Friday, July 31, 2009

Burger research with George Motz Part II

Once again I find myself going to go meet George Motz for some Burger Research. On this day we started in Lake Mills at the V.F.W Burger Stand. I have been there to eat but George has not. George shows up and we go right to work. George likes to order the burger a place sells the most. He is told what it was by Carol who is working the window. George orders a "Burger With." Which is a burger with fried onions, more liked steamed. I pass on a burger knowing it is going to be a long day of eating. Some of the staff ask if George is the guy they read about in the morning paper. Word got out that he was coming to the area. You can read the "Leak" here... Wisconsin State Journal. George finish his burger and we go inside the little burger joint to ask questions. This place is small and I am surprise the seven of us could move around. (5 volunteers working and the two of us) I won't go in to details of what we learn but I will give you the basics. You can read about my other visit here, VFW Post 67 Ok this is a fried Burger. No grill, no flat top, this burger is fried in Canola Oil. If you ask for cheese they put it on the burger when it is about to be wrapped in wax paper. This is so the heat from the burger melts the cheese. We order another burger to be a model. George gets some shots then we split the burger to share it. Now George wants to get a picture of the front. He had to stand in the road. So I step out to stop traffic. At one point a Semi-Truck was coming at us. Who said Burger Research is not dangerous!!! Pictured above is George at work. After som more pictures George goes inside to get even more info. I wait outside just people watching as the lunch rush has started. George gets the info that he needs and a T-shirt then we are off to Jefferson WI, quick 10 minute drive. Before we leave though George gives me an In-n-Out Burger T-shirt for my help.

If you know your Hamburger America Book going to Jefferson means we are stopping at Perterson's or Wedl's. We order our burgers and George is catching up with the boys in the stand. He gets a couple pictures of the burger then we go inside to talk to the new owner. Inside there are pictures from way back of the place. Once again George strikes out with getting a T-shirt they are out. Now off to Madison WI.

We are going to Madison to go have a burger at the Plaza. We are also meeting Doug Moe who writes for the Wisconsin State Journal. He is the one that wrote the article of George's visit and has written a couple columns on burgers in Madison. George was excited to visit the VFW Stand but he was looking forward to taking a bite out of a Plaza Burger. It has a Special Sauce that George wants to know what it is. If you get to Madison have a Plaza Burger! We order our Plaza Burgers and boy do they hit the spot. We talk to Dean the owner and he tells us that people bring in the Hamburger America Book for him to sign. People that are on road trips using the book as a guide to destinations. Heck I even have my book signed by Dean last year. Have you lost count of how many burgers we have had??? Next stop my Dotty's Dumplings for some deep fried cheese curds!!

We get to Dotty's and I tell George this is my hang out now. I probably visit there once a week now. We go inside and order the cheese curds. Our order comes but we can't even put a dent into the order we are so full from eating all day. George gets a to go box so he can take them home. If George wanted a Plaza Burger the cheese curds were a close second on his list to eat that day. George heads out but I stay at Dotty's. It is about 2 pm now, we started at about 10 am. I am full and tired so I sit at Dotty's talking with the staff while I have some beers. Well around 6 I am still there just talking and getting hungry. Yep I order and Cheeseburger and fries. So that day I had 3 1/2 burgers and some cheese curds... I would have to say it was a good day. Hopefully the VFW Hamburger Stand will make the book. I have learn from George that you can get some good quotes from people. Well I got one that day and it came from George. I have called the burger places in Lake Mills, Watertown and Jefferson a "Triangle" George has a better saying he calls it "The Burger Belt." If you think from Madison WI to Milwaukee/Glendale there are 6 burger places that are truly Hamburger America. That is about an 80 mile stretch from Madison to Milwaukee/Glendale. 4 of the places are in the book with 2 more possibly in the new edition. If you are looking for Hamburger America, Wisconsin is a good place to visit.

Next up research for me in the Chicago area once again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hooters Burger

Like I was going to put up a picture of the Burger from Hooters. Well a couple weekends ago I was in Rockford for a Corvette show. The show was at Hooters. About 4 of us from my Corvette Club went down to the show. As you can see the girls were out walking around the show. Picture is me with the ladies and my girl, the yellow Corvette. Ok back to the Burger. I order it medium rare. It came pretty much rare. I was so hungry that I did not care. I have the burger down quickly because the award presentation is happening. I actually liked the burger from this "Chain." It is no Five Guys but it was good, for some reason. I have had bad food from the Hooters that was, yes was in Madison.

For the past week I have been staying away from Burgers..... yeah me. Oh I have a good reason as you will soon find out!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Celebrating Hamburger America, Motz style!

