Wicked Good Burgers by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart & Andrea Pyenson

Wicked Good Burgers ain’t your daddy’s patty on a bun. The upstart Yankee team that revolutionized barbecue with their upset win at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational turns their talents to burgers. Wicked Good Burgers fearlessly incorporates new techniques, inspirations, and ingredients to take the burger to the next level—whether it’s the Meatloaf Burger on Pretzel Bread with Cabernet Mustard or the Island Creek Burger with Oysters and homemade cocktail sauce. You’ll learn the art and science of freshly grinding meats—from beef to lamb to goat—for the ultimate juicy burger as well as cooking methods such as smoking, grilling, griddling, and sous vide that impart distinctive flavor.

WickedGoodBurgers_lg2 Oh my gosh! Wicked Good Burgers: Fearless Recipes and Uncompromising Techniques for the Ultimate Patty by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart and Andrea Pyeson is so awesome.  I may never grill or cook another type of meal ever again.  I’m going all burgers…all the time.  This is one wicked good cookbook.  I love this cookbook.  It has inspired me…

Okay now that I’ve got the hyperbole out-of-the-way I can move on to the real review.  I had to just get it all out up front or I wouldn’t be able to concentrate.  This book is not your normal slap some cooked hamburger on a bun and top it with some weird cheese or other topping cookbook,  this is cookbook that truly raises the bar on what a great burger should b. Burgers are by far the most popular outdoor meal item to grill.  Wicked Good Burgers will give you the ideas and skills to impress even the most die-hard burger expert.

The very first chapter sets the stage for the rest of the cookbook.  There is a trend today to turn the first chapter of outdoor cooking cookbook in a how-to or why chapter.  Good information is usually, it’s not always new information and some times the first chapter is a throw-away chapter.  I can see a book editor telling a chef/author to just write some stuff andyandchrisbecause it’s expected.  I believe for someone to have passion about cooking it is vital to not only know how to do something it’s important to know why you’re doing the way you are. With Wicked Good Burgers the authors are imparting fantastic information that not only informs it educates.  Now you’ll know the how and the why.

Andy Husbands, the award-winning chef/owner of Tremont 647 in Boston, MA,has been enticing patrons with his adventurous American cuisine at the South End neighborhood restaurant and bar for well over a decade. A James Beard “Best Chef” semi-finalist, Andy competed in the sixth season of Fox Television Network’s “Hells Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsay. When he’s not in the kitchen or working with his favorite charities, Andy is on the BBQ trail with his award-winning team, iQUE.

Chris Hart, winner of the Jack Daniel Invitational World Championship in 2009, has dominated the competition BBQ circuit for the past 10 years with his team, iQUE. The team was the first group of northerners in barbecue history to win a World Championship. Chris spends his days developing software, but his passion for cooking barbecue has him following the competition BBQ trail on weekends, pitting his talents against the best pitmasters in the U.S. In 2010, Chris cooked an elaborate barbecue tasting menu at the James Beard House in NYC. In 2011 he competed in Food Network’s inaugural season of “Best in Smoke.”

Andrea Pyenson has been writing about food for more than a decade and enjoying it for a lot longer than that. Her writing about food and travel has appeared in various publications, including The Boston Globe, edible Boston, edible Cape Cod, msn.com, oneforthetable.com, The Washington Post, and Fine Cooking.

The segment on how to grind your own hamburger meat is a great example of the valuable information provided in Wicked Good Burgers.  There are tips and how-tos throughout the entire book. If you can’t cook a great hamburger after reading this book you should probably turn in your spatula and buy a George Foreman grill.

The side dishes , condiments, burger toppings and non-alcoholic drink accompaniments make the price of the book worth it alone.  Whether it’s a recipe for “The.Best.Mayo Ever” or “Duck Fat Fries” or a “Ginger Root Beer Float” you can find something for every guest to eat.  There’s even a “Black Bean Portobello” burger that I might even consider eating.

Wicked Good Burgers won’t teach you have to make a good burger, it won’t even teach you how to make a great burger.  It will teach you to make a perfect burger.  A perfect burger, what’s a perfect burger?  Well, a perfect burger is a burger that makes you smile when you eat it.  I love all kinds of food, cooked all kinds of different ways.  But there is something about a burger, when done correctly,  that can just make you forget almost anything else you’ve ever eaten.  If you don’t understand what I’m saying then you’ve never experienced a perfect burger and you need to buy this book and read it.

Have I mentioned, yet, how much I love this cookbook?


Hill Country Brisket Burger
Recipe Type: Main
We cook a lot of brisket on the barbecue competition trail, and we always save our trimmings. In fact, some of our favorite recipes have come from the creative use of trimmings. We freeze the odd, leftover pieces of brisket, and when we have enough, we make this awesome burger. You don’t have to wait until you accumulate enough scraps, though.
[b]Recipe reprinted, with permission, from “Wicked Good Burgers” by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart & Andrea Pyenson. Published by Fair Winds Press.[/b]
  • 11⁄2 pounds (680 g) brisket flat, trimmed of excess fat
  • 11⁄2 pounds (680 g) brisket point, trimmed of excess fat
  • 6 tablespoons (38 g) Basic BBQ Rub (recipe)
  • 1 cup (250 g) Pit Sauce (recipe)
  • 12 slices inexpensive white sandwich bread
  • Garlic Butter (recipe)
  • 1 batch Quick-Pickled Onions (recipe)

Special Equipment
  • Grinder attachment to stand mixer
  1. Freeze the brisket until stiff but not frozen, about 1 hour.
  2. Using the coarse grinder plate, grind the brisket according
  3. to the technique in chapter 1 (page 15). Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Prepare a kettle grill for two-zone grilling (see pages 18–19). Clean the grill grate well with a stiff wire brush. Build a hot charcoal fire on one side. Leave the other side empty. This provides a cooler zone to finish cooking the burger.
  5. While the grill is heating, prepare the patties. Shape the ground beef into 6 square patties that are slightly larger than the bread and a little thicker around the edges than in the center—about 1 inch (2.5 cm) on the edges and 3⁄4 inch (2 cm) in the middle. The center of the burger will expand during the cooking process and result in an even thickness. Don’t overwork the meat or pack it tightly. The loose consistency may make the grilling process bit more challenging, but it yields a super-tender burger.
  6. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon (6 g) Basic BBQ Rub on both sides of each patty. Grill 2 minutes per side, uncovered. Carefully move patties to the cool side of the grill, baste generously with Pit Sauce, and cover the grill. Let patties cook 2 to 3 minutes for rare (125°F, 52°C) internal temperature), 3 to 4 minutes for medium rare (130°F, 54°C), or 4 to 5 minutes for medium (135°F, 57°C).
  7. Remove the burgers from the grill and rest on a platter, loosely tented with foil.
  8. Lay the bread slices on the grill just long enough to get a light char, a minute or so. Using tongs, turn the bread over and char the other side. Remove and brush 1 side of each slice with softened garlic butter.
  9. Place a patty on one buttered piece of toast, heap generously with onions, and lay another piece of toast on top. Slice in half. Repeat for the remaining burgers. Serve with lots of napkins.


2 Comments on Wicked Good Burgers by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart & Andrea Pyenson

  1. Larry -
    Thanks for the killer review, give me a shout if you’re ever in Boston, I’d love to cook for you.


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