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Blood, Bread & Bros: Sam Herlihy On The Dude Burger
Sam Herlihy , November 6th, 2013 09:54

Our mighty (white) food writer Sam Herlihy is back! WARNING LACHRYMAL READERS! Contains heartbreaking scene where the Pillsbury Doughboy cradles dying gun shot victim. DON'T SAY WE DIDN'T WARN YOU!

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Jesus was all about the bread and the blood and the bros. He shared loaves around like a Nuke pusher in Robocop. He got mad bloody all over the hill when the Romans took him out like Clarence Boddicker took out Alex Murphy in Robocop. He also rolled around the Holy Lands (Pre-Jesus they were just Lands) with a bunch of bros. I can't think of a Robocop reference that covers the disciples I'm afraid.

I like bread. I am Mighty White. Anything you can eat is better as a sandwich - anything. Any edible item placed atop a bit of bread is awesome. Two exceptions are cereal which should be placed atop the bin, or blood.

Blood on bread sucks. Blood on a bread bun sucks. Burger blood on a bread bun sucks harder. Burger blood on a bread bun served up by a bro cannot suck any harder. I have discovered through dutiful, focused, targeted research, that this is the mathematical apex of sucking. This is Dyson Quad-Cyclone, Divine Brown or a hungry octopus on Hugh Grant suction perfection.

Dude food has been a thing for a while. Dudes with barbecues, smokers, pigs, fat, bourbon, pigs, grills, fire. For the first time, pasty English blokes can eat a pretty decent facsimile of downhome Yankee BBQ on the dank streets of England. Brits are pulling pork like they used to pull themselves to sad lonely climaxes in bedsits. Ribs are seen in real life, on plates, not just in Flintstones cartoons. Fucking coleslaw is everywhere.

All of this is fine. A form of culinary horizon widening is awesome. But now they are all making burgers. All of these burgers suck ass harder than a Dyson, Divine Brown or a damn octopus down the back of your trousers. It's all because of the blood.

If I want to eat bleeding cow, I'll order a steak or I'll pretend I'm a chupacabra, dress up like a massive aggro bat and go rolling around the plains of Puerto Rico biting defenseless cattle. Eating well-done steak is idiotic. Ignoring culinary snobbery entirely and focusing only on science, well-done steak is dumb. It's dry and flavourless. Burgers are different. Burgers are served on bread. A rare burger leaks haemoglobin onto a bun like a gunshot victim lying in the arms of The Pillsbury Doughboy.

"Stay with me!"

"I feel so cold..."

"Stay with me, damnit! Medic!" screams The Pillsbury Doughboy, his doughy lap dyed crimson. A single floury tear emerges from his big dumb bread eyes...

I know these dudes have a high end secret house blend of dry aged cow. Aberdeen Angus is in play. Bovine royalty has been lovingly ground and shaped like Demi works that pot in Ghost. It has been flame grilled over seasoned oak gathered at dawn on the Twelfth Night of Christmas, by a druid, in Ballamory or Brigadoon. A tattooed dude chef in a denim apron, in a plaid shirt, to a soundtrack of 'Gimme Shelter', has charred that beef disk to perfection. He has placed it manfully upon a brioche bun baked and lathered by a baking savant who only bakes when the yonder clock strikes wonder, and when the wheat has been milled by the strange and haunting light of a harvest moon ('Gimme Shelter' has finished now. Neil Young is up! 'Cortez The Killer' y'all!). Dude Chef applies a drip of housemade (aka foul crap in comparison to Heinz) ketchup. Sorry! They call it "catsup" here! They lurve America and diners and baseball and morbid obesity in kids in shorts in Florida.

He makes the final addition, a little pot filled with coleslaw. Fucking coleslaw.

Another dude, this one bored, unimpressed, bearded, plaid shirt, places the holy burger before me. I take a bite, pausing only to rock out a little to the solo in 'Cinnamon Girl' - I want the bored dude to know I know my Neil Young. (I don't. High pitched Canadian dude who ruined a few awesome Pearl Jam jams?)

I chew the bite. Damn that's a fine burger. These dudes know their burgerology. I move my maw in for the second bite. My giant red face bears down on the burger. I stop. I've seen something. Blood! The fucking bun is bright red! There's a puddle of blood underneath! My delicious side of fucking coleslaw is turning pink as the sanguine fluid mingles with the mayo. I want to yell out to the bored dude and the chef dude and all the other dudes: "I AM NOT JESUS! I DO NOT ROLL WITH NO BLOOD, BREAD AND BROS!" I do not yell out. I finish the bloody mess and gripe and moan. I wish I'd gone to McDonalds. What has never lived cannot bleed.*

(*Unlike Robocop, who is a cyborg. Whilst his titanium exoskeleton is silly tough, if you catch a good shot at one of the linking areas of the armor you may hit a wizened, milk-fed bit of Alex Murphy. Achilles heel people! I'm still unsure why they didn't just keep his brain and maybe his face. Why keep a few bits of shot-up skin? It's gross.)

