The Krabby Patty is a thing of pop culture culinary legend - a burger, forged from a secret formula, worshipped by a sociopathically upbeat sponge. How do we go about recreating that which is not reacreate-able? A bit of science, a bit of whimsy, and a whole lot of wanton conjecture. Fill in the blanks with me this week as we build an umami burger using ingredients from mother ocean!



  •  1 pound chuck steak

  • 1 pound bone-in short ribs

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 2 tsp MSG

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

  • 2 ounces shredded iceberg lettuce

  • 1 slice yellow American cheese

  • 1 small vidalia onion, sliced thinly

  • 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced thinly

  • Ketchup to taste

  • Mustard to taste

  • 1 large dill pickle, sliced thinly

  • 4 sesame seed hamburger buns


  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 1 Tbsp bonito flakes

  • 1/2 ounce dried kombu

  • 1 dried anchovy

  • 1/2 cup pureed sun-dried tomatoes

  • 1 Tbsp yellow miso

  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan


Makes 4 third-pound burgers 

True Spongebob version

  1. Trim and cut beef into 1-inch pieces, and spread evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, along with the blade of a food processor, until beef is firm. Pulse in the food processor until beef is ground and pebbly. Shape into 4 patties, and season with salt, pepper, and MSG.

  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until barely smoking.  Add patties and reduce heat to medium - cook to desired doneness.

  3. On the burger buns, assemble the burgers in this order: patty, lettuce, cheese, onion, tomato, ketchup, mustard, pickles, top bun.


MSG-free version 

  1. Oven-dry tomatoes at 200°F for about 90 minutes on a nonstick baking sheet. In a spice grinder, grind mushrooms, bonito, kombu, and anchovy to a fine powder and set aside. Combine sun-dried tomato with equal parts ketchup, and 1 tablespoon miso with 1/4 cup mustard. Arrange parmesan in 4 flat piles on a nonstick surface (like a Silpat), and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.  Slow-cook sliced onions with a bit of olive oil for 30 minutes or until thoroughly caramelized.

  2. Cook burgers as described above, and once removed from heat, place on a plate and sprinkle with a light dusting of the mushroom powder mix.  Toast the buns in the remaining burger fat.  Let patties rest for 2 minutes before assembling the burgers in the following order: onions, tomato, ketchup, mayo, cheese crisp, lettuce.