Grillin’ Burgers

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Labor Day weekend is almost here. That means two things for most people. The first is the start of the college football season. The second is the end of the grilling season. It doesn’t have to be. There is no “grilling season.” I don’t believe it, and you shouldn’t either. As I wrote about in a previous blog entry, Grillin’ & Chillin’, I love to grill. I discussed it more in the entry I posted yesterday, Grillin’ Steaks. If you haven’t read either one, all you need to do is click on title to go check it out. This another tips, how to, and recipe blog entry. People seemed to enjoy what I wrote about steaks. I thought I’d do something similar before the weekend. Today I’ll be discussing hamburgers. Like steaks, they’re delicious, easy to do, and people still screw them up somehow. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

As with steaks, or anything else, some people have their own way. It works for them, they’re happy, and that’s great. Some people don’t have a method. They buy the pre-formed burgers and toss them on the grill without any thought. Then there’s people who are new to this “burger grillin’” thing. They don’t know nothing about it. No one has bothered to teach them, or teach them the right way. Maybe they’ve never grilled a burger. I know it sounds sad, but it doesn’t have to be. There is hope. I want to be that hope, or at least hope I can put you on the right track to becoming a grill master. These people are my target audience. As for the people with their own way, I want you to read this anyway. Maybe you can find something you can incorporate into your system.

I LOVE burgers. I always have, and I always will. That’s why I wanted to take my burgers to the next level. I hate to admit this, but I used to buy the pre-formed burgers. I’d just put some seasoning on and put them on the grill. Shame on me. I’ve learned, grown, and matured in my burger grilling. The inspiration behind my new take on burgers was I started making meatballs. I didn’t want to eat the pre-made frozen balls of whatever in the grocery freezer. I came up with a recipe and made my own. I could use an abbreviated version of the meatball recipe to make some tasty burgers. Sometimes I surprise myself. These are damn good burgers. Enough of this, let’s prepare to grill some burgers.

The first thing we need to discuss is the meat. I use 80/20 chuck. What does that mean? It’s the ratio of meat to fat. The big number (80) is the meat, and the small number (20) is the fat content. I like a little fat in my burgers. Fat is flavor, but you don’t want to overdo it. If you buy the meat a day or two before, leave it in the fridge. If it’s frozen, get it into the fridge a day or two before so it can thaw. You can’t do the microwave defrost method with these. There will be too much liquid, the burgers won’t stay together. You’ll need milk and lots of breadcrumbs to get these to hold.

It’s a good idea to let the meat sit out for a bit before you make the burgers. This is a good time to prepare the grill. If you’re using charcoal, once you light the grill you can make the burgers. How do we do that? Like this. As always adapt this to suit you.

Burger Recipe:

I try to use between 2 ¼ and 2 ½ pounds of 80/20 chuck

3 cloves of minced garlic

2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of burger seasoning (I use Emeril’s Baby Bam Burger spice I make myself, a Google search will find the recipe. If you don’t want to make your own, McCormick’s makes a good spice.)

Take a clean hand or two and incorporate this together. Next form a baseball size ball and set it aside and do that until there isn’t any meat left. Make sure they’re all the same size and form them into burgers about the same size and thickness. Take your burger seasoning and make sure to hit both sides. Shake the seasoning out on one side, pat it in, flip over, and repeat on the next side.

The burgers are now seasoned, shaped, and ready to go on the grill. As I said with steaks, grill these to order. If someone wants a rare one, grill it rare. You aren’t eating it. Grill yours how you want and do the same for everyone else. Simple stuff. If you make them the size of I said above, about 5 minutes a side gives a good medium to medium well burger. I like my burgers cooked a little more than my steaks, but not much. Another good rule of grilling burgers is DON’T play with them. Put them on the grill and move them only when it’s time to flip. Don’t press them. The burgers didn’t do anything to you as Emeril would say. When you press, you don’t help them cook. You press out the juiciness, and the flavor. The result is a flavorless, dry burger no one wants to eat. If you add cheese, and I mean cheese, not cheese product, put it on about 2 minutes before the burger comes off the grill.

All that’s left is the toppings of your choosing. I add bacon and a fried egg to mine along with the usual stuff. If you haven’t had a fried egg on your burger you should try it. Great stuff. I hope this helps anyone who might need it. I’m no expert, but I haven’t had any complaints. Enjoy the experience. Enjoy the food. Be safe. Grill on my friends.

Copyright © Drew Martin 2015

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