Chef Ernesto Uchimura didn’t let nostalgia trip him up on his way to building a better cheeseburger. For his signature Plan Check Burger, Uchimura took each component and re-envisioned it, applying technical precision and flavor innovation to every bite. His team grinds beef five to six times a day for optimal freshness; he makes his own American cheese with Parmesan, sharp cheddar, and umami-ful kombu; and he subs in ketchup leather (think savory Fruit Roll-up) for Heinz to keep his Crunch Buns from getting soggy. Caramelized onions even get special love from house-rendered schmaltz. It may look like your standard patty and bun combo, but Uchimura’s Plan Check Burger is the standard bearer for burgers in L.A.
Crunch Bun Make a traditional 4-inch hamburger bun with milk, butter, egg, and a little white rye flour; top with panko and bake until golden.
Ketchup Leather In a blender, purée tomato paste, sugar, cider vinegar, water, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic, allspice, soy sauce, shiitake, and tomatoes.
Thinly spread mixture onto a lined sheet pan and dehydrate at 135ºF, until dry and pliable, and portion into 4-inch squares.
Americanized Dashi Cheese Soak kombu in milk 1 hour, bring to a simmer, remove from heat and stir in katsuobushi. Rest 10 minutes and strain. Bring milk back to a simmer, and whisk in sodium citrate.
In three stages, mount in sharp aged cheddar and Parmesan; add in gelatin that has been softened in milk and mix well.
Pour onto tray with wax paper-lined pan, chill until set, and cut into 4-inch squares.
Schmaltz Onions Render chicken skin until crispy. Remove from pan, cool, and chop into small pieces.
Slowly caramelize onion in rendered schmaltz until deep brown and season with salt and pepper. Stir in chicken skin and season with Worcestershire sauce.
Beef Patty Grind a 75:25 lean to fat ratio mixture of chuck, short rib, and brisket.Gently form a 6-ounce patty in a 4-inch ring mold.
Season patty with salt and pepper. At pick-up, griddle patty in a cast iron pan, until a crust forms and temperature is medium rare.
Pickles Prepare kosher-style pickles with kombu and dill or a spicy version with sriracha, rice wine vinegar, and sesame.
Parmesan-Truffle Salt Butter In a bowl, combine grated Parmesan, butter, and truffle salt; schmear both sides of Crunch Bun with mixture and griddle toast until browned.