Saturday, May 21, 2011

Grill: Hamburgers

One of most popular grilled meat is the hamburger. There is no need to have just a "plain" hamburger. The ingredients that can be added to the basic hamburger are endless. You don't have to spend a lot of time to turn your burger into something everyone will love. Let me give you a few of my favorite ingredients to make your burger special. Just add some.............

1) Yellow or white onion or shallots, finely chopped
2) Peppers, bell, jalapeno, serrano or poblano, finely chopped
3) Garlic, minced
4) Cheese,there are so many wonderful cheeses to use in and on a burger, I prefer cheddar, colby, montery jack, cojack, pepperjack. Shredded or diced.
5) Bacon, chopped and I prefer to partially precook the bacon, it makes it easier to mix into your hamburger

The ingredients you can add are, like I said, endless. Have fun and experiment. I love to add Worcestershire sauce to mine, in addition to while I am cooking my burgers.

Here are some tips when making your burgers.

*Wet your hands lightly before making the patties, it will help keep the burger from sticking to your hands too much.

*Add about 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce, tomato juice or barbecue sauce for each pound of hamburger. It will help keep your burgers moist. Ketchup an also be used.

*DO NOT over mix your  hamburger when adding additional ingredients, this will make your burgers become tough. Be gentle, but thoroughly mix in your additional ingredients by hand.

* When making you patties, make the center of your burger thinner than the outside edge. When a burger cooks, it it raises up more in the center. By making it thinner in the center, you will have a more even burger.

* When it comes to choosing your hamburger, leaner is not always better. The fat in the hamburger gives it your flavor. I would go no leaner than 80/20. I prefer 70/30. Most of the fat will drain out of the hamburger while it is cooking.  Of course, if you prefer a leaner meat, you can always use ground turkey or chicken. I would not suggest using lean turkey or chicken, remember the fat is where the flavor is, so you may not have much flavor.

* When grilling your burger, do not "mash" it down with your spatula, while this does cause more of the fat to leave the burger, it also can make them too dry. Who wants a dry burger?

* You should cook your burger to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. It is best to cook ground meat to well done. Because the meat is ground, bacteria can quickly move through out you meat, unlike steak for instance.

* Avoid any cross contamination with your meat. Wash hands before and after handling raw meat. Don not place your cooked burgers on the same plate your raw burgers were on and use a cutting board specifically for meat to make your patties.

* When making hamburgers for a large crowd your burgers can stick together when stacking them on a platter. Place either plastic wrap or wax paper between each layer of patties. This not only will keep the patties from sticking to one another, but make it less messy.

* Another way to add ingredients to your burgers is to stuff your burgers. make two thin patties, place cheese and/or other ingredients in the center of one patty and place the other patty on top. Seal the edges of the two burgers to keep your ingredients from falling out. I found it is better to saute and then cool your onions, peppers before you add them to the center of your burger.

* Don't forget to season your hamburger. I use a seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce.  I believe salt is a must, it is the best flavor enhancer there is. Though, do be thoughtful to those who may be on a low sodium diet.

Have fun and experiment with different ingredients. This is the only way to find your favorite burger!


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