“The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers” by Loren Bouchard, recipes by Cole Bowden. Universe Publishing, $19.95

Fans of the cult animated sitcom “Bob’s Burgers” know to watch the chalkboard behind the fictional burger joint’s lunch counter every episode to catch the burger of the day.

The creations, ostensibly by Bob, the owner of the financially struggling family-run burger joint, is inevitably a cringe-worthy pun – the type that elicits a groan, rather than a chuckle.

Bob’s creations evoke common popular culture tropes like “Hummus a Tune,” “Human Polenta-Pede,” “Baby you can Chive my Car,” “A Leek of their Own,” “The Sound and the Curry,” and “Onion-tended Consequences.”

The writers of the show never intended anyone to actually cook the burgers, but tried to style them in a way that would seem palatable if they showed up on an actual menu. But sometime during its eight-season run, one enterprising fan, Cole Bowden, took it on himself to re-create the joke burgers and post the recipes on his blog, bobsburgerexperiment.com.

As these things tend to do, the blog was turned into a book, with recipes from Bowden and original art and writing by show creator Loren Bouchard and the show’s writing staff.


The resulting book, with more than 70 burger recipes, is geared toward fans of the show. It is debatable whether you’d find it in the cooking or humor section of your local bookstore.

But behind its hokey writing, bad jokes and cartoon illustrations are a number of inventive, fun and delicious burgers. The first section of the book describes how to mold and cook a standard burger, and the recipes build from that base. The kaleidescope of toppings and combinations will likely alienate burger purists, but those willing to take a step beyond basic 1/4 pound of ground beef with lettuce, tomato and onion won’t be disappointed.

My wife and I have both spent hours binge-watching “Bob’s Burgers,” so the recipe collection seemed like it would be a nice addition to our kitchen bookcase.

Since we’re both fans of Indian food we went with the Every Breath You Tikka Masala Burger. The standard burger is topped with masala rice and fresh basil, served with a side of spicy potatoes and peppers.

Because there were only two of us, I halved the recipe and decided to use ground beef instead of the suggested lamb.

On its face, the four-part recipe for the meal seems involved and time-consuming (like many of the other recipes in the book) but most of the ingredients are basic. I made the rice and a simple masala sauce out of sautéed onions and garlic simmered with canned plum tomatoes, spices and a healthy dollop of yogurt stirred in to give it creamy body. I stirred some of the sauce in with the rice and cooked four burgers in a cast iron pan on the stove top, then toasted sesame-seeded bus in the same pan.


We constructed each burger with a bun, patty, rice, then fresh basil. We also opted to add sliced red onion and a healthy smear of mayonnaise to bind everything together. The potatoes were parboiled, tossed in a pan with sautéed peppers and roasted in the oven, then combined with the remaining masala sauce.

The result was delicious. The spices in the rice didn’t overpower the perfectly cooked burger, and the basil and red onion added a welcome fresh bite. What’s even better, the rice masala was the right consistency so it didn’t spill out the sides of the bun while we were eating, a problem I had anticipated with the recipe.

The bottom line? “The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book” doesn’t ask to be taken seriously but shouldn’t be ignored as a guidebook to unexpected, quirky burger creations.


Makes 8 burgers

2 cups basmati rice


3 large potatoes, diced

4 sweet peppers, finely diced

1 hot chili pepper, seeded and finely diced

2 tablespoons butter


1 large onion, coarsely diced


1 clove garlic, minced

2 (14.5-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt


1 tablespoon garam masala

1 cup yogurt

2 pounds ground beef or lamb

8 buns

Fresh Thai basil leaves (1 cup)



1. Don’t skip this step. Rinse your rice until the water runs clear, then let it soak in clean water for at least 30 minutes.

2. Bring 31/2 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice and stir. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until done (until all the water is absorbed and the rice is moist but not sticking to the pot).


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Cover the potatoes in a large saucepan with water and season with salt. Bring the potatoes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until tender.

2. In a large oven-proof frying pan, sauté the sweet and hot peppers in 1 tablespoon of butter until the chili pepper heat hits your eyes and your kitchen smells delicious.

3. Drain the potatoes and add them to the pan with the peppers. Sprinkle with a generous amount of paprika and bake for 20-30 minutes (or until the sauce is done and you are ready to eat.)



1. Sauté the onion over medium-high heat in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter until translucent. Add the garlic.

2. Add the tomatoes and their juice to the onions and keep the mixture at a simmer. Add in the cumin, curry powder and ginger. Wait for the tomatoes “to sweat” – a fancy cooking term for when they start to release their liquid, you can see the liquid sort of pool up in a lighter color. When this happens, add the salt and garam masala.

3. Let the mixture reduce for about 10 minutes, and then remove from heat. Give it some time to cool.

4. Add the yogurt and mix it up. The yogurt will curdle but you didn’t ruin anything! You’re still a good person and this is totally safe to eat. It just means the yogurt is in contact with the acid, it’s not like curdled milk. Mix enough masala with the rice so that it is saturated but not soupy; reserve remaining masala for the potatoes.


1. Form 8 patties, season both sides with salt and pepper and grill or cook the burgers as you normally would.

2. Toast the buns, then build your burger; bottom buns, burger, masala-rice mixture, basil leaves, top buns.

3. Pour the remaining masala over the potatoes and serve on the side.

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