The Untold Truth Of Burger Scholar George Motz

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A patty of meat between a bun. That right there is the simplest description of the hamburger. It's almost impossible to picture a world where hamburgers didn't exist. It's such a simple concept, but it's such a perfect food. It's handheld, you can add almost anything to it to make it even tastier, and unless you dress it with gourmet ingredients, it's not gonna break the bank. Yeah, hamburgers are something special. But, even though you might think of yourself as a burger connoisseur, trust us, you don't even have a fraction of the experience that a man named George Motz has.

You may have never heard the name before, but it won't take long into your research to realize this guy is the emperor of all things burgers. As a self-proclaimed Burger Scholar, Motz has a long and delicious history with burgers that would make any foodie green with envy. George Motz proudly holds the entire burger game by the scruff of its neck, and after you read this article, you'll completely understand why. This is the untold truth of George Motz.

He thinks ketchup should never touch a burger

Ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise are three of the most popular condiments in the world. Every barbecue cookout you go to always has those yellow, red, and white squeeze bottles ready to baste your burger in different flavor profiles. Each one offers something different. Ketchup lends a sweetness, mustard offers a vinegary flavor profile, and mayo gives the beef a fattier flavor. However, as tempting as it is to dump all three on the meat, George Motz is adamant that ketchup does nothing but ruin your handheld meal.

In a 2020 interview with USA Today, Motz said, "Ketchup really does nothing more than just sweeten the burger, which doesn't really work well. I think it goes really well on fries, not on a burger." Motz is all about tasting the flavor of the meat, and he believes that the sweetness can mask the beefy flavor. He said, "Number one, you want to be able to taste the beef, we all know that. Whatever else is on that burger, whether it's the vehicle that's delivering the burger — the bread — or if it's a cheese or some other kind of condiment, you want to make sure it's simple. And that it actually does enhance the beefy flavor." So, maybe the next time you attend a backyard fiesta, pass on the ketchup. You heard it from a pro.

He believes in uncomplicated burger buns

There are all types of buns available, and their mission is simple: They transport that juicy patty of meat directly into your eager mouth. A lot of people have their personal favorite, whether the bread is covered in sesame seeds or made without gluten, but according to George Motz in an interview with Food GPS, a fantastic hamburger is one that doesn't overthink the bun. Keep the bread as simple as possible so it doesn't rob your palate of the flavor of the meat, which is supposed to always remains the star of the show.

Motz says of buns, "A successful burger does not have a complicated bun. That can overpower the burger, so the bun should be very simple. A friend of mine in Boston likes to say, 'It should be the envelope, and the good news is coming.'" So, what exactly does Motz recommend? "A good old white, yeasty bun. Sometimes, you have this really big homemade bun with a hard top on it and a soft inside, and when you go to bite the burger and it shoots out the back of the bun because it's just too hard. You can't actually take a bite. Your teeth have to be able to go through the thing!" Keep it soft and simple, people.

He hosted a show on the Travel Channel called Burger Land

If you're a television network that plans on launching a show all about burgers, you better be sure the host knows his way around a beef patty. That means you need a guy like George Motz. Actually, no. You need George Motz himself if you want to truly have a burger wiz in front of the camera spewing all sorts of fascinating information about everyone's favorite barbecue party food. Well, when Travel Channel launched a show called "Burger Land," naturally, George Motz was the guy they chose to host the palate-pleasing program.

Based on Motz's book titled "Hamburger America," the show's premise was simple: In every episode, Motz would travel to a different region of the country and try four different burgers. Three of them were burgers already featured in his book, but the fourth was one he never had before and was chosen by a local, so every episode included a surprise meal for him. The show ran for 18 episodes, and each one left viewers craving a juicy burger, just like Motz intended.

He is the director and co-founder of The Food Film Festival

Even though George Motz is associated with hamburgers, the guy loves all food in general. Burgers just happen to remain his specialty. In fact, he loves food so much that the television host, author, and documentary filmmaker (to name a few) is also the director and co-founder of The Food Film Festival. If you're a foodie and you've never heard of it before, you should do yourself a favor and check it out ASAP. Trust us; you won't regret a single minute of it.

According to the website, the festival "specializes in creating multisensory food and film experiences. At our events, guests watch films about food and simultaneously taste the exact dishes they see on the screen ... right in their seats!" Yea, pretty freakin' awesome. Eight awards are presented to those who submit their films, with categories like Best Feature Film, Audience Choice, and Best Food Porn Film. And because Motz and the rest of the staff are wonderfully generous people, every event raises money for a local food-related charity.

