This spring, On Tap sat down with Chef Bobby Flay during a visit to the K Street location of his Bobby’s Burger Palace franchise. We chatted about his tips for grilling enthusiasts, top picks for what to grill this summer and what’s new on the menu at BBP.
On Tap: What’s one of your top tips for aspiring grillers and newbies alike?
Bobby Flay: People that aren’t experienced on the grill tend to think that you have to flip and turn and flip and turn. But [you should] grill less, meaning that you let the grill do its job. Whether you’re cooking a steak, burger, piece of fish or even vegetables, you want it to stay on the grill on one side for as long as possible without charring or burning it to create a contrast of texture. And then you flip it one time, and do the same thing on the other side.
OT: Are there any rubs or marinades on your radar for the summer?
BF: I think combining red chilies and cocoa or red chilies and coffee, and then putting a touch of brown sugar in the rub, enhances the flavor and also helps it caramelize whatever you are spice rubbing. Not too much sugar – just a tiny bit – will make a huge difference.
OT: What’s one of your favorite summer recipes?
BF: I cook a lot of fish tacos in the summer. They’re so fun to eat. It’s a DIY kind of thing. I usually do a combination of some sort of white flaky fish and shellfish [for] grilled shrimp tacos and grilled fish tacos. [Then] make an array of different salsas – tomato [or] tomatillo salsa…[and] mango or pineapple salsa. Go to a store that has a bunch of different hot sauces and pick a couple out, maybe one that’s habanero-based or one that’s smoky. Slice avocado, or make guacamole or avocado relish, and then [add] something for crunch, some sort of slaw or cabbage.
OT: Any grilling twists on classic American fare to switch things up?
BF: Instead of hotdogs, get bratwursts. Take beer, some water and a little bit of vinegar and bring it to a simmer, [then] take the bratwursts, prick them with a fork, put them into the beer broth and let the beer broth soak into [them] so that they get great moisture. Take the bratwursts and put them on the grill so they get really crusty on the outside, and then you have all of this wonderful flavor and juiciness on the inside.
OT: How do you usually select the burger of the month at Bobby’s Burger Palace?
BF: Because this country is such a melting pot of cuisine, I try to emulate some of the flavors from different parts of the country. I get inspired by the places I that travel to in some way, shape or form.
OT: Any changes to the BBP menu?
BF: We just put three salads on our menu – the Super Kale salad, Palace Quinoa salad and Chopped Crunch salad. People want to eat more healthily these days. The cry that we get here is, “Where’s the veggie burger?” I think I’m going to spend the next few months trying to [create] one because I know it can be done, but the question is, “Can I make one that’s really great, but also be able to make it happen on a consistent basis?”
OT: What do you enjoy most about your DC location?
BF: My staff is amazing. I would say 90 percent of them have all been here since the beginning. I just love their passion. They really care about what they do. The thing I love about my burger places is that when I walk in, the customers and staff always seem to be smiling. And to me, that’s what it’s all about.
Bobby’s Burger Palace: 2121 K St. NW, DC 20037; 202-974-6260;www.bobbysburgerpalace.com