I am kind of a burger snob. Blame it on a couple of amazing burgers I’ve had in Connecticut and Rhode Island, simply made with freshly-ground grass-fed meat, topped with tender baby greens and a fresh slice of tomato. Oh, and can’t forget the brioche bun or Portuguese roll. But one sticks out in particular, a moist concoction served by owner Bruce Tillinghast and executive chef Beau Vestal at New Rivers in Providence, Rhode Island. While the duo has never divulged their secrets to me after years of pleading, I’ve taken to repeatedly ordering their burger and trying to dissect the ingredients, in an effort to create my own version. While I don’t think mine will ever be as delicious as theirs, I think I’ve come pretty close.
- 1 pound ground beef, preferably local and grass-fed
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cup fresh basil pesto, plus more for garnish, if desired (optional)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, plus more to taste if necessary
- Salt, preferably Maldon, for seasoning, if desired
- Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning, if desired
- 4 brioche buns or Portuguese rolls, for serving (optional)
- Fresh baby greens or spinach, for serving (optional)
- 4 slices fresh tomato, for serving (optional)
Preheat grill or broiler to high.
In a bowl, combine the meat, mint, pesto, and first 2 tablespoons or Worcestershire sauce. To taste for seasoning, pick off a small bit and sear it off in a hot skillet to see if you need more Worcestershire (I find that it’s enough, when each burger gets a sprinkle of sea salt before grilling).
Divide the meat into four 4-ounce patties and season both sides lightly. Grill or broil until done as you wish (I find 2 minutes per side is good for medium-rare). Meanwhile, toast the buns, if desired. Serve each burger on a bun topped with greens, slice of tomato, and a dollop of pesto, if desired.