He plays a game called Eat The World NYC with his kids every Sunday

George Motz is clearly a super busy guy. The state of hamburgers is always changing and improving, and he needs to keep his finger on the pulse of everything going down in Burgertown. But what does Motz do when he actually has some time off to spend with his family? You might think he'd want to do something that doesn't involve food since he's so inundated with the culinary landscape all the time, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. He and his kids play an awesome game every Sunday that helps knowledge about other cultures' food grow.

In an interview with "The New York Times," Motz explained the game: "Several years ago, we started a game called Eat The World NYC. We spin a globe and where our finger lands, that's the country's cuisine we go to in New York. Our goal is to try every country in the world; so far we got through 10. Then we research on the laptop where to find that food. We always try that country's signature dish. Feijoada from the Brazilian place; dim sum when we did China. I purposely make my kids find a fact about the country and how the food is made. It's a teaching meal." Education and great food on the same day? We'll take it.

He taught a hamburger course at New York University

When you have as much knowledge about burgers as George Motz has cemented in his brain, you want to share the wealth. Why should you be the only one with all that great information? Other people are probably fascinated with the burger landscape too! Well, Motz hasn't only used his films, YouTube interviews, and books to spread his knowledge of all things on a bun. He actually taught a course at New York University, helping students develop an undying love of the food Motz holds dearest to his heart.

According to the New York Post, the course was called Hamburger Heaven, and it was designed to help students appreciate everything the wonderful world of burgers can offer us. It likely won't surprise you that it's the university's first course on hamburgers. But boy, it was a unique one. As Motz explained it, "I'm not really teaching anything. It's really more of a hamburger conversation. Simply put, I'm going to teach them how to spot a great burger. It's amazing how easy it is to screw up." Hey, when you're in the mood for a great burger, knowing how to spot one is exactly the skill you need.

He guest judged a burger-off on Jimmy Fallon's late-night talk show

Late-night talk shows are all about entertaining viewers, so in addition to the couch conversations, they frequently feature skits to change things up a bit. Jimmy Fallon is no stranger to keeping his audiences intrigued, and that's why he decided to hold a late-night burger-cooking competition between himself and rapper Tariq Trotter to see who had the skills to make the better burger. Of course, the competition wouldn't have been complete with George Motz stepping up to the plate as burger judge.

The first of the two burgers Motz inspects immediately disappoints him by committing Motz's number one burger crime: adding ketchup. Motz firmly believes ketchup should never touch a burger patty. However, the double-patty cheeseburger with jalapenos does seem to impress Motz's palate. The judge then unveils burger number two, and this one not only had ketchup, but it also had a brioche bun Motz didn't approve of (it was a little too big). After taking a bite of each, there was only one contestant who received the coveted Golden Burger Trophy, but you'll have to watch the clip yourself for the answer.

He wrote a book about regional hamburgers

If you're a huge fan of hamburgers like George Motz is, you want to try as many different variations of them as possible. Every region of the country has some unique spin on its burgers, and the combinations of flavors that some places put together are too intriguing not to try. Luckily, Motz wrote a book detailing his travels around America and all the amazing regional burgers he was fortunate enough to eat along the way.

The book, available on Amazon (among other places), is titled "Great American Burger Book: How to Make Authentic Regional Hamburgers at Home." Not only does Motz include photos intended to kick your salivary glands into high gear, but there are a bunch of recipes so you can go out and get the ingredients needed to recreate these regional wonders in the comfort of your own kitchen. This is one piece of literature every foodie needs on their kitchen table. Plus, you can order a signed copy from Motz's website if you want a collector's item.

He's a hardcore fan of the burger smash technique

When it comes to a burger patty, there are plenty of people who want it as thick as possible. They're not concerned at all about the meat-to-bun ratio; they just crave a bite so big the juices spill out everywhere. George Motz, however, does not belong to this demographic, which might surprise some people. He likes his burgers thin, and he gets them that way by using a very specific smash method. At first, you might think, "But doesn't that squish out so much of the flavor?" As it turns out, the flavor bomb that erupts after your first bite proves otherwise.

