Please, I Ask You All, Murder Me With Butter

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Photo: Matt Rourke (AP)

Just in time for July 4th, Michelin-starred chef and angry British person Gordon Ramsay made the below YouTube video to show you how to grill a hamburger. Why you would trust this man to make you a proper burger over Ron Swanson, I do not know. Why Ramsay needs a full 10 minutes to show you how he does this, I again do not know. It could be because he spends the first portion of this clip holding a Youtube trophy (no really, they apparently have these) and thanking the internet for helping him rack up subscribers to his channel. Does “winning” that trophy ease the sting Ramsay surely felt watching England getting their crumpets spanked in the World Cup yesterday? Aha. I know the answer to this! It does NOT. Anyway, when Gordo is finally through with all that pomp and circumstance, he goes JOO FANCAY A BUUUUUHGER LUV? CHERRIFIC! and fires up the grill. It’s burger time.


Now, you might notice that Ramsay, being a fussy lad, adorns his patty with an awful lot of shit. It’s like he took burger prep lessons from Eddie Murphy’s mom. He’s got garlic powder. He got mega jumbo pepper flecks. He’s got portabella mushroom caps with an egg frying atop each of them (not against this). He’s got brushed olive oil. He’s got sriracha mayo like the bully that he is. And, most curiously, he’s grated frozen butter and mixed it INTO the ground beef. Any Wisconsinite would be proud. When he lays these patties onto the grill, and it’s a gas grill if you care to be offended by such techniques, the flames immediately ensnare his burgers.

“Now that initial crackow… that’s just the buttah, okay? Jon’t worry ‘bout that.”


Oh I won’t. The burger Ramsay ends up constructing could only fit inside the mouth of a hippo…

And you’re standing there with this big houseburger
And you’re standing there with this big houseburger

…but, mayo aside, that is of little concern to me. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I assure you that I can very much summon the American will required to eat Ramsay’s nine-story burger, frozen butter flecks included.

There are enough paeans to butter out there already, but I’d just like to use this space to note that I understand that chefs throw around butter like singles at a strip club, enough to make even the most hardened foodie gasp. Anthony Bourdain blew open the whole butter scheme in the breakout 1999 New Yorker essay that would go on to become Kitchen Confidential

Another much maligned food these days is butter. In the world of chefs, however, butter is in everything. Even non-French restaurants—the Northern Italian; the new American, the ones where the chef brags about how he’s “getting away from butter and cream”—throw butter around like crazy. In almost every restaurant worth patronizing, sauces are enriched with mellowing, emulsifying butter. Pastas are tightened with it. Meat and fish are seared with a mixture of butter and oil. Shallots and chicken are caramelized with butter. It’s the first and last thing in almost every pan: the final hit is called “monter au beurre.” In a good restaurant, what this all adds up to is that you could be putting away almost a stick of butter with every meal.

I got no issue with that. So long as your city doesn’t legally insist on menu calorie counts, which ruin everything, I’m fine with chefs jamming butter into every available crevice of my food. As my colleague Giri Nathan says, going to a restaurant is paying to be liberated from your butter conscience. I don’t want to know outright that you secretly buttered my Cobb salad, but I’m fine with suspecting it. Secret duck fat? Not my problem. Oh, was the chopped bacon on my burger rendered in a mix of tallow and butterfat? Don’t ask don’t tell. I want you to kill me. Just come out here and slit my throat, mister waiter, what do I care? Let’s both abide by a wink-wink arrangement where you serve me to my doom. That’s what I’m here for.

If Ramsay commits a cardinal sin in this video, apart from the whole award speech thing, it’s that he makes his abuse of butter explicit. Like I said, I know he’s gonna resort to such measures, but I don’t want the magic trick revealed. I want to adhere to the illusion that all that rich flavor was the byproduct of literal alchemy, and not just five extra tablespoons of Kerrygold dumped on top of my shit. Also, though I spiritually remain a High Life man, I lack the nerve and the work ethic to take a goddamn frozen stick of butter and shave it into a beef patty myself. I need someone else to do it behind closed doors, so that I can enjoy my butter burger without getting my hands beefy, and without bearing witness to all the gory details of how the sausage got made.


Does that make sense? No? Well man, that’s America for you. I fret about my cholesterol, but I want a butter burger. I work out every day, mostly so that I can EAT more butter burgers. Deep in my conscience, I know it would be better for the world and for my body if I never ate meat again … except for butter burgers. Give me the butter, chefs. Make me your butterboy. Instead of tanks rolling down the National Mall tomorrow, send a butter wagon. Take a stick of butter and skullfuck me with it. Block my every artery with fatty tar. I am here to be your victim. Don’t go easy on me with the milk grease.