Embrace the Nothingburger
America is going wild over nothingburgers. No one really knows where they came from. There’s a steakhouse in DC that claims credit for inventing them, but so does a grille in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, a diner on the North Dakota prairie says it was serving nothingburgers five years ago, as a lunch special for roughnecks and landmen. Today, there are nothingburger options everywhere. Nothingburger five-stars, nothingburger date spots, nothingburger family joints, artisanal nothingburger food trucks. Nothingburgers were all the rage this Independence Day, and will be sizzling on millions of American grills all summer long.
But if you don’t have a backyard, never fear: you can still cook a restaurant-quality nothingburger in the comfort of your own kitchen. The key thing to know is that a good nothingburger is all about the meat. Don’t settle for low-end nothingburger chuck. Get something something fresh, ground from nothing that’s been pampered, massaged. Keep babying it after you’ve brought it home, seasoning it gently on a wooden cutting board. When it comes to cooking it, the burger has to feel like it’s the center of the world, the world in its very entirety. So sous-viding works best. Seal it in a vacuum bag, drop it in warm water. Turn up the heat gently, letting the nothing sweat in its own juices. After what feels like forever but is actually only a short bit, remove the nothing from the bag and give it a quick sear in a hot cast-iron pan, real fast and super hot — the best nothingburgers are all on that dangerous frontier between too charred and still raw. When it’s done, slap it between two nothingbuns, throw on all the nothingtoppings you want, then open your jaws and take a big bite. Don’t worry about getting any nothing on your chin: you deserve a nothingburger, and you should enjoy it. Besides, everyone else these days is walking around with nothing splattered on their faces too.