In the three storey iron vats where Ronald McDonald mixes up the 'beef' for his patty action there is no blood! This is why the Big Mac is a theorem long proven and respected by anyone with a brain. That clown is no clown. He created the perfect edible item.

The Big Mac Theory is explained in the book The Art Of Living According To Joe Beef. This is one of the greatest cookbooks (of sorts) in print. Joe Beef is a restaurant in Montreal. It's owners and the co-writers of the book, David McMillan and Frédéric Morin, come across as funnier, more intelligent and more irritated by idiocy than any other restaurateurs I've ever heard of. You should get the book. It will teach you lush recipes, welding skills, the top Canadian train itineraries and how to build a garden in a crack den.

Paraphrasing them greatly with nowt but respect and groveling awe:


"The Big Mac has everything in the right amounts. The combination is so perfect that the whole becomes better than the parts. You have salt, fat then sugar and acid. It is irresistible and unstoppable."

They go on to say:

"Obviously we're not using the example of a Big Mac for its political or nutritional value."

So before y'all put down your Oneohtrix Point Never critiques on The Quietus' comments section to start whining at me for being some sort of mass-market corporation fellator, read the above. I'm no shill for the Arches. I don't cuddle up with the Clown. Purely from a flavour balance perspective, the Big Mac is better than that ten quid burger people keep queuing for. The first bite of the dude-burger is a beef bomb. That fired cow flavour will knock you on your ass, as you perch uncomfortably on some hard 'reclaimed' industrial chairs. After that dreamy bite one, here comes the red wave. Iron rich blood coats the tongue and you start wondering if Carrie is pulling her prom schtick in your mouth.

All these dudes and their burgers are missing the point. They need to cook that beef more! The burger shouldn't be dry, yet McDonalds patties are dry like mummy cloths in Giza. However! The Big Mac bun is some sort of weird stabilised matrix which eats as if it's a sort of yeasted wheat liquid. The cheese is wet like a damp wetsuit but melted and the sauce gives a plasticine sense of moisture. The lettuce melts. The whole thing melts away like you drank the thing. You don't need blood in a Big Mac! The liquid content in each bite is provided elsewhere.

Jesus would have hated it. No blood and no bros. The staff in McDonalds are all probably good kids working away for drug and sweets money, but they ain't no bros. You can't be a bro with a starred name badge. Or a hat that isn't a beanie or a trucker cap.

Jesus would have been mad keen on the dude burger experience. He'd have blood, bread, bros, and he would experience it all uncomfortably due to the volume/cramped dining room/torture chairs. He'd suffer through it as Jesus is supposed to. These burger places are pretty much the new Holy Lands for Jesus. If he decides he's had enough of cloud living back with his turncoat Pa, he could come back and traipse around these 'joints'* instead. Jesus could drink blood, break bread, perform some of his sweet tricks on the gullible and easily impressed who flock to these places.

"Jesus, if you can hear me, if you have been trawling the internet up on that cloud of yours looking for culinary wit and you ended up here, heed my word brother! Get down to one of these 'joints'*. Come down here! We got all you need right here! There are bros! Loads of bros! Women are too intelligent to get dragged in here. There's blood! There's bread! There are people desperately searching for meaning in their vacant dim lives! You can help! Hear me big J-Man! Hear me!"

(*No word worse in the entire magnificent span of the English language. See below:

  1. Joint: A point of articulation between two or more bones. This sounds gross and makes you think of cartilage and wounds, or Robocop, which is better.

  2. Joint: A marijuana cigarette. Stoners are hippy gimps. Weed is a dumb drug for people who talk like Beavis and Butthead but are less funny. They probably wear tracksuit bottoms too. Or flares. Fuck 'em.

  3. Joint: Ludicrous term for a restaurant currently in use by middle class English morons.

These fools think that because their establishment mainly serves meat and dark liquor, they are basically the restaurant world's answer to Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, and Charles Bukowski. Were the three aforementioned dead writers alive, they would surely be regulars in these 'joints' eating ten quid burgers and sickly sweet bourbon cocktails while listening to 'Sympathy For the Devil' or some godawful live bootleg of James Brown twelve-minute dry humping the remains of 'I Feel Good' live in Memphis in 74.)

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Nov 6, 2013 3:20pm

Just ask for your burger to be grilled longer.

