Chef Kyle Darling was skeptical when his boss suggested a particular dish she wanted on the menu at the new Copper Cow Bar & Kitchen in Minnetonka.
Danielle Bjorling, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Chris, asked Darling to make a deep-fried burger. Not just the patty. The whole thing, bun and all.
“I thought she was crazy,” Darling said.
Now that the restaurant is open, and the deep-fried burger is selling beyond his wildest expectations, he thinks all the people who order it are a little crazy, too.
“We sell them for lunch, which is mind-blowing to me. Who could work after eating that?”
What are they eating?
A $13 patty of ground sirloin, short ribs, chuck roll and beef belly griddled to a rosy medium-rare, slathered with oozing Brie, set on a scratch-made bun, coated in tempura batter, submerged in hot oil and stabbed through the heart with a giant steak knife.
Copper Cow’s heart-stopper of a deep-fried burger is the latest over-the-top food to be featured in the Star Tribune’s Outta Control video series. Watch past videos about Jucy Lucy pizza and bacon- and mojito-flavored cotton candy at startribune.com/outtacontrol.
It took a full day of experimentation to come up with a foolproof method to fry an entire burger. It requires a cook to stand at the fryer and hold the flour-dredged and batter-coated burger down with skewers, lest it bob in the hot oil. On a busy day, two fry cooks are devoted to this one menu item.
The batter makes for a light crunch on the outside of the burger, while the toasted bun stays fluffy. Darling had to use an already melty cheese (it’s the scooped-out interior of a Brie wheel) because the burger isn’t in the fryer long enough for the heat to reach the center of the sandwich. Cutting through the richness from deep within are house pickles and arugula. The finished product looks like a tan, craggy grapefruit.
Those who order it get a warning from their server: It takes 10 minutes longer than an average burger to emerge from the kitchen.
“I was hoping we wouldn’t sell a lot of these,” Darling said, adding, “We sold 40 on Saturday.”
Groups often order one to share as a novelty. Should a whole table put in individual orders for one, “that’d be horrible,” Darling said dryly.
The burger comes with the restaurant’s crisp fries, but that side can be swapped for any other. Someone once ordered one with fruit on the side, which Darling interpreted as a futile attempt to balance out this diet-buster. “Really?” he said. “You kind of gave up at that point.”
Bjorling wanted the burger to be a “showstopper” on social media (she runs the restaurant’s social accounts). “Instagram is invaluable for bringing people through the door,” she said. “People actually drive here for this burger.”
Other eye-grabbing menu items at Copper Cow include another burger, served on two of the restaurant’s sour cream doughnuts instead of a bun; and spiked milk shakes sprinkled with all manner of toppings — and more doughnuts. It’s like a year-round State Fair inside this former Dairy Queen.
Speaking of the fair, yes, you can get a deep-fried burger there, too. But Bjorling has only seen the patty fried, never the whole thing from top to bottom, including bun.
Nichole Kirt, who works down the street from Copper Cow, immediately thought of that summer tradition when she tried the deep-fried burger at lunch one recent weekday.
“It feels like State Fair food,” she said. “It’s really yummy.”
For an entire burger battered and fried in oil, it wasn’t as heavy as she thought it would be. Still, she conceded she wouldn’t be eating the whole thing.
“It would make me sick.”
Copper Cow Kitchen & Bar
Where: 5445 Eden Prairie Road, Minnetonka
Contact: 952-297-8066, coppercowkitchen.com