Never mind the type of cuisine a restaurant is known for — no matter how upscale, chances are you will find a burger somewhere on the menu.
So it goes at Jockey Hollow Bar + Kitchen, the nine-month-old baby of restaurateur Chris Cannon, who is operating a four-part restaurant within the historic Vail Mansion in Morristown after a multi-year, $5 million renovation.
“We had the burger on from the beginning,” says Executive Chef Kevin Sippel, adding that the burger can be ordered at the 1920s-style glam Vail Bar, as well as on the newly opened patio overlooking the reflecting pond and South Street.
The CC Burger (named after Cannon) comes on a housemade potato roll with American Raclette cheese sourced from Virginia, a slab of local mangalista bacon and salt & pepper fries. It’s topped with a kicky sauce (more on that later).
“It’s juicy, it’s rich, there’s a lot of fat in there, but you still have the flavor of the beef. It tastes like a hamburger should taste,” says Sippel. “It tastes beefy.”
The kitchen staff takes turns coming up with burger specials from week to week. They recently served a Big Country Burger with horseradish sauce and onion rings, and a cook from the Philippines created the Manny Porkquiao (for the Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight): crispy pork adobo flakes, red onion adobo mayo, Napa cabbage slaw and pickled Serrano chilies.
Whether you grind your own meat or purchase it ground, Sippel recommends forming a ball and then tossing it several times from hand to hand like a baseball until it gets a little tacky. This process helps break down the fat so your burgers won’t crumble, “A little sticky. That’s the point you want that burger to be at,” he says.
With a gentle twist of his arm, Sippel agreed to give up the recipe for the burger’s secret sauce, a combination of mayonnaise and Thai chilies picked from Ralston Farm and fermented in oak barrels.
4 parts kewpie mayo
1 part fermented Thai chilies
Do try this at home. After all, your own backyard is always the perfect space for cooking up a good burger.