Because everybody needs a good hamburger sometimes

August 12, 2015

Good, old-fashioned American fare -- burger, baked beans, potatoes.

Good, old-fashioned American fare — burger, baked beans, potatoes.

You’ve been there. Your refrigerator is bulging with good things to cook. Fresh produce litters your countertop. There are all sorts of delectable creations well within your culinary reach.

But you want, dammit, a burger.

We Americans do love our hamburgers. The bigger, the thicker, the juicier, the piled-higher-with-toppings the better. And I wanted a hamburger in the worst kind of way.

So I grilled some.

I had buns I’d picked up from the Kroger bakery t’other day, decided not to use, and tossed in the freezer. I got those out. Laid out two pounds of ground beef to thaw. Mentally checked off condiment availability in the fridge. Mayo, check, Mustard, check. Pickles, check. Cheese, check. Onions in the pantry. Tomatoes on the counter. We’re good to go.

I have a set formula for mixing up my burgers. I want them savory, but I don’t want them screaming at me with some unidentifiable flavor, so I stay pretty basic. To two pounds of ground beef, I add:

  • An egg
  • Probably two tablespoons of A-1 sauce
  • Seasoned salt of some description. As with most seasonings, I don’t measure.
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • A scant handful of bread or cracker crumbs
  • A few grinds of black pepper

I squish all that up with my hands. I am not of the school that cautions you against overworking the meat when making burgers, or in fact meat loaf. I like my burger (and my meat loaf) dense and firmly packed. Food critics caution that it makes them dry; I’ve never found that to be the case.

I like my burgers about 3/4 to one inch thick, and healthy sized. From two pounds of ground beef, I got five burgers, so they were a tad less than a half-pound. A handy tip — when you make your patties, use your fingertips to create a “dimple” about half the depth of the burger and about an inch and a half across, in each one. That’ll keep them from cooking up thicker in the center than on the edges.

Grilled them on my gas grill, to which they stuck, severely, which in turn sent me to the laptop after dinner to investigate Grillgrates, which are supposed to both stop flareups, to which my grill is very prone, and help with stickiness issues. Believe I’ll be ordering some Grillgrates.

I made up a dish of baked beans, and started to make potato salad, when it occurred to me that roasted potato wedges would be nice, and easier, and we hadn’t had them in a good while. And I had Yukon Gold potatoes, which are the best for that particular application. I washed and cut several into wedges; put them in a bowl and tossed them with olive oil. I lined them up on a foil-lined cookie sheet, sprinkled them with seasoned salt and with Cotija cheese. They went in a 350 oven initially, with the beans, and when the beans came out, I kicked the temp up to about 450. Probably about 15 minutes at 350, and another 15 at 450, until they were getting golden brown. As good as French fries, and lots easier and healthier.

Dressed my burger with mustard (homemade spicy), mayo, kosher dill chips, and tomato, on a whole wheat bun. All in all, it was a quite satisfying way to fulfill the burger urge.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em come on over and we’ll grill us one when the Grillgrates come in.

 

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4 Responses to “Because everybody needs a good hamburger sometimes”

  1. cleavelin Says:

    They were some tasty burgers, fer shure.

    I’ve been doing all my recent burgers sous vide, finishing them on a cast iron frypan (because I don’t have a grill yet, dammit!). Those turn out really well, though I really hope I can have a grill sometime again before I die… 🙂

  2. Toy Lady Says:

    Kay, have you ever considered a grinder? Granted, grinding your own meat for burgers is a bit of a pain in the, well, you know. . . BUT I guaran-dang-tee that you’ll never go back to store-bought ground beef. I particularly favor a blend of beef (chuck or short ribs, or even sirloin) and pork shoulder – season the meat with any meat “rub” then grind, shape and grill, and – OHMYGOSH the best burger you’ve ever had. Well, once you get your cheese, fresh lettuce and tomato and homemade mayo on there – bacon is bonus points. (Homemade bacon is a gold star.)

  3. kayatthekeyboard Says:

    Kris, I get my beef a quarter-steer at the time from a local farmer, and it comes in a mix of steaks/roasts/assorted other stuff/ground beef. I do have a grinder attachment for my KA but, sadly, have never used it.

  4. Toy Lady Says:

    Oh, use it! Tell ’em not to grind anything! And add some pig! LOL (We’re telling our guy not to grind anything unless it’s for the dog. . . mainly the yucky parts, I guess.)


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