more thing… We need Diet Coke and Cherry Coke to be truly accurate. And there we go. One full order from the penultimate chapter of Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. But, how does it taste? Does it taste like the real thing? Does it taste better? And I gotta say; the burger and onion flavors are on point, the only difference, nay, the only improvement comes from the use of a potato roll. Now, I have to admit this is a little bit too much for me to eat on my own. So I have a bunch of, let’s say, “inebriated” friends in the other room who are gonna help me make sure that none of this goes to waste. But let’s say you don’t use appetite enhancing substances, and you want to make these burgers in a slightly more reasonable format. To do so, the procedure is very much the same: we’re gonna prepare the beef the same way,
the onions as well, but we’re gonna cook everything on a cast-iron pan. I got my buddy Jamie Wax here helping me out, and we made just enough burgers for the two of us. And last, but not least: what about a “Babish” version? As you might imagine, this is gonna start with us grinding our own beef. The fat content of White Castle burgers is very high, so we’re gonna use chuck and short rib, bones cut out, silverskin trimmed off, and cut into 1-inch cubes that we’re gonna place on a parchment lined baking sheet. We’re then gonna place this whole affair in the freezer for about fifteen minutes, just until the edges and corners of the beef become very firm. Then we’re gonna place it into our brand-spankin’-new food processor work bowl, along with a blade that we have also chilled in the freezer for about fifteen minutes, and pulse until we get a nice, pebbly ground beef. Shouldn’t take more than thirty seconds worth of pulses, as long as your blade is nice and sharp. Then we’re gonna form the ground beef into one-inch meatballs, because I have every intention of making smash burgers. Over on the cooktop, I am sautéing the onions until they’re nice and soft, and they got a little bit of color, and then most importantly, I am toasting the buns, which is a way to instantly improve virtually any burger. Next up, I’m taking a page out of my man Alvin Cailan’s book and I’m making some cheddar cheese crisps, by putting little piles of shredded cheddar down on the cooktop next to the meat, which before smashing I’m going to season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. And then, like the Hulk says, it’s smashing… time. That’s what he says, right? We are using a dowel to press down hard on the patties, and smearing away with the spatula to ensure patty integrity, then I’m placing dollops of sautéed onions on each of the cheese crisps, followed by the nicely browned burger patties, which we’re not gonna flip because they’re so thin that they’re fully cooked. We’re just gonna stack them in stacks of two and slide them onto our slider rolls. So are these little smashed burgers better than White Castle? No, they’re not better, they’re just different. There’s a lot more texture and crunch and these are positively stuffed with sautéed onions. Plus, I didn’t have to make thirty of them, which is always nice, but they’re both members of the Clean Plate Club. Hey folks, I’m very excited to announce that – oop – to announce that I have received my first advance copy of my book, and even more than before, I am super excited and proud to share it with you. This is the Binging With Babish companion cookbook, and it features the first hundred recipes from the show. It’s got lots of fun facts, beautiful burger models, gorgeous photography, peeks behind the scenes, and an extremely touching foreword by Jon Favreau. You can pre-order your copy at the link in this video’s description, or go to bingingwithbabish.com/cookbook and pre-order to get access to exclusive content before the book comes out October 22nd.