Video: Plan Check's 'Ketchup Leather,' Explained
Plan Check's "ketchup leather," developed by chef Ernesto Uchimura, gets the kind of attention that most novelty foods strive for. Sure, it looks like a Fruit Roll-Up was put in your burger, but don't write it off as a gimmick.
Plan Check's director of culinary operations Sean Yontz took us behind the scenes at their Fairfax location to show us how it's made, and he says that there's a practical reason for the ketchup leather's existence: it prevents the bun from getting soggy. So, while all those other loser burgers are drowning in a watery pool of Heinz, the Plan Check burger (the "PCB") stays neat and dry—that is, until you take a bite and all the juices percolate and leave your hands in an greasy mess (which is a good thing).
Practicality aside, the ketchup does exactly what it should do. It adds a brighter tint to the baroque richness of the cheese and ground beef. And with the water in the ketchup evaporated (the sauce is dehydrated in an oven) we get a more potent kick of the prickly sourness. Paired with a juicy patty, melted dashi cheese, and a carefully toasted bun, the ketchup leather conspires for a burger that abounds with sharper flavors.