Today I am really excited cause we are going to talk about burgers… one of my favorite meals. Let me begin by saying that we are not going to pretend to be experts in burger making… there are many sites out there that detail the science of using 1,000 different types of beef cuts and their advantages. Personally I believe a burger should be a simple affair with a complex and satisfying flavor. Here I will try to outline the basic goals you should aim to accomplish when making one, and from then on you can experiment with different combinations in order to achieve them. If you are already bored skip to the recipe and try it directly then come and comment. Otherwise keep reading the points below:
If you think about it, burgers are made from very simple ingredients, so the first thing you should be concerned about is their quality. Nice sweet onions, juicy plum tomatoes, but the king here is the meat. No pre-ground stuff please. Invest some time with a knowledgable butcher talk about the different cuts and above all be sure of its quality. What you are looking for is a way to make a patty as juicy as possible. To achieve that you want fat…which as it cooks melts. Around 20% of your ground meat should be fat and the rest, flavorful cuts of meat that give texture and body. (Some burger fanatics grind the fat separately with a finer plate and then mix it all together). The most important thing is to get the fat that is tender enough to melt in the short cooking process. Generally cuts that are used for burgers are brisket, chuck, sirloin and boneless rib. The more marbling the better… avoid big chunks of unchewable bits of fat that I’ve seen people discreetly spit out in restaurants that didn’t get it right. The second most important thing is to not grind the heck out of your meat. We want a coarse grind, passed no more that two times to achieve a good texture but still be able to cook it without crumbling. If you can’t find the balance, add an egg yolk to help it bind better. On the same note when shaping your patty, you don’t want to manhandle it for hours turning it into mush. Work it into a ball until it holds its shape and then just flatten it and work the edges a bit… but not to perfection we all love that nicely browned irregular texture.
Since we are talking of browning make sure to preheat your pan well, it makes a big difference in the flavor and texture (more or less like a stake). And that’s exactly how I like my patty to taste like… an amazing browned, juicy steak so I don’t really add any flavoring to the minced meat. You can experiment with anything from herbs (thyme, marjoram) and spices, to sauces like BBQ sauce, your call. One thing you should avoid for sure is seasoning with salt in advance… the more the salt interacts with the meat there the more it draws out juices and water that you normally want in. So either season at the last moment or season like a steak on both sides prior to cooking. Last but not least we have the toppings and the hundred different combinations you can try, and here you can really improvise depending on your tastes. For this post we try some tried and tested ones that I love and order most of the times when eating out. Also for this recipe we are gonna cook the burger on a skillet since some people don’t have a bbq. However the bbq-ed burger always tastes better, but in any case make sure your patties are at room temperature before you cook them otherwise the interior will remain raw. This is something you should always do when cooking a stake too.
So that’s all I think… ahh make sure to use a spatula for the cooking and transfer, it helps keep the patty in one piece.
Ingredients, the classic:
– iceberg lettuce
– cheddar cheese
1. Fry the bacon on medium heat until crispy and assemble everything on the bun.
2. Place the cheese on the cooking patty as instructed below in the patty recipe.
Ingredients, caramelized onions and mushroom:
– 2 white onions
– 250 gr mushrooms
– 1tsp brown sugar
– 3tbs red wine
– 1tsp balsamic vinegar
– 50gr butter
– 1tsp thyme
– swiss cheese
– salt & pepper
1. Cut the onions in round slices.
2. Add half the butter (ie 25gr) on a skillet on medium heat.
3. Add the onions and cook for 10 mins until soft, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the wine, vinegar, and sugar and cook for another 2 minutes stirring often until most liquid evaporates but not until dry.
1. Cut the mushrooms in slices.
2. Add 25gr butter in a skillet on medium-high heat and add mushrooms and thyme.
3. Cook for about 10 minutes till nicely caramelized.
Ingredients, blue cheese:
-150gr gorgonzola (or a blue cheese of your liking)
– 2tbs cream
Directions, blue cheese:
1. Mix everything together till incorporated.
– 1200gr meat (i used 500gr chuck 700gr sirloin)
– 1tsp onion powder
– 1tsp sugar
– 1 egg yolk
– 1tbs oil or butter
** we ground our meat twice. the first grind was done with an 8mm plate, the second it was 6.5mm **
1. Mix everything together till incorporated but don’t overdo it.
2. Divide into 6 portions of 200gr each for a respectable sized patty. Roll into a ball again without overdoing it and press it to flatten it out. Roughly smooth out the edges and season liberally with salt and pepper prior to cooking.
3. Preheat a skillet on medium-high for a good 5 mins and add the oil or butter. Carefully place 2 patties, (remember room temperature), if possible and cook for about 5 minutes per side turning once only for a medium-cooked result.
4. If you are using cheese place it on the patty for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking and place the lid back on.
5. During the cooking, cover the skillet with its cover if it has one or use one from another pan the fits relatively well in order to create a mini-oven environment that helps the interior cook well and also helps the cheese melt.
….for more recipes from us, check out our archives.