The Burger that Started it all: How the Tuck Burger is Made



The burger that started it all! Here is the story behind TuckShop Kitchen’s juicy, flavourful, mouthwatering burger. This burger is definitely one of the best sandwiches in Toronto and we’ll go behind the scenes to learn the process of how the Tuck Burger was created along with what goes into making the burger. But this isn’t just about the burger; the making of the Tuck Burger is also part of the story behind TuckShop Kitchen itself. The creation of the Tuck Burger started from one simple question:

How can you make an incredible, restaurant-quality, meat-lovers’ burger for under $10?

The Tuck Burger was the first sandwich developed for TuckShop Kitchen and it took four months of development before the team was satisfied with the final product. The TuckShop Kitchen team’s goal was to create an affordable, high-quality, handcrafted burger with a focus on the meat. No hiding behind toppings for this kitchen!

It’s all about the burger patty; this is a meat-lover’s burger. Over the years, there have been a number of burger trends which have taken the focus away from having a meaty patty. Many restaurants serving burgers now focus on creating crazy combinations, piling on as many toppings as possible to create multi-tiered towers. These can be fun but sometimes you just want an old-fashioned hearty burger that focuses on the meat.

And sometimes it feels like every block in Toronto has at least one place serving burgers, but these places tend to be at two extremes: a cheap fast food burger (but it’ll be unsatisfying with low-quality ingredients) or an extravagant gourmet burger (with tasty, high-quality ingredients, but it will make a noticeable dent in your wallet). Neither option hits the sweet spot. So, the TuckShop Kitchen team took on the challenge!

A behind-the-scenes look… learn how the juicy Tuck Burgers are made

The Meat

The burger-making process at TuckShop Kitchen begins, of course, with the meat. First, TuckShop sources high-quality cuts of beef brisket and pork shoulder. Why both beef and pork instead of only beef? This is to improve the texture of the burger. The pork shoulder acts as a binder to help all the ingredients mix together and combine thoroughly. No one wants their burger to crumble apart while eating. Mixing in a bit of pork with beef is a great way to improve texture, add flavour, and better combine ingredients.

Next, both the beef brisket and pork shoulder are trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and chilled for several hours so that they will later combine properly once ground. The reason why TuckShop trims the fat from the beef brisket and pork shoulder is to control the fat content and ratio, a key step in creating the perfect burger. Plus, chilling meats and fat improves ease of cutting – try it at home sometime; your meats will be easier to slice through, plus your cuts will be more precise.

Smoking the Fat

In addition to the beef brisket and pork shoulder, TuckShop Kitchen also sources high-quality pork back fat which is smoked over apple wood chips before being chilled, cut into strips, and chilled again before being ground.

Grinding the smoked backfat before mixing in

This pork fat is part of the reason why the Tuck Burger is so juicy and moist; pork fat is tastier and binds better than beef fat to the meat, so instead of delicious juices dripping out of the burger, more of the flavour and moisture is retained inside your burger.

Smoking the fat also adds additional smoke flavour to the burger itself without drying the meat to make each bite even more satisfying. But this doesn’t mean you’re getting a fat-filled burger! In fact, TuckShop Kitchen’s meat mixture would be classified as being slightly above “lean” (That makes it a healthy burger, right? So I can eat more of them?).

Grinding and Shaping

Once the beef brisket, pork shoulder, and pork back fat have been cut into strips and chilled, the ingredients are all placed together in the grinder. The process of grinding the burger is definitely a team effort.

The meat and fat mixture is ground twice to make sure it all starts combining together. After the second round of grinding, the TuckShop Kitchen team adds a hearty dose of their secret blend of spices and hand-mixes all the ingredients to make sure everything is properly combined. Only after that point is each 5oz patty shaped; they are all moulded by hand to ensure consistency. If there’s one thing TuckShop Kitchen won’t do, it’s skimp on the meat!

Consistency is key for TuckShop Kitchen. Thanks to months of testing, the team knows exactly the best process for making the Tuck Burger. TuckShop operates out of a small space with a small team, which comes with a number of challenges. There are no large machines involved in the burger-making process but all the meat processing is done on-site. This makes the burger-making process quite labour-intensive but the TuckShop Kitchen team certainly feels like the end result is worth it. They love burgers as much as you do!

But wait, there’s more! We haven’t even talked about the bun or the toppings yet…

TuckShop Kitchen made sure to choose a soft sesame bun which complements its burger patty without the dreaded “too much bread, too little patty” problem. And best of all, the bun is hardy enough to withstand a juicy burger long enough for you to enjoy your sandwich without the bread getting soggy.

The tasty chimichurri mayo on top of your burger patty gives added flavour without overwhelming the patty and is also made in-house by the TuckShop Kitchen team. This recipe was inspired by a homemade chimichurri sauce discovered while travelling in Buenos Aires. Like Canada and Toronto, the Tuck Burger assimilates flavours from around the world!

Finishing things off with a classic toppings trio of lettuce, tomato, and red onion, you have an incredible, restaurant-quality burger that won’t break the bank.

Photo credit: Caroline Aksich, Toronto Life

Tuck Burger Pro Tip: Add 2-year old Balderson cheddar and house-made thick cut bacon to your burger for extra-awesomeness! (Stay tuned…we have an all-bacon post in the works so you can find out what makes TuckShop bacon so delicious.)

The TuckShop Kitchen team wants to bring quality food to regular people without the high prices charged by gourmet restaurants. Creating the Tuck Burger, and the creation of TuckShop Kitchen itself, was a labour of love which took many helping hands. The TuckShop Kitchen team is extremely proud of its burger and its commitment to producing high-quality food at affordable prices.

We hope to see you soon!





Tess Ng is an accountant by day, writer by night, and food lover all the time.

  1. Salivating!

  2. Hey how many ounces are your burgers? Thanks!

    • 5oz burgers!


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