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Nov 6, 2013 3:24pm

I hear you Sam and I concur. We should stick to Breakfast because you colonials sure messed that up...pancakes with syrup and bacon? Come on now...

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Andrew Gregg
Nov 6, 2013 3:42pm

That stuff in rare red meat ain't blood, bro - it's myoglobin - basically coloured water - Chickens have blood - don't see none coming out of your Chicken no matter how rare it is - comprendez dude ?

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Phil Ramsden
Nov 6, 2013 3:42pm

I dunni, I quite like my burger a little bit pink.

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Phil Ramsden
Nov 6, 2013 3:43pm

In reply to Phil Ramsden:

Or rather, "I dunno..."

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White Blood Cell
Nov 6, 2013 3:58pm

Rubbish! Rare and medium rare burgers are delicious, glorious things. Keep your dry patties and refined starch and let it flow.

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Nov 6, 2013 4:10pm

I love barbecue. I love 'Gimme Shelter' and 'Cortez the Killer'. I have a beard, I have a trucker hat, I have a 'silly diverse' arsenal of plaid shirts. I am ashamed of none of these things. I don't even mind a little bit of red cow-juice on my burger bun. Quite like it when it mixes with the mayo, actually.

I should be roaring in impotent, bespittled fury at my computer screen, condemning Sam Herlihy as a holier-than-thou, know-it-all poindexter, for meta-pissing all over so many parts of me.

Instead, I feel gently sad and inclined to agree. I can only attribute this to (a) masochism, (2) the overbearing feeling that everyone else who shares my sartorial/musical/culinary predilections is enjoying themselves far more than I am and 4. the fact that Sam Herlihy's writing is pretty fucking funny, if a bit holier-than-thou and know-it-all-y.

Pancakes with syrup and bacon, though...that's fucking wonderful.

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Taun Aengus
Nov 6, 2013 5:26pm

My Grandpa who was a dyed in the wool real cowboy who spent his entire life in west Texas, USA, always ate his beef "Burnt on the outside and raw in the middle." I personally don't care for the burnt on the outside part but well sealed is good, the raw in the middle is the way God intended meat to be eaten. (IF it's GOOD meat) I've also been on a life long quest to find the perfect hamburger. I've had a few really good ones and anybody with taste buds knows that anything from McD's or ANY of those chain places is basically shite. Just make your damn burger at home the way you want it. Also--If you want to have REAL BBQ and REAL GOOD BBQ go to Austin, Texas, USA and get in line at Franklin's. I've yet to find better BBQ in all my world travels. This is NOT a paid announcement.

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Nov 6, 2013 5:29pm

In reply to Taun Aengus:

Frankin's indeed is the greatest. Dude is a genius

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Nov 6, 2013 6:10pm

In reply to Taun Aengus:

"Just make your damn burger at home the way you want it."

Right on.

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Nov 7, 2013 4:12am

The first five paragraphs of this piece are the funniest I've read on the web in too long. Hilarious to think that Brits are attempting to approximate the lowbrow dudeness of backyard American BBQs. It's like the culinary equivalent to Southern California scooter clubs where members approximate their favorite character from Quadrophenia, all the way down to the harrington and "mod" flavored union jack logos.

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Tim Clarke
Nov 7, 2013 6:18am

This is hilarious stuff. Sam's blog is great, too.

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Nov 7, 2013 6:20am

Oh my god this was so great. I was crying. And I live in Arizona, there's a BBQ 'joint' at every mega mall, a state where you're nearly side swiped every other minute on the freeway by lane filling, gas spewing four door trucks with bumper stickers that say "No Obamacare," where on the very same freeways you pass giant billboards advertising sports themed parenting classes at mega churches with the accompanying photo being of a cool mom and dad, dopy faced and donning football helmets and black paint underneath their eyes....

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Jackson Bollock
Nov 7, 2013 10:08am

The mere mention of blood, burgers & plaid & half of North America suddenly sits up & takes notice. How quaint...

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Nov 7, 2013 10:25am

Personally, I like a huge dollop of Tad with my burgers.

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Maureen Ponderosa
Nov 8, 2013 10:44am

Amen, brother. Amen.

Those glibly suggesting you just ask for the burger to be cooked longer appear 1) to have had a humour lobotomy and 2) not quite grasp the point of an opinion piece.

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John Thomas
Nov 8, 2013 11:06am

Unless it's very good meat that's been handled and cooked by professionals then a pink burger is a first class ticket to a day on the toilet.

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Dec 3, 2013 7:45am

Pearl Jam aren't fit to eat Neil Young's old toenail clippings.

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Dec 12, 2013 6:39pm

This is some solid writing. But just as I was getting into the groove, it ended.

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