cook bookin' our way through the NBA
Let’s be realistic. The only true memory most of us have of Dee Brown is his “No Look Dunk” at the 1991 Slam Dunk Contest.
The second memory we all have, is of his other dunk in the contest, where he pumped up his Reebok Pumps before dunking making Reebok extremely happy and making the Pumps one of the most well known basketball shoes of all time.
Besides those two moments, only true Celtics fans can remember anything else of Dee Brown’s career.
Brown spent twelve years in the League playing for the Celtics, Raptors and Orlando Magic. After retiring he became the coach of the Orlando Miracle and afterwards the San Antonio Stars in the WNBA. Brown then took an interesting path to becoming a studio analyst with ESPN by winning the network’s short lived reality show, Dream Job.
Perhaps missing being around the team atmosphere, Brown became the head coach of the newly formed D-League team, Springfield Armor in 2009 but in 2011 left to join the Detroit Pistons as an assistant coach.
(From All Star Recipes)
The recipe for Dee Brown’s cheeseburger only had four ingredients - beef (ground chuck), cheese, onions and buns. The instructions were also simple - shape beef into patties and grill, grill onion and add w/ cheese to top of burger. I am all for simplicity but figured that there had to be something missing so I reached out to burger expert, Richard Chudy, of the extremely popular Boston Burger Blog. Richard is a chef and co-owns the Boston catering company, The Skinny Beet. When he is not busy cheffing it up, he writes for the Man Food column for Boston Magazine but his true passion is burgers. The Boston Burger Blog is a highly detailed guide to the best burgers in the Boston area and is a must read for those looking for a great burger in the city.
I once asked Richard why he thinks its important that a restaurant makes a good burger, couldn’t they have other delicious, quality dishes if their burger was sub par? He responded by telling me, “How can you trust the place if they can’t even get a burger right? It is so simple and so delicious that if they can’t get a burger right it means they must not put in the time, effort and love into their other dishes.”
With this in mind, I invited Richard over to grill up “Dee Brown’s Cheeseburger” (a hardcore Celtics fan, Richard came over with an old school Celtics shirt on) and then we g-chatted about it the next day.
Ananth: Since you grew up in Boston during the Dee Brown era, do you have any fond memories? Only thing I really know of him is that dunk and that he played for the Magic and Raptors after the Celtics. For non Celtic fans he is definetly known only for that dunk.
Richard: Yeah that dunk defined his career which should say it all; to be best known for something during an exhibition tells you everything. But that’s more than most people will ever have in the NBA. I remember him as a decent shooter, good slasher but not much more. He was on some very mediocre Celtics teams, post Bird-era and long before Pierce.
Ananth: Yeah that is the dark period for Celtic fans. So since you are a burger expert, what makes a perfect burger?
Richard: For me, it’s all about the meat. (insert joke here) Crazy toppings don’t define perfection in the world of burgers, quality ingredients are the name of the game. If you don’t start with the right meat the rest of it doesn’t matter. But of course the bun has to be the right fit, cheese has to be melted and everything else has to just make sense individually and together. It should all complement and support the beef, not distract from it. Simple is key, but execution and seasoning make all the difference
I’m no more of an expert than the next person, even though I am a professional chef I think most of us can agree what makes or breaks a burger. But after eating my way through the majority of Boston restaurants the past three plus years for my blog, hopefully I have a greater sampling size than most when it comes to burgers so that may give me a slight edge (and gut).
Ananth: Ha! So what do you think about Dee’s recipe? Very simple, he didn’t even season the meat.
Richard: Simple is good, it worked because we started off with good beef and the rest is easy enough. Simple burgers will always win out over the one’s covered with a million sauces and too many condiments.
Ananth: Very true, we did use good ingredients. Picked everything up from Whole Foods and got some quality meat.
You kept reminding me not to flip the burger. Do you think a lot of bad burgers are because of frequent flipping?
Richard: People actually have different opinions on this. It may be one of those old wives tales that over-flipping doesn’t actually matter, but I find that it does. Pressing down with the spatula is the biggest offense, losing all that juice is just criminal.
Ananth: The recipe said something to the effect that Dee used to eat this burger before he played, you ever do anything like that?
Richard: Burgers usually put me in a food coma, I can’t do anything productive if I’m consuming burgers all day.
Ananth: Indeed. How would you rank the “Dee Brown Cheeseburger” (best out of 5 Cookbooks, 5 being the highest score)? I am leaning towards 5 - it was quite delicious. When cooking it though one needs to use quality ingredients and cook the burger on a grill.
Richard: I say 5. What could be better than a great grilled burger with some grilled onions on a perfect summer day?
Many thanks to Richard Chudy for helping out, follow him on Twitter: @BostonBurger