BuiltBurger's co-founder David Makuen has a big, beefy dream: create the ultimate patty with all the good stuff mixed into the meat rather than sitting on top. Push the burger envelope with crazy combos like potsticker and Reuben. Yes, a Reuben burger. Sounds wacko, but it tastes great.
And . . . coming right up, he'll soon be introducing a grass-fed, dry-aged burger that's going to silence those critics pooh-poohing Built for being gimmicky. This pasture-raised beef promises to blow off the barn doors. Stay tuned for juicy details on that, and read part one of this week's Grillaxin Q&A for more.
Now, onto some seriously burning questions for this burger master!
SW: For those hand-cut fries on the side: catsup or ketchup?
Makuen: Well, we are sort of "dip snobs." Ketchup is fine, but we have created a rotating assortment of BuiltDips--flavors like "Cilantro Poblano," "Curry Ketchup," and "Sweet Chili Aioli." They are great for dipping fries and our savory beignets.
What's the coolest comment you've heard so far?
A customer said: "I imagine BuiltBurger as a team of burger geeks wearing white lab coats in a padlocked private room inventing the most amazing burgers known to mankind."
How about the strangest?
Somebody said "The burgers tasted really good, but it felt a bit like being a character in Willy Wonka."
Where do you want to be in two years? Are we talking world domination here?
We would like to have 30 BuiltBurger restaurants located around the U.S., all company-owned so we can control the quality and experience.
Are you still developing new recipes? Does this require lots of tasting? Do you need volunteers?
Yes, we develop, on average, two new recipes per week. For example, we are launching a Gumbo Built and a Stout Braised Built shortly. You bet, we do lots of tasting. Before we started, we did a focus group with 50 people. Volunteers with great palates and adventurous food habits are ALWAYS welcome. Just e-mail customerservice@builtburger if you want in.
What do you cook at home? What's the kitchen gadget you can't live without? Your favorite cookbook?
We are really into slow and low at this moment. Braising, tenderizing, etc. We spend a lot of time with different cuts of meats and simple pan-fried fish dishes. Our favorite cookbook is currently simple, classic techniques from The Joy of Cooking.
Check back for part three of this week's Grillaxin for a recipe from David Makuen of BuiltBurger.