June 7, 2010

Burger Review!

Burgers on the grill are the harbingers of summer, one fleeting whiff of the burning charcoal and meat can send me into an elaborate day dream involving cute summer dresses, bare feet, beer, fresh fruit salad, strings of pretty garden lights, and of course a deliciously juicy burger, just off the grill.

My blogging buddy Liam at My So-Called Knife, posted his recipe for the Perfect Burgers a few weeks ago, and I got the chance to try them out on Memorial Day. His recipe intrigued me because of its use of interesting and exciting ingredients. Unfortunately, on the big day, I woke up with a terrible cold, and no sense of taste, due to a stuffy nose :( Never-the-less, I forged on and made these for my family to enjoy, and enjoy they did. My mother, grandmother, sister, husband, and brother-in-law all declared them the "best burgers ever!" I think is has something to do with the pork sausage...my family has an unhealthy obsession with pork... Even in my sick state, I thoroughly devoured my burger, and it was juicy and perfect, even though I couldn't taste it as well as I wanted too :)

This recipe is also great because he goes into the subtleties of burger making, a great way to take your burgers to the next level of awesomeness!

From MSCK:
"My perfect burgers call for a mix of ground beef and sausage, at about a 70%/30% ratio. I could probably increase the perfection quotient on the burgers if I started grinding my own meat, but that will have to wait for another day. I also occasionally have been known to use some buffalo meat in the mixture if I can get a good source for it. But for this base recipe, we’ll just go with the beef and sausage.

Perfect ingredients…

- 1 lb ground beef (you can go lean if you want, but I usually don’t)
- 1/3 lb pork sausage (Italian, sage, mild, spicy, whatevers – mix it up)
- 2 heaping spoonfuls of sour cream
- 5-6 splashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 c bread crumbs
- 3 or 4 slices of cheese (I used Swiss in this iteration)
- 1 egg (optional)
- hamburger buns

Perfect toppings…
- 1/4 lb bacon
- lettuce
- caramelized onion
- raw onion
- mushrooms
- tomato
- your favorite ketchup/sauce

AWESOME ALERT! I got to use my own lettuce for this, grown in a container on my back deck. It’s the first non-herb food product of any sort that I’ve eaten that I have grown myself. I had to have a moment.


First thing you want to do is fry up the bacon for topping. Fry it in a skillet (cast iron if possible), and as it’s frying prep your toppings – slice up the tomato, onion and mushrooms to appropriate size pieces.

After the bacon’s finished frying, take it out of the skillet and lay it out on a paper towel so the oil will drain off. Reserve bacon fat in the skillet and set aside, we will be using it later.

Next, set out a large bowl and put in the beef, the pork sausage, the sour cream, the bread crumbs, the Worcestershire sauce, and the cheese. Break the cheese up into small pieces as it’s going to be mixed in with the burger meat.

You can add an egg here into your mix, I occasionally do, but if you do then you probably want to add more bread crumbs – with the sour cream and the sauce in there already, it gets pretty runny if you add an egg. Top off with more bread crumbs if it is too liquidy, until you get a consistency that’s solid enough to stay together on your grill.

Step away from your bowl now and go fire up the grill. If you’re using a charcoal grill, fire it up 20 minutes ago.

Take your hands and mix all the ingredients in the bowl. You will get good and messy here, so just suck it up. You want to make sure all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly but try not to over-work the meat.

When forming your burger patties, go for something a little bit smaller than the size of your fist. Flatten it out a little bit in the center but not too much. You want it to cook evenly so bear that in mind as you are making the patties.

By now your grill should be pretty warm and ready to go.

Cook the patties over a medium-high flame for 7-9 minutes. You should see the meat browning just shy of half way up the patty when it’s ready to flip. Cook the other side another 7-9 minutes.

Whatever you do, do not flatten your burger patties while they are on the grill. I’ve known people to have a tendency to do this, thinking that if you flatten them they will cook more evenly. Well, they might, but in doing so you’re squeezing all the juices out of the meat when they could be cooking into the burger and you’re losing all your flavor.

Optional bonus: sear over high heat for just 1-2 minutes on either side right before they come off the grill.

While the burgers are cooking on the grill, heat the bacon fat in the skillet back up. Sautee the mushrooms and onions in the skillet in the bacon fat. Take them out after the onions have browned slightly and the mushrooms have taken on a semi-transparent quality. Set aside on a towel to drain.

Can’t make a perfect burger without perfect toppings.

Take burgers off grill. Top with awesome toppings. I like to use Bigg Riggs Awesome Sauce instead of ketchup. It’s technically a wing sauce, but I like it on all kinds of stuff.

Eat. Enjoy. "

Liam, my family and I thank you for making our Memorial Day, Memoriable...memorable...you rock!


Liam O'Malley said...

So glad to see the wonderful review, Jessi. I'm happy that they went over so well!

Shame about your cold though. I hope you are recovering quickly, you'll have to try them again when you're all better!

Jessi B. said...

I am finally starting to feel better! Next time we make burgers...yours are on the menu!