When Motz was invited to the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen to make smash burgers for the employees, they were initially skeptical when he laid out his game plan: His burgers would contain no condiments, lettuce, or tomato. They would simply use American cheese and Vidalia onions. Motz rolled the burger meat into three-ounce meatballs, plopped them onto a hot griddle, and topped them with shaved Vidalia onions before smashing them flat with a spatula. Needless to say, the thin, crispy outside of each patty offered the perfect crunchy texture to a wildly delicious burger. Bon Appétit's Editor-in-Chief, Adam Rapoport, said, "We were all floored. We couldn't wrap our heads around the depth of flavor and texture these burgers delivered: crispy, gooey, salty, sweet. They didn't need a thing."

He sells a custom-made Smashula to help get your patties perfect

George Motz loves to endorse that you obviously need a spatula strong enough to squeeze that ball of meat you toss on your griddle super thin so you can get the full-on smashed burger experience. Now, even though a normal spatula will likely work — unless it's super flimsy — Motz sells a custom-made kitchen product on his website to ensure that every burger you smash will not only come out the perfect thickness, but it won't ever ruin the spatula itself.

It's called the Smashula, and even though it isn't cheap ($236), this one-pound stainless steel squishing tool is like a culinary gavel that gets the job done each time. According to Motz's website, "Each Smashula is acid-etched with a unique serial number and your name, and it's shipped in a handmade red velvet pouch." This thing isn't your grandma's old cooking gear. This is one spatula that looms tall over the rest. If you're serious about achieving that perfect smash every time you want a burger, it might be wise to invest.

He has his own rye available for purchase

When you work hard, you always have to make sure you're able to pencil some playing hard into your schedule, or else you'll find the stress of life becomes quite unbearable. George Motz works his behind off spreading the cheer of all things hamburger-related, and that means he needs to balance his busy schedule with some rest and relaxation. And there are few ways to better kick back and unwind than enjoying an adult beverage. This is why Motz worked with the New York Distilling Company to handpick his very own rye.

Called the "George Motz Single-Barrel Ragtime Rye," Motz obviously handpicked a ray with a flavor profile that would work well when paired with a burger. He describes it on his website perfectly: "At 100-proof, there is an immediate rush of tropical flavor – banana flambe, buttery caramel, and a hint of honey. The complexity that follows — a variety of white pepper and meditative smoke — and the slow, deep, and rewarding burn that lingers, makes for an incredibly long finish." If you're planning a party with some smash burgers on the menu, now you can impress everyone by offering a drink that not only pairs perfectly with the burgers but was specially created by the Czar of Burgerdom himself.

He hosts a show on YouTube called Burger Scholar Sessions

With all the content George Motz cranks out, it seems like this guy never stops working, and honestly, we all thank him so much for that. We wouldn't have a fraction of the great burger information available to us if he didn't! Well, another outlet he takes full advantage of in order to supply us hungry burger-loving folk is YouTube. Motz hosts a show called "Burger Scholar Sessions" on the First We Feast YouTube channel. The First We Feast channel has a plethora of awesome stuff dedicated to foodies everywhere, but Motz's videos are some of the best.

In each episode, Motz teaches viewers how to make a different burger. These are a far cry from your typical burgers, too. Some of these creations are astoundingly unique, and the video leaves you with the urge to immediately head out to the nearest supermarket and gather the ingredients needed to make them. One video has Motz whipping up a spicy Malaysian egg burger. In another, he concocts something called a Fluff-Screamer that actually has marshmallow fluff on it. The burgers all look incredible, and the flavor combinations on some will leave your head spinning. Fire up YouTube when you get a chance and take a delectable journey down this rabbit hole.

He estimates he's eaten around 20,000 burgers in his life

If you consider yourself an expert on something, then you better have fully immersed yourself in that world for a significant amount of time. Obviously, Motz is an expert on hamburgers, so he's existed in that realm for many years now. And, when you're a specialist on a certain kind of food, that means you better have consumed a lot of it. Like, a LOT of it. Or, your opinions will simply be taken with a grain of salt. Well, Motz is no slouch when it comes to eating his favorite food, and seeing that he's dedicated over two decades of his life to the pursuit of everything involving burgers, he estimates that around 20,000 burgers have passed through his lips, per CNN Travel. Whoa.

Motz said, "I like to say I've eaten more hamburgers in more places than you have." Yea, he certainly has. Motz enjoys the fact that hamburgers have become somewhat of a point of pride when it comes to American food. "The hamburger is pretty much the only food invention in America in the last 100 years or so. It started out as ethnic food from Germany, but we adopted it and made it different by putting it on bread," Motz explained. Even though Motz has plowed through literally thousands of burgers, let's hope he has no plans of stopping. The things he shares along his journey are too interesting to end.