At Surface Value  

Treat your burger's exterior with care  

| National   Cooking | Kaitlyn Goalen

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Purists will argue that the best burger patties are flavored only with salt and pepper.

For years, we agreed. But Umami Burger, the insanely popular hamburger chain from California, has schooled us.

Adam Fleischman, Umami Burger’s ringleader, has released a new product line ($7 to $15) of sprays, sauces and rubs that promise to highlight that elusive fifth taste on which his business is branded.

We were apprehensive, particularly of the spray, which boasts a squeeze-bottle vessel that’s a lot like those used for cleaning supplies. But the spray was our favorite. Made from an infusion of dried shellfish and seaweed, it’s like a mild, unfermented fish sauce--salty, but forgiving.

We also got to thinking about its vessel. We filled a spray bottle with Sriracha and spritzed our patties as they came off the grill to give them a coating of piquant deliciousness. Then we tried a garlic-infused olive oil, which produced a balanced garlic flavor rather than the harshness of fresh minced cloves.

The genius of this method was fully realized when we used pickle juice. When it comes to the spray bottle, consider us fanatics. 

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