My husband has decided that I make the best cheeseburgers in the world. He’s declared that all restaurant burger experiences are now ruined for him because no burger could ever be as good as the ones I made. I’m pretty sure this has more to do with his limited homemade burger experience than my actual expertise, but I do have a few burger making rules that I stick to. I don’t have much interesting to report as I literally did nothing at work today, so let’s talk burgers, shall we.
I’m guessing that it’s way too hot where you are to want to cook inside. If you’re lucky enough to have a grill, you should definitely make some burgers this weekend. My burger philosophy has a lot to do with handling the meat. When I am living in a place where I’m actually smart enough to read the labels, I usually go ahead and buy ground chuck or ground round, but never anything leaner. Years of watching Food Network for 12 hours a day has taught me that you need a bit of fat in the meat to make it juicy. There’s nothing sadder than a dry burger.
Also, I believe in putting a lot of flavor into the meat. If I’m not trying out a specific recipe, I usually just scan my spice rack and condiments and throw in whatever looks good. A couple of unusual ingredients I almost always include are chili sauce and dried oregano. And a dash of cayenne never hurt anyone either. I suppose some people are burger purists and would scoff at anything other than salt and pepper, but to me, that’s a one way ticket to a boring burger.
Sometimes I go the egg and bread crumb route, depending on how wet the mixture is. It gives some stability to the burger, especially if you’ve used a lot of wet ingredients to add flavor. You just have to go with your gut on consistency. If it’s too wet, your burger will fall apart for sure. But the most important thing, and I cannot stress this enough, is not to overhandle the meat. Mix it quickly with your hands. Yes, it’s disgusting, but that’s what soap is for. When you form the patties, for god’s sake, don’t pack them too tightly. Just enough for them to hold together.
When they’re cooking, don’t go poking them or smashing them with your spatula. That impressive flame that spurts up after a burger smash is all of your flavor falling into the fire instead of into your mouth. I like my burgers with just a hint of pink inside. I’m not a bloody meat kind of person, but I also don’t want them dried out.
I also say, lightly toast the bun and load up on the cheese and condiments. Nobody should have to suffer through a boring burger. Nobody should have to live 28 years of their lives eating prefab patties when it’s so easy to make them yourself.
So that’s my burger sermon. I take this stuff very seriously. I want people to eat well when they’re with me. I’m seriously considering starting a low maintenance food blog on the treatsies site when we get to Hawaii, so thanks for letting me practice a little food writing. Hope you can come over for burgers sometime.