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  • The Anatomy of the Ugly Burger from The National at The Benjamin Hotel in NYC

The Anatomy of the Ugly Burger

An inside look at what takes a normal burger to “ugly” status with Chef Geoffrey Zakarian.

Who doesn’t love the perfect burger, paired with a refreshing cocktail? Chef Geoffrey Zakarian of The National Bar & Dining Roomsin NYC shares the recipe and his tips for making the restaurant’s famous Ugly Burger, named unintentionally by Sam Sifton of The New York Times, who lovingly described it to Zakarian as a “delicious ugly mess.”

Zakarian’s inspiration for creating this one-of-a-kind burger is rooted in the pairing of classic toppings that enhance the burger flavor, not overpower it.  He notes that, “The best thing about The Ugly Burger is that all of the components work together to showcase the flavor of the meat, which should always be the star of the show.”

Put your own culinary spin on this classic and share photos of your version of the Ugly Burger with us on social media, tagging @thenationalnyc and @thebenjaminhotel.  Not feeling a grill session? Head to The National instead, and experience the original, available during lunch, brunch and dinner.

The Ugly Burger How-To:

  1. Use an 80/20 blend of chuck and sirloin for maximum flavor, texture and juiciness. Grill or griddle to your preferred temperature.
  2. Toast a Brioche bun. It’s light enough to absorb the juices of the meat while firm enough to stand up to the weight of the burger.
  3. Mix mustard, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce for the ultimate condiment – NTL Sauce! Slather onto the brioche bun, and place the patty on top.
  4. Add a sweet, sour and spicy combination of cucumbers and jalapenos to add crunch and flavor. Tweak the heat based on your personal palate.
  5. Layer on Applewood smoked bacon.  It’s optional, but highly recommended.
  6. Add Bibb lettuce. The leaf adds freshness, yet is tender enough that it won’t slide off when you take the first bite.
  7. Feeling ambitious?  Add crispy fries seasoned with smoked paprika and salt as a side. You might even want to dip them in the NTL sauce (hint, hint).