Thursday, May 26, 2011

BBQ, Burgers, and Beer

This is how I plan on spending my Memorial Day Weekend!  I love Memorial Day Weekend, its like the official beginning of summer! BBQ's are blazing and what a better time than to share a couple of my (and a bunch of my friends) BBQ favs.

Forget those nasty frozen burgers- I don't eat those unless I'm at someone else's BBQ- they are frozen beef pucks, flavorless and full of fillers.  Making your own burgers is super easy- Once you know the procedure you can easily make meatloaf and meatballs too.  The best part about burgers is that there is endless possibilities.  Right now I am actually trying to come up with some ideas to submit into the Sutter Home Build a Better Burger Contest. So lets get the basics down:

This burger I made the other day and it was just so simple and delicious I will share the recipe with you, I call it "The Original"

  • 1 1/2 lb of ground chuck*
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves
  • palm full of McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning (this is an essential spice blend in my kitchen, I put that sh*! in everything ;) but if you don't have this just add salt, pepper, and some heat-like cayenne or red pepper flakes, but seriously invest in this seasoning it seriously is awesome for so many things)
  • 1 egg
  • about a handful of breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil
  • Mix all ingredients together (except oil) in a bowl just until it comes together- try and not over-mix it.  The heat from your hands will start to melt the fat and we don't want the fat to melt before cooking.  Also over mixing makes the meat tough. yuck.
  • Form into patties, this recipe will prob make about 6 to 8.  Shape into regular hamburger rounds and then smoosh your thumb in the middle of each burger to make a little dent or well- this will help the burger cook evenly, and not bubble up in the middle (the dreaded burger bump), so all the stuff you pile on top wont be sliding off.
  • Coat in oil and throw them on a hot grill.  Do not touch them, don't poke them, don't mess with them.  Cook your burgers medium- slightly pink in the middle- this makes the burger so much better than a tough well done one.  For medium, depending on the size of your burgers, I would do about 4 to 5 mins on each side.
  • I just added a toasted bun and ketchup, but if you want cheese-throw the cheese on about 30 sec- 1 min before it's done.

Some grilling tips:
  • Make the burgers a little bit bigger than the bun, because they will shrink up a bit when cooked
  • For the love of all that's good eats- do not squish your burger down with the spatula- that only makes the good juices run out and you will end up with a dry burger and most likely flair ups from the grill.

Overwhelmed at the meat department?
  • *Ground chuck:  I have used a lot of different ground meats to make burgers, but this has got to be my favorite ground beef to work with, it is so delicious.  Ground chuck is ground from a single cut of beef (the shoulder), just "ground beef" can have meat from all over the animal.
  • Ground Beef: Regular ground beef is usually a combo of two or more cuts of beef.  When you see the ground beef labeled as 80/20, 93/7 etc, this is the lean meat to fat ratio.  Even though it's not the healthiest choice-80/20 or 85/15 (which ground chuck is) are better because the fat adds flavor and moisture to the end result.
  • Ground sirloin: this is a piece of ground sirloin lol (middle of the cow) its a leaner ground choice around the 90/10 area.
  • Sometimes you will see ground hamburger: now this is like the mystery ground beef lol, it basically is all the trimmings (inside and out) ground up all together- ugh I would stay away from this
  • Ground round: its a ground beef from the round of the cow (like london broil, or round roast- the back of the cow, like the top leg) its about 85/15
  • Meatloaf mix: this is a mix of beef, veal, and pork- mainly used for meatloafs and meatballs.
I have found that the leaner the meat the more expensive it is- when you go to pick out your meat- you will notice this right away

Not into beef? Try ground turkey.  This is my chili turkey burger with green peppers. yum!

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