In the upcoming Ray Kroc biopic The Founder, Michael Keaton stars as the entrepreneur who transformed McDonald’s into a fast-food empire, cutting out the original McDonald brothers (played by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch) from their own business. As Dick McDonald, Offerman plays one of the architects of modern fast food, but the actor and comedian also has a passion for grilling in real life. (Plus, he spent seven seasons of Parks and Recreation playing the carnivorous Ron Swanson.)
So, for EW’s Ultimate Summer Preview issue, we called up Offerman to get his own secret burger recipe — although he’s quick to caution that he’s no gourmet chef.
“Because of the stentorian authority of Ron Swanson and all things meat, people often confuse me with his level of expertise,” Offerman says, laughing. “So they’ll say, ‘What’s the best cut of steak?’ or something like that. I say, ‘I don’t know! I love a rib eye, but I haven’t really tried them all.’”
Even if Offerman’s not a Swanson-level specialist on red meat, he does have a taste for burgers. Here, he shares his own tips for a burger that’ll put a Quarter Pounder to shame.
1. What’s your beef
“You start with getting the best ground beef you can, with a nice lean-to-fat ratio,” Offerman says. “The lean is delicious, but the fat is an important binder.” Mix in a few raw eggs to help the patties stick together.
2. Don’t mince words
Mince garlic instead! Sauté the garlic and some chopped onion in oil, and then mix that into the ground beef. Add a little salt and pepper, and maybe some grated Parmesan cheese or Gruyère “if [you’re] feeling hedonistic.”
3. Get grilled
“Keep the patties thick, and grill medium-rare over charcoal. “I don’t think I’ve ever used a grill fueled by gas,” he says. “There’s something about the primitive nature of charcoal, of real fire.”
4. Top it off
“Depending on how gluttonous I’m feeling, the max I’ll go with is Gruyère or cheddar on the burger and bacon and a fried egg,” Offerman says. “That’s if I’m planning to go chop down a tree that day.”
The Founder opens Aug. 5.
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