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I enjoy so many burgers in various configurations, but my hands-down favorite burger is the ATW burger from Melvin's in Elizabethtown, North Carolina. I've posted about this one before, but this time I made it on a griddle.
|All-the-Way means the burger comes with coleslaw, chili, diced onions, and yellow mustard.|
Melvin's Hamburgers & Hotdogs - Elizabethtown NC
When I was a wee lad and would visit my grandparents' farm, one of the highlights of my trip would be the day we went to town to get a sack of burgers from "the pool hall" (Melvin's is located where the pool hall used to be).
The line would always be out the back door, but it moved quickly, even for a hungry 9-year-old. This is a typical lunchtime.|
|The line moves so fast because the menu is limited. Photo Credit: ZMenu|
- creamy coleslaw,
- diced onions, and
- yellow mustard.
|When you get a Melvin's, it comes wrapped in a plain white paper. When you unwrap it, the slaw, chili, mustard, and onions have gotten all mixed together into one big flavor party. Photo Credit: TripAdvisor|
Here is how I made my pretend Melvin's at home.
The Burger Patty
I know that back in the late '70s or early '80s, the local grocery store (Red & White?) custom ground the beef for Melvin's, and rumor has it that they ground bread with the meat. That makes sense if you consider the French technique of using a panade with ground meats.
If I'm grinding my meat, I will grind in a slice of bread for every pound. If not, I get the freshest ground chuck that I can buy, which I did for these burgers.
|I weigh the ground chuck into 6-ounce portions, which is bigger than a Melvin's.|
|Then I use a Ballistic Burger Smasher (out of stock for a while now) to form the patties.|
|My grill set up is a large Big Green Egg outfitted with an Adjustable Rig (Ceramic Grill Store). I put an old griddle plate from another grill across the support bars, and it's a perfect fit. I preheat the grill to 450-500°f and then put the cast iron griddle plate in there 5 minutes before cooking.|
|Perfect burger to bun ratio going on there.|
Now it is time for the toppings.
|Whatever you use, you want a finely ground or smooth chili, not a chunky chili loaded with beans.|
|I used about 2-3 tablespoons of coleslaw and the same amount of chili.|
For an All-The Way burger, you want a creamy, southern-style slaw. I just whipped one up on the spot. I didn't measure, but it was close to this.
- 1 bag slaw mix
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup Duke's mayonnaise
- 1-ounce rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- Mix everything but the slaw mix together and pour over the slaw mix.
- Toss to coat. Best if you let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Onions and Mustard
No dijon here; you want to use plain yellow mustard. Don't be shy either; use more mustard than you think you need. I would guess about one tablespoon.
Melvin's uses a moderate amount of diced onion, while Cookout uses an entire cross-section slice of onion, so you get a mouthful of onion with every bite. I prefer Melvin's method. But when I want a drive-through burger, we're usually headed to Cookout!
This burger was the best. The creamy, crispy slaw offsets the spicy chili and onion. The mustard is also a prominent flavor. The best is when all of those flavors get mixed together, and you get that full-on taste; it is mouthwateringly mesmerizing! It's a bit of an "elbow dripper," so have plenty of napkins!
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