Well it is the July 4th weekend. What better way to celebrate then to grill out. On the Fourth I made Steaks and twice baked potatoes. On July 5th I was on a mission to grill my own burgers. I first went right to my local grocery store. I walked right passed the meat counter. I was there just to get buns. Next I go to my local butcher (Village Meat Market) but he is closed. They were open on the 4th so today was their off day. Well I know another place a quick 10 minute drive. I get to Jim's and the place is doing brisk business. I find what I am looking for ground Chuck. It says lean but I don't ask if it is 80/20. I get one pound and ask if it is ground twice, the gentlemen behind the counter says yes. I pay and I am on my way back home. Now I am planning on cooking on a gas grill. I am new to cooking on a gas grill but I am confident I will not make my burger a hockey puck. I was thinking of doing the Charcoal grill but the gas was faster. I take my ground beef and make into a ball, bigger then a golf ball, oops. The second patty was more of a golf ball size. I make a the patties with just the heel of my palm. I go out and throw them on the grill. No salt, no pepper. I use to season my patties but where I work we don't season our patties at all, we let the grill do that. 2 minutes, quarter turn, another 2 minutes and flip. Making grill marks and less flips the better. One more quarter turn and but the buns on the top rack to toast a bit. Put the buns on a plate and get the burgers on the bun. I go inside open up the fridge and take out........ NO not Ketchup! Mustard either. I grab my bottle of Chipotle Ranch!! Sure it is not the same as the sauce on a Motz Burger but it is close. Mmmmmmmm my own Motz Burger made at home. Most people would go to a fast food joint. With driving time to get beef, cook it I bet I put in 45 minutes. I could have gone the fast food way but this is more satisfying!! I plan on doing some other burgers in my kitchen, like the guberburger. I will save those for a day I need to cook inside. Today was a grilling day so I did. Can't find a burger joint..... just get some fresh ground beef and bring Hamburger America home folks.

Happy Birthday America!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Second Trip to Green Bay

Well I found myself in Green Bay WI the last weekend in June. As always I try to do Burger Research when I travel. I had two places I wanted to try, Kroll's East and Al's Hamburger Shop. Most people in Green Bay know about Kroll's but not as many know about Al's. I did the Kroll's West location last summer, The Great Burger Trip Day 2.

Kroll's East was est. in 1935 it is a Tavern/ restaurant. Here is a description from their menu: All of our burgers are made fresh on the premises from 100% Black Angus Beef; then char grilled to perfection over hot coals. Each of these mouth-watering sandwiches is topped with real Wisconsin butter (margarine on request) and served on a toasted (semel) hard roll (soft roll on request)

They have a large menu but I was there for the burgers. The staff seemed to be mostly High School kids. A young lad took my order. I ordered a Cheeseburger and fries. The "Everything On" is catsup, yes I said castsup, raw onion, pickles, butter and sharp American cheese. I hold the onion on my order. Glenn from Solly's told me to try this place last year but I did the West location not the original. I know some people from Green Bay, they also tell me the burgers are good here plus the chili. Kroll's always gets Best of Green Bay. While I wait, I take in the place. There is a horseshoe counter with about 12-13 stools. There are many booths, wooden no cushions. Here are some nice photos. I usually try to get a view of the cooking area but not today. There is a separate door outside that people go through to the pick-up window for carryouts. While I wait I see an order of about 8 burgers go out to the dining room. It takes about 10 minutes for my order, which is not long. I don't look for fast food, just good food. My Cheeseburger comes wrapped in wax paper that is it. My fries are in a paper basket. My order total, $7.30 with a beverage. The bun is toasted and my Cheeseburger is cut in half. I take it and the butter is oozing onto my wax paper. When I did the West location I could hardly taste the butter. There is a really charred taste to the burger. Knowing me I have the burger gone in seconds. The one thing I do next time is hold the "Catsup." They put so much on, it takes away from the butter. I do have to say Solly's is a better Butter Burger. Kroll's definitely is a family place. The place is big, a sign says limit 271. If you sit in a booth you push a button to call for service. I buy a shirt and head to my next location, Al's Hamburger Shop.

Al's Hamburger Shop, where do I start. This place is small, signs says limit 30 people. Another sign says est. 1934. Al's has a counter with 14 stools, one table and 4 booths. There is a sign by the menu it says, "No Whining When Dining" There is another sign that says, "This in not Burger King, you don't get it your way. You take it my way or you don't get a damn thing!" The booths were full when I arrived about noon. There was maybe 1/2 dozen stools open. The place felt packed or I was just scared haha. A regular is riding the waitress/cook, being a smart guy I just sit quietly and wait. I guy lights up a cigarette, I am not use to seeing that, Madison has had a smoking ban for awhile. As I sit I notice the stools are mismatched, some with legs some bolted down. I tell you they are not too comfy. I put my order in a Cheeseburger with fried onions. I look at the crowd since some have left. A family of 3, a mom, little boy and grandma in one booth now. At the counter are older men ranging from 50-70. I could not sit by the grill but I can see it where I was sitting. The grill is small!! maybe holds 16 patties?? An order of 3 burgers goes in right before me. I waited for 20 minutes for my burger. I was starting to get up set, then my burger arrived (pictured above) I take a bite. It was worth the wait. It is a thick burger, I think to thick to be cooking on a griddle that is why it took so long, plus it must be on a low setting. My onions are on the bottom bun if you can tell by the picture. I have to say Kroll's was good but I think I liked Al's better. Now the decor and atmosphere of Kroll's was better haha. Maybe that was because my waitress/cook and no front teeth, top or bottom!!! I love Burger research!!!

Kroll's East
1658 Main St.
Green Bay WI 54302

Al's Hamburger Shop
131 S Washington St.
Green Bay WI 54301