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Ride the Universe Taught us How to Cook "The Experience" Burger

It's big, it's juicy, and it'll make your tastebuds Ride the Universe.
February 3, 2014, 9:30pm

In this space, I'll be bringing you recipes and food stories from the globe's most cookin-est DJs, paired with carefully selected music for culinary enhancement.

Today, Trans-Atlantic disco outfit Ride the Universe shows us how to make a gut-buster superburger they call "The Experience." Unlike our last installment, which boasted our knowledge of high culture and fine French wines, this recipe is all about the grease. What happens when you send three Californians and a German to a mountain hideaway and tell them to alchemize a burger? You get a behemoth mountain of meat, mushrooms and everything else you can think of. I talked to Ride the Universe's Sam Chavez about what it's like to try to create music (and recipes) in a band that communicates via Skype.


THUMP: You guys have a pretty unusual group in that you live on separate continents. How did you guys meet, how do you work together?
Sam Chavez: Nicky, Jeremy, and I live in Southern California, while Pete is in Berlin. We first met in 2010 while working on a remix for Pete. He has such a great vibe that session after session, it was clear that we complimented each other in ways we'd never experienced with other producers. We began collaborating over Skype on numerous remixes and originals.
Nicky, Jeremy and I went to Jeremy's Cabin in Big Bear Mountain, a small mountain resort town in Southern California this past weekend. Pete was on a big screen, beaming himself over Skype while playing nothing but the jams over some small speakers hooked up on top of the fireplace.

Amongst the four of you, you must have some formal cooking experience, right?
We don't carry any formal cooking credentials, but we are keen on staying on top of everything savory and bacon.

OK, so what are we cooking right now?
We call this The Experience—a 50/50 blend of savory beef and pork patty burger, topped with slices of juicy applewood bacon, sharp cheddar, roasted garlic mushrooms, sliced avocado, all slabbed with Sriracha dill aioli. This is the truth.

Divisive question: Who owns the "hamburger"—is it the Germans, who of course, own Hamburg, or is it the Americans?
Well the Germans might have invented the burger, but we perfected it. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!


How did you create this recipe?
This recipe has been something we've been working on since we first got together two years ago. It started off during one of our intergalactic studio sessions over Skype with Pete claiming his plain old cheeseburger was better than anything we, or all of California, could ever come up with. A few wine-and-cokes later, we were at each others throats. We joined forces and brought the best of both worlds. Originally the recipe called for unicorn tears, but Sriracha would do.

Pete's Cheeseburger called for an all-beef patty, while Nick and Jeremy felt that ground pork could not be topped. That being said, mixing both had everyone salivating. Except me. Being vegetarian, I'm most often assed out of these savory escapades, but I do a veggie-friendly variation, substituting the protein with a veggie breakfast sausage blend mixed with pepper jack cheese and chopped jalapeños.

The burger is pretty much Ride The Universe, a pinch of each one of our favorite foods. Pete and Nick chose the patty. I chose the mushrooms and Sriracha, while Jeremy chose avocado and the skillet. If you don't own a cast iron, what are you doing with your life?

Do I have to be a genius to make this?
No, not at all. If you've read this far, you're almost there.

What should we be listening to while we cook this?
I can't imagine a better soundtrack to be around nature, good eats, and great friends than Jenson Sportag's Stealth of Days.


Recipe serves 6


1 cast iron skillet
6 brioche buns
6 crisp lettuce leaves
6 slices of pepperjack or cheddar cheese
12 slices of applewood bacon
2 ripe avocados
1 cup of dill
1 block of queso fresco (mexican skim milk cheese)
1 pound of ground pork
1 pound of ground beef
1½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup of wholesome mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of Sriracha brand hot sauce
1 pound of shitake, portobello, and enoki mushrooms, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup of chopped parsley


1. Start off with quality ground beef and ground bacon. You can find them anywhere. For these patties, we'll be mixing in a few special ingredients in it as well. We start by crumbling up the block of Queso Fresco with a fork, so small that it looks like Kraft Parmesan cheese. Chop about ½ cup of dill and mix it with the cheese then mix it in the meat patties. We'll add the salt and pepper at this point as well.
2. Preheat the oven to about 450 degrees. Place the cast iron skillet on the stove on medium high heat and begin to cook the bacon. Cook the bacon thoroughly, to whatever degree of crispiness you prefer. Once all six slices are cooked and removed from the skillet, soak up the excess fat from the slices with a paper towel then set aside. By now the oven should be ready. Remove the excess bacon grease from the cast iron skillet by disposing it in an appropriate container (Pro tip: Put the grease in a mug and store it in the refrigerator for later). With thick cooking gloves, place the cast iron skillet in the oven and allow it to heat for about 10 minutes. We'll come back to this later.
3. Roll out the patties into 6 balls before smashing them into ½ inch thick patties. CAREFULLY open the oven and remove the molten skillet and place on a secure surface (we used the stove directly on top of oven). Place the patties on top of the skillet, allowing for the sides to begin cooking almost immediately- about 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove them from the skillet and wrap them in aluminum foil for another 5 minutes. This allows for the burger to continue cooking. Keep the skillet on top of the oven and prepare the slices of bacon and cheese as well as the roasted garlic mushroom filling.
4. Start by mixing the sliced mushroom blend with the 2 tablespoons of rinsed and minced capers, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper in a shallow casserole or aluminum wrapper. Add butter slices on top and place part of the oven, giving space for the skillet, for no more than 20 minutes.
5. By now the patties are ready to be removed from the aluminum wrapper. Place 2 slices of bacon and a slice of cheese on each of the patties and place them on the skillet. Slide them back in the oven for about 2-3 minutes and repeat with the remaining patties.
6. Back on the cutting board, we'll cut the pretzel buns and warm them in the microwave before combining the sauces. Toasting pretzels makes them too crispy so be cautious with how you warm the buns. Mix the remaining ½ cup of dill with ½ cup of mayo and ¼ cup of Sriracha sauce until the consistency is more like ketchup, then set aside.
7. Don't forget the mushrooms! Remove them from oven and carefully open the container in which you covered the mushrooms. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice and chopped parsley. We could start building our burger now.
8. Spread a generous amount of the Sriracha dill sauce on the top and bottom of the bun. Slip in a crisp lettuce cup followed by the juicy patty. Add a layer of mushroom and 3 slices of avocados then top it off with the bun and you are set!

Experience your taste buds as they RIDE THE UNIVERSE.

Ride The Universe's new remix for Pat Lok is now out on Holographic People. Follow them on twitter at @ridetheuniverse.

Michael Fichman does not own a cast iron skillet, nor does he know what he's doing with his life. Follow him on twitter at @djaptone.