Luke's Burger

Are you ready for the great feast next week?

Luke's Burger

No, I don't mean Thanksgiving, although yes, I'm excited about that too. This year, however, I'm thinking of it more as training for the real feat, the all out sugar binge, carb fest, junk food bonanza that is the only proper way I can think to celebrate the pop culture holiday of the premier of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

Are you excited? I definitely am! For many years, Gilmore Girls was right up there among my favorite shows on TV. In high school, my sister and I would watch it on Tuesday nights with our mom, then rehash the episodes the next day with friends in study hall. Then, in college, friends and I would get together and watch, getting so into it that we baked a pretty ugly cake in the dorm kitchen in honor of the 100th episode, and it's entirely possible that I bombed my Greek and Roman Myth midterm Freshman year because I blew off the review session in favor of finding out the fate of Luke and Lorelai*. By the time the show ended, it was definitely waning in quality, but I was still sad to see it go, and when it showed up on Netflix a couple years ago, I was ready to rewatch all of it.

And now, after almost 10 years, we get to find out the answer to so many great mysteries:

Did Luke and Lorelai ever get married? Who does Rory end up with? Did Emily ever find a permanent maid? Does Lane ever leave Stars Hollow?

And, of course, What are the final four words? 

We're gonna find out next Friday! And I cannot wait! It's one of those mysteries I thought I was ok not knowing the answer to until I found out that I would be getting the answer, and now I'm counting down the days. And I know I'm not alone, based on all the listicles out there, so to help us prepare, I've got a special feast menu this week for the sustenance you need to binge all four episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. 

It's starting with that mainstay in the Gilmore diet, perhaps the most important element of the Gilmore food pyramid apart from coffee, Luke's burger. Lorelai and Rory seemed to eat this burger for lunch or dinner at least 5 times a week, sometimes with pinkies up, sometimes on the go, and once, horrifically, covered in cream cheese and olives for the infamous "Santa Burger."

My version, thankfully, is cream cheese free, but it's as close an approximation to Luke's burger as I think you could get, with a patty cooked on a hot cast iron skillet until crispy and charred and topped with only the classics of lettuce, tomato, and the traditional condiments of mustard and ketchup, and maybe some mayo if you're feeling whimsical. Cheese is of course never a bad idea, nor is a side of crispy fries with ketchup and some salt and pepper dip. 

Luke's Diner Burger

*Actually, the entire class bombed that midterm, and, if his lecture anecdotes were any indication, I'm pretty sure it's because our professor was heavy into shrooms. 

Luke's Diner Burger

Adapted from Sam Sifton

  • 1/2 tsp oil or butter, plus more for toasting buns
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (80%)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of onion powder
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • lettuce, for garnish
  • tomato, sliced, for garnish
  • ketchup, mustard, mayo, for serving
  1. Heat a bit of butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Split and lightly toast the buns, then set aside. Melt oil or butter in the cast iron skillet.
  2. Divide the beef into 4 small, 4 oz piles and gently form into spheres about 2 inches high. Don't smash into patties. In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  3. Heat the skillet to high, then place the beef spheres into the skillet with plenty of room between them. Using a sturdy metal spatula, smash the beef spheres down to form a patty about 4 inches across and 1/2 inch thick. Season with spice mix to taste.
  4. Cook patties about 2 minutes, until brown and crispy, then turn over and cook another 2-3 minutes. Top with cheese if you wanna. Remove from skillet, place on buns and top as desired with lettuce, tomato, and condiments. Serve with your favorite fries and salt and pepper dip.