|ESTIMATED CALORIC INFO|
|Serving Size||1 burger w/ toppings|
|Calories from Protein||25%|
|Calories from Fat||50%|
|Calories from Carbs||25%|
I don’t like being cocky. I try not to be, and usually if I come off that way chances are it’s either entirely unintentional or completely sarcastic. Nevertheless, I’m aware enough to realize it’s an impression I do make from time to time, so I title this blog post with a disclaimer.
*Disclaimer: I can make perfect burgers. But that doesn’t mean my burgers are better than yours. And I’m not even sure I’ve ever made the same perfect burgers twice. I do, however, have a general idea of what my perfect burgers are, and a recurring theme that gets improvised upon.
Everyone who cooks should have perfect burgers. Burgers are just such a staple, easy food, and such an ideal blank slate for the creative mind to go wild on, that if you cook much you will inevitably find yourself honing your burgers to (your own) perfection.
And here’s the best thing – the fact that you do cook, and that you’ve taken the time to refine your own perfect burger, will inevitably impress the pants off of those who don’t – those who are content just to buy regular store-made patties and throw the frozen rocks onto a grill. Your burgers will be the perfect burgers.
And then you can smile, knowingly, watching them enjoy your simple creation and marvel at your amazing skill and ingenuity.
So, this weekend is Memorial Day weekend – and it’s a perfect chance to enjoy some perfect weather with a perfect group of people in a perfect setting, with a perfect beer in your hand and a perfect burger on your plate.
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.
|ESTIMATED FOOD MILES|
|Ground Beef||45 miles|
|Pork Sausage||45 miles|
|Sour Cream||450 miles|
|Worcestershire Sauce||500 miles|
|Bread Crumbs||25 miles|
|Swiss Cheese||500 miles|
|Awesome Sauce||95 miles|
- 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
- 1/4 lb bacon
- caramelized onion
- raw onion
- 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.
Pretty appetizing, huh?
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.
What do you do to make your perfect burger? Got any tricks, special ingredients or methods?