Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Art of Burgers

Some of the best meals you make are the ones that aren't planned at all.

Last night I went to the grocery store, looking for chicken, and I struck up a conversation with the butcher there, and we really had a good conversation we were talking weather and meats.  He says to me that he's rolling out some fresh ground beef, 50% off, and I was intrigued.   I thought this wasn't going to be my red meat night but 50% off ground beef that's too good to pass up, and I said "I could make some great burgers with this!"

So I got the ground beef… at 50% off the total price was just around $2.50.   Then I got a pack of buns for $1.50 for a total of 4 bones.   Depending on the day, a middle of the week home cooked burger is one with just the patty and the bun so I saved some money by not getting lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cheese.

Bringing that stash home, I went right to work.  There wasn't a ton of time as I had a podcast the same night.   I took out the ground beef, molded them into four pretty thick 1/3 lb patties, and added salt and pepper to each side.  I only use a sprinkling of salt and go heavy on the pepper for each one.   Let that sit, and started up the gas grill.  

Here were the keys to burger success:

First, I heated up the gas grill at maximum and even covered the grill for a few seconds.  After that I opened the top and set the burners to medium heat.

Next, I put the four burgers right onto the grill.  I got a little lucky with a loose flame coming up to the surface.  This is how I like to do the burgers.  What I want is the kind of heat where the flames actually touch the burger patty and practically engulf the patty with fire.  It's fantastic.

Some of the work was positioning the other patties close to loose flames on the grill… then it really got cooking… you could see fire wrapping up the patties like you see in the fast food commercials!   I left the patties on one side for about 5 minutes, then turned over the patties for another 3-5 minutes…

Unlike a lot of people I do a few extra flips with the burgers… and I do that to make sure the fire gets enough  coverage all the way around the patty.   After about 10-12 minutes of cooking voila!  The burgers are ready to go.

I can't speak to the specific done-ness of the burgers but from my taste they look like they were cooked medium to medium-well.   They were fantastic!   A funny little comment about the shape of the patties… I don't think I flattened them a whole lot so they had this mango pit shape to them, although thicker than an actual mango pit.  but!  The patties fit on the small buns perfectly!   To these burgers, all I added was some Gulden's mustard on the other bun and then smothered the top bun onto the burger.   This created a little coating of deli mustard which was just terrific.

Simple, effective, and remarkably cheap.   It's neat to know how simple it is to make your own hamburgers, and it was fun too, so long as you have the time for 'em.

I still go to fancy places to get the best burgers, but I got a feeling my hamburgers hold their own!

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