Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Heavenly Burger

Wow, is it July 13 and the classic summer burger has not made an appearance at the buffet yet?  So many great things to be done with a burger.  Mix in seasonings, seal a slice of cheese in the middle, mix in some sausage for flavor, grill, fry on the griddle, top with blue cheese, add some bacon on top, it's endless.  Of all the foods in America, Chris' uncle Peter, from Scotland chooses the classic hamburger because of all the fixin's and condiment options available.  And why not?  The idea of build your own to your heart's desire is an American dream.  So, here's to you Uncle Peter, classic burger it is!


I started by grinding my own burger with the handy grinder attachment to my Kitchenaid standing mixer.  Here, there was some debate on cuts of meat to use.  I've always used short rib and top sirloin.  Today, I chose to go with standard chuck steak after consulting with the butcher.  He advised it would be the most flavorful and give the proper fat content (16%) for the tastiest burger.  No need to mix cuts, he advised.  I salted the chunks of chuck steak so that I wouldn't have to mix in the salt later.  My grinder does a medium grind, which was perfect for the burgers.


When forming your burger, make sure you are only lightly packing your ground meat.  You want it loosely formed, not tightly densely packed.  This will result in less shrinkage when cooking and a lighter less, hockey puck like, burger.  We grilled our burgers outside on the gas grill.  There was some debate over frying them in the cast iron skillet... frying in their own fat, crispy outside crust on the burger... but it is summer, and frying a burger inside on a skillet seemed a bit of a sin.


Now let's talk bun.  I am a fan of less is more here.  I go with the small, thin, cheap bun.  Never do I want my bun to devour my burger.  The bun is merely the vehicle.  As long as it's strong enough to hold my burger, it's all it should be.  


And finally, who is burger's best friend?  The crispy fry of course.  We happened to be down at the Pike Place Market watching Beecher's make their cheese today.  What is that floating on top, my gals asked.  And so, we have again tonight, poutine.  


What was my burger creation?  Swiss cheese, heirloom tomato, chopped romaine lettuce, caramelized vidalia onions, sweet hot mustard, horseradish, and ketchup.


Oh burger, heavenly burger!  The poutine did not hurt.  My garden potatoes shined, despite my concerns they were not the proper type of potato for french fries.  Stella said, "I want this for my birthday dinner!"  Chris grilled the burgers to perfection, with a crisp outside shell.  As I've coined a few times before, "I'm sorry, but this is so very good!"

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