Friday, July 31, 2009

Grilled Hamburgers

Do we even need a recipe for hamburgers? Yeah, we do. It isn't hard to make an average burger, but the perfect one is elusive. Like any recipe, some aspects of burger preparation are arbitrary. But there are a few rules. Follow them, pick the toppings of your choice, and you'll never order a burger at a restaurant again.

So what is most important to grilling a good hamburger?
1) Use ground chuck. You won't regret it. If you can, grind your own chuck at home in a food processor.
2) Sear both sides of the meat over high heat, then finish them off slowly away from the flames.
3) Poke a dimple into the middle of each patty before cooking. This prevents the burgers from poofing into balls.

grilled hamburger

1 lb ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Red onions

Mix the meat, salt, and pepper just until they come together. Don't ever do it. Carefully form 1/3 of the meat into a patty. Only compact the meat to the point where it won't fall apart. Use a finger to make a quarter-sized indentation into the center of each patty, about half and inch deep. Keep in mind that the meat will shrink a bit on the grill. Slice some red onion and cover lightly with a tiny bit of olive oil. Just enough to coat the slices.

Prepare a two-zone fire on your grill (basically, all the coals on one side). You will know that the fire is hot when you can only hold your hand above the grate without pain for about 2 seconds. Sear the burgers over the coals for 90 seconds per side, then move to the edge of the coals to finish. 3 minutes per side away from the coals should produce medium doneness, but this is different on every grill. You'll have to experiment on you own. After you move the meat away from the high heat, place the onions directly over the flames for a couple of minutes per side. Then move away from the heat until they are soft enough for you.

1) Add a slice of cheese on the top of each burger during the last minute or so of cooking.
2) Freeze slices or 1/2 inch cubes of blue cheese for 20 minutes prior to cooking. Insert the frozen slices inside each patty as you form them. The cheese will unfreeze, but won't melt while on the grill. This is called the "Andrew Sweeny Deluxe."
3) Mix in some ancho chili powder with the meat and top the finished burgers with some avocado slices.

PS - Learn how to use hardwood lump charcoal

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