I just heard from one of my Premium Members who wanted to know how to do hamburgers on his hot dog cart.
As always, the first thing you need to do is to check with your health department to see if your local codes allow it.
You may need to upgrade some of your equipment to comply with the stiffer regulations that go along with handling meats other than hot dogs.
There are generally two ways to serve hamburgers from a cart.
1) You can cook raw hamburger meat at the cart on a grill or flat top griddle, or 2) you can use pre-cooked burgers and keep them hot in your steamer.
One of the big advantages of cooking on a grill or flat top is the smell. Just as with peppers and onions and especially bacon, the smell of food on a grill is a big customer draw. Of course, the drawback is the increased complexity of your set up and the fact that you will probably get bumped up into a more strict food code category.
Also, grilling to order takes a lot of time. Unless you have steady lines 15 people deep, you can’t get away with throwing 10 burgers at a time on the grill. You’ll waste a lot of meat that way.
On the other hand, pre-cooked burgers are so fast to serve from a steamer and your cart is already set up for it. In fact, if you don’t want to pre-cook them yourself at your commissary, Sams and the restaurant supply stores sell a pre-cooked frozen hamburger patty that works nicely. The fact that they are frozen is a plus when it comes to transporting and cold storage on the cart.
The disadvantage here is that you don’t get that fresh-grilled taste (or the customer drawing smell), and customer appeal is not quite as good.
How about you slinger? Do you serve hamburgers on your hot dog cart? If so let us know how you do it, including any tips and tricks, in the comments below. Also let us know if it has increased you daily sales.
In other words, do you think it is worth the extra effort of stocking, storing, and cooking yet another food product?