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A pro chef gives us tips on how to make a great breakfast burger

Burger for breakfast? Yes, please.

brunch burger with egg on plate.
Virgina’s Brunch Burger with egg. Virginia’s / Le CollectiveM

A juicy hamburger full of umami beef and perfectly melted cheese is a dream lunch or dinner for any carnivore. But what about breakfast? When adding ingredients like a fried egg, crispy bacon, and avocado, who says the cheeseburger can’t be a perfect meal for the morning?

Virginia’s in East Village, New York, is one restaurant leveraging that breakfast burger idea into reality. “To us and our guests, the Virginia’s Burger has become synonymous with Virginia’s,” explains Executive Chef Jake Yont. “When the space originally entered the NYC dining scene back in 2015, we did not offer any variation of a burger. However, due to popular demand, the Virginia’s Burger was born and has been beloved ever since.”

Burger with egg on plate.
The Brunch Burger at Virginia’s. Virginia’s / Le CollectiveM

Virginia’s Brunch Burger

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine
  • 1 1/2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or canola oil
  • 4 brioche buns, toasted if desired
  • Mayonnaise, fried eggs, bacon, avocado to serve
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Deglaze with the wine, scraping the bottom of the skillet, and cover to keep warm.
  2. Form beef into four equal-sized patties, about 4×4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Season aggressively all over (remember the sides!) with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high. Once the pan is very hot, add oil and burgers and cook, flipping just once, until cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer the burgers to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Serve with toasted buns (if desired), mayonnaise, caramelized onions, fried egg, bacon, avocado and additional condiments of your choice.

Brunch burger tips and drink pairings

Like any burger, the key to a great brunch burger is using high-quality ground beef with the right amount of fat and meat. “We use a blend of 80-20 beef, but you can use whatever you like — including a blend of meats if you prefer,” said Yont. “We don’t use any special marinade or seasoning to maximize the flavor of our burger, but we do season it on all sides (not just top and bottom!) with a lot of salt and pepper. That helps give it a really nice crust.”

Finally, what brunch is complete without a tasty drink? “The burger goes really well with red wine, and there’s no reason not to drink a glass of red at brunch, especially if it’s chilled,” said Yont. “We’d opt for a nice gamay, but if you’re looking for something a little lighter, an IPA would be another standup choice.”

Hunter Lu
Hunter Lu is a New York-based food and features writer, editor, and NYU graduate. His fiction has appeared in The Line…
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