Craft Burgers & Crazy Shakes from Black Tap

Craft Burgers and Crazy Shakes from Black Tap by Joe Isidori is a fun, modern cookbook that brings a feeling of nostalgia home. What is more iconic when we think of American food than a burger and shake (okay….maybe a hot dog and apple pie)? 

Black Tap restaurants are the place to be in New York with four locations citywide. Now with this cookbook we can create a Black Tap experience in our own kitchens. The book is divided into two parts – burgers and accompaniments and on the flip side (literally flip the book over) Isidori details how to bring all the shakes to your blender. 

The author first breaks down the components of a great burger before delivering recipes for a variety of exciting burger combinations including the Rueben Burger, Carolina Burger and a few recipes for salads incorporating wait for it . . . burgers. Sauces, sides, fries and onion rings are laid out as well. Then we flip the book over and are greeted with some far out, diet-destroying shakes: Red Velvet Shake or a Blueberry Pie Shake anyone? This is a book for the burger (and shake) lover in all of us.

Thanks to Pam Krauss/Avery, a division of Penguin Random House and Joe Isidori for allowing us to share a recipe for the Steak Au Poivre burger and for our giveaway of three copies of this book to members in the US and Canada. 

Steak au Poivre Burger  Serves 4

The year we opened, Zagat called this one of the best new burgers in New York. It’s an unctuous play on the steakhouse classic and the traditional flavors of French cuisine that I admire as a chef. The green peppercorn sauce is made with a touch of cream and brandy to highlight the beef; you’ll have about ½ cup left over, so save the sauce to try with your next steak dinner, too. The Steak au Poivre Burger is great with fries, just like its original bistro inspiration.

Best Beer: Back in Black IPA, 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, California

Green Peppercorn Sauce

1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter (1 tablespoon at room temperature)
½ medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons drained green peppercorns in brine
2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese


2 pounds 20% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
Four 4-inch potato buns
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
Lettuce, tomato slices, pickle spears, for serving

1.         Make the green peppercorn sauce: Melt the ½ tablespoon of cold butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the green peppercorns and cook for 1 minute, then pour in the cooking wine and cook, stirring often, until half the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the cream, vinegar, Worcestershire, and Kitchen Bouquet. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

2.         Turn off the heat and set the sauce aside to cool for 10 minutes, then pour it into a blender. Add the cheese and the butter with the motor running and blend until the sauce is smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a small saucepan and set aside. The sauce can also be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

3.         Make the burgers: Place the ground beef in a large bowl and gently use your fingers to fluff the meat to loosen it (you don’t want to overhandle the meat). Set a 4 ½- to 5-inch metal ring (or make a “collar” by folding a long piece of aluminum foil into a 1-inch strip and taping it into a 4 ½- to 5-inch circle) on a plastic wrap-lined cutting board. Place one-quarter of the meat in the ring, using light pressure to create a perfectly even and not-too-packed ¾-inch-thick patty. Carefully remove the ring and repeat with the remaining beef to make 4 patties. Mix the salt and pepper together in a small bowl and use half of it to season the tops of the burger generously.

4.         Heat a cast-iron flat-top griddle or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Dip a folded paper towel in the oil and use it to grease the pan (you won’t use all the oil). Use a spatula to carefully transfer the patties to the pan, seasoned-side down. Sprinkle the patties with the remaining salt and pepper mixture. Cook without pressing down or moving the burgers until the bottoms are browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the burgers over and continue to cook for 4½ to 5 minutes longer for medium-rare or 7 minutes more for medium. (If, after flipping, there is a lot of rendered fat in the pan, carefully tilt the pan and spoon or pour it out-otherwise, the burgers will steam rather than sear.) Sprinkle each burger with 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese, then cover the pan until the cheese has melted, about 1 minute. Transfer the burgers to a plate.

5.         Pour off most of the fat from the pan and use a paper towel to wipe out the browned bits. (Alternatively, heat a second pan or griddle and grease it lightly with the remaining oil.) Open the buns and place the bottom halves cut-side down in the hot pan and cook until browned and toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the buns over to toast the other side, 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. Place each bun half on a plate, then repeat with the bun tops.

4.         Transfer each patty to a bottom bun half and cover with the top bun. Warm the peppercorn sauce over medium heat, stirring so it doesn’t burn at the bottom. Serve the burgers with lettuce, a tomato slice, and a pickle spear, with the peppercorn sauce on the side.


Reprinted from CRAFT BURGERS & CRAZY SHAKES by arrangement with Pam Krauss Books/Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Joe Isidori



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  • rchesser  on  January 24, 2017

    I'd definitely make more burgers at home if they came out as good looking as the pic on the cover!

  • Charlene13  on  February 23, 2017

    I like a great beef, bacon, avocado and brie burger.

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