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A “Standard” Burger

September 1, 2010

A beer, a dog & a grill… those are the three things men need in order to make a cooking session great.  It’s that simple – and men like simple.  The beer keeps you cool amongst the raging blaze (because alcohol and cooking go together like peanut butter and jelly); man’s best friend keeps you company while the rest of your guests socialize (because a good barbecuer tends to his grill); and the grill – aside from cooking, obviously – provides a man with a challenge (because all men love a good challenge.)  Now I’m not trying to be sexist by saying the grill is strictly a man’s domain, but nothing says “man” more than controlling the unpredictable nature of an open flame to perfectly cook your meat of choice.

And today’s meat?  Good old fashioned American hamburgers… with a twist.

While burning meat over a hot fire goes back hundreds of millennia, that doesn’t mean you need to dumb down your burger to that of what a neanderthal would cook.  What makes barbecuing burgers so traditional is the process, but that doesn’t mean you can’t vary the elements.  Like with all my cooking I usually like to take a traditional recipe and give it a swift kick in a the rear, but first let’s establish a foundation and start with what I consider the quintessential basic burger…

*Note: You may notice I don’t offer what some would call exact measurements for my ingredients, that’s because typically I don’t measure much besides liquids.  I’m much more of a visual cook, so bear with me…

“The Standard”  (Serves four persons)

Preparation time: 20 min. – Cooking time: 20-25 min. / Difficulty: Easy / Cooking Beverage: Hoegarden Belgian White

  • 1 lb. fresh ground beef
  • 1/2 white onion (chopped)
  • Worcester Sauce
  • garlic powder
  • garlic salt
  • black ground pepper

This is my staple burger and, as always, I use fresh ground beef.  Never EVER use pre-made patties, or as I like to call them, “crap.”  With freshly washed hands, mix together the ground beef and chopped white onion, adding splashes of Worcester Sauce throughout using only enough to allow the ground beef to break up enough so it meshes well with the onion.  Sprinkle in some garlic salt – about four shakes – and continue to mix it in with your hands.

Take handfuls of the ground beef mix and separate it in to four equal size clumps.   I make four because a burger less than a 1/4 lbs. isn’t really a burger.   With flat palms, roll each clump into a smooth large meatball, then place the ground beef on a plastic cutting board and softly rub it down in to a round 1/2 thick patty.  Then give each side of the patty a quick splash of Worcester Sauce and a dash or two of garlic powder.  Repeat this process with the remaining clumps of ground beef.

You can refrigerate your patties until ready to cook; in fact, I’d suggest doing the above process earlier in the day so when it comes time to prepare dinner, you can focus on the grilling and not have raw meat being tossed around near the rest of your food.  Heat your grill to 400 degrees and then toss on your patties, lightly searing each side to trap the ground beef’s juices, then lower the temperature to around 325 degrees, flipping the burgers when you see the edges start to brown and the meat start to bubble.  A minute or two before your patties are done cooking, toss a thick slice of medium cheddar cheese on each burger and close the grill for about a minute. Melt the cheese until it’s soft and gooey, but not so much that it’s runny.

Serve on toasted seeded buns (not the cheap, light weight white buns that fall apart) and enjoy!

Now that you have the basics, check back for more of my burger variations, including my “Tuscan Burger” and “Blue Cheeseburger.”

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