Trader Joe's Vs. Aldi: Where To Shop For The Best Burger
For Brooke Caison and I, a huge part of our jobs as recipe developers is shopping for ingredients. We want to find the freshest produce, the best thing to finish a dish, and, of course, all the best deals. Over the years, we've discovered which stores we love, hate, and tolerate.
Since we spend dozens of hours a month in grocery stores, we honestly consider ourselves to be experts. So we wanted to use our expertise to help determine which grocery chain reigns supreme in a new show we call Grocery Showdown!
In each episode, Brooke and I will cook the same dish while shopping at two separate stores. We'll take inspiration from what each supermarket have to offer and compare the two dishes to determine which ones are better tasing and more affordable. There are two ways to win Grocery Showdown:
By having the cheapest meal
By having the best-tasting meal
Or you can be an overachiever and have both!
For our first ever episode, we decided to cook one of our favorite cookout staples, the humble hamburger. Burgers are easy to make, relatively cheap, and something even a novice home cook can slap together.
We spun our BJW (Big Janky Wheel) to determine that Brooke was going to shop at Aldi and I was going to shop at Trader Joe's. Not going to lie, I was PSYCHED to get TJ's. They have the best snacks and some pretty good/cheap produce.
Fun fact! The original holding companies for Aldi and Trader Joe's were founded by two German brothers who had previously started a grocery chain together. But after an argument over whether their stores should sell cigarettes, they split up and started two new companies that eventually became Aldi and Trader Joe's.
For this showdown, the rules were:
We have 45 minutes to make four burgers.
All spices and oils/fats in the Delish Test Kitchen were free to use.
Whenever possible, we had to shop for and use the grocery store brand items.
Brooke totally smoked me on budget, spending only $18.82 at Aldi, while I spent $24.80 at Trader Joe's. To see which dish our guest judge Julia like the most, watch the video above. Here are the recipes:
Divide 1½ lb. (80/20) ground beef into 4 portions and press each into a nearly flat disk; season with kosher salt and 1 tablespoon Aldi Buffalo Wing Seasoning Mix. Divide 6 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles among patties. Enclose beef around cheese and form into a ball. Using the palms of your hands, shape balls into a disk shape about ½" thick.
In a medium bowl, combine 8 oz. Aldi cabbage slaw mix, 2 sliced ribs celery, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, a heavy pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Add 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, drizzle with canola oil, and toss until well combined.
In a small bowl, combine ⅓ cup Aldi Blue Cheese Dressing, 1 tablespoon Aldi Buffalo Wing Seasoning, and a pinch of cayenne pepper until smooth.
Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in 1 tablespoon canola oil and heat until shimmering. Season both sides of each patty with a pinch of salt.
Working in batches if needed, cook until browned crust forms on one side, about 5 minutes, then flip and cook a 5 minutes more or until internal temperature reaches 140F for medium. Transfer to a plate or cutting board.
Spread cut sides of 4 hamburger buns with ½ tablespoon softened butter. In same skillet over medium heat, toast buns cut side down until golden brown, about 1 minute.
Top bottom bun with plenty of slaw, place a burger on top, then spread with Buffalo blue cheese sauce. Close burger with top bun.
Preheat your oven to 300ºF. Roughly chop 4 Trader Joe's English Muffins and add to a food processor. Pulse until the crumbs resemble panko. Transfer to a sheet tray and sprinkle over 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss everything to combine then transfer to the oven and bake, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes or until crispy and dried out.
In a large bowl, toss 9 oz. Trader Joe's Cabbage Carrot Slaw Mix, 3 scallions, sliced on a bias, and ½ jalapeño, thinly sliced. Add juice of 2 limes, 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon MSG. Toss until coated. Let sit until slaw slightly wilts, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a jar slightly larger than immersion blender stick, blend 1 large egg, 1 cup grapeseed (or other neutral) oil, and 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar on high. As emulsion starts to come together, tilt blender at an angle to incorporate more oil. When almost fully emulsified, move blender around to mix in any excess oil. Stir in 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, then taste and add more vinegar or Old Bay if needed; set aside.
Using a mandoline, thinly sliced 1 sweet potato. Fill a large pot with neutral oil to a depth of 1" and heat until a deep-fry or instant-read thermometer registers 365°. Fry potatoes until crispy and slightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt.
In a food processor, pulse 4 oz. or one-third of 1 lb. medium peeled and deveined shrimp, 1 large egg, 3 scallions, coarsely chopped, and remaining ½ jalapeño, seeds removed, roughly chopped, until a paste forms. Add remaining 12 oz. or two-thirds of shrimp and pulse 2 to 4 times until pieces are in chunks and distributed; season with ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon MSG.
Transfer shrimp mixture to a large bowl. Using your hands, form into 4 patties.
Dredge patties in the English Muffin breadcrumbs and reserve on a baking sheet. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil until shimmering. Working in batches if needed, cook patties, flipping once, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 150°. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; season with salt and pepper.
Schmear reserved Old Bay mayonnaise on cut sides of 4 brioche buns. Top with a shrimp patty and coleslaw. Serve with chips alongside.
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29 Insanely Delicious Vodka Cocktails1½ lb. (80/20) ground beef kosher salt 1 tablespoon Aldi Buffalo Wing Seasoning Mix 6 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles 8 oz. Aldi cabbage slaw mix 2 sliced ribs celery ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder heavy pinch of salt few grinds of black pepper 2 tablespoons rice vinegar canola oil ⅓ cup Aldi Blue Cheese Dressing 1 tablespoon Aldi Buffalo Wing Seasoning pinch of cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon canola oil pinch of salt 4 hamburger buns ½ tablespoon softened butter 4 Trader Joe's English Muffins 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oi 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon onion powder ½ teaspoon kosher salt a few grinds of black peppe 9 oz. Trader Joe's Cabbage Carrot Slaw Mix 3 scallions, sliced on a bias ½ jalapeño, thinly sliced juice of 2 limes 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ⅛ teaspoon MSG 1 large egg 1 cup grapeseed (or other neutral) oil 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning 1 sweet potato neutral oil salt 4 oz. or one-third of 1 lb. medium peeled and deveined shrimp 1 large egg 3 scallions coarsely chopped ½ jalapeño, seeds removed, roughly chopped 12 oz. or two-thirds of shrimp ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder ½ teaspoon smoked paprika ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ⅛ teaspoon MSG English Muffin breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil salt pepper 4 brioche buns You Might Also Like