Ovens

Ketchup Leather May Be the Secret to a Perfect Burger

Leather could be in fashion next grilling season.

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It’s tough to put together a fully loaded burger that doesn’t turn into a soggy mess. Maximizing your condiment coverage without compromising the bun’s structural integrity is the mark of a truly skilled burger crafter.

Plan Check, a Los Angeles-based bar and eatery with a trio of locations, has come up with perhaps the best solution: ketchup leather.

Yes, you read that right. It’s basically a slice of dehydrated ketchup that's been mixed with soy sauce and seasoning. It rehydrates and melts like cheese when it’s placed on or under the burger, promising an evenly spread coat of tomato-y goodness.

But why go to the length of creating a new form of ketchup? Well, Executive Chef Ernesto Uchimura's signature burger uses a panko-crusted bun. Naturally, traditional ketchup would take away from the bun’s crunchy texture, so he came up with the idea for ketchup leather.

The concept of dried ketchup isn’t exactly new—surely we’ve all had to peel off that solid, crusty ring of dried ketchup plugging the bottle at some point in our lives. Ketchup leather is simply a flatter, tastier version designed to enhance your burger experience rather than detract from it.

Uchimura is currently experimenting with leatherizing other condiments, but he appears to have no inclination to mass-produce and sell ketchup leather. In other words, if you want to try this miracle of science for yourself, you'll need to head out to L.A.

On the other hand, in theory all you really need is ketchup and a way to render the moisture out of it. Perhaps it’s time we do some experiments of our own...