Thrill of the Grill - Hamburgers
By Angie Sutton, www.momsapronstrings.com
Whether you’re a charcoal fan or a gas-griller the annual Memorial Day weekend kicks off grilling season in a big way.
While there are plenty of options for protein on the grill from my favorite ribeye to my favorite pork loin, the possibilities are essentially endless. Have you grilled watermelon? Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore ideas and recipes to put the thrill in your grilling season. We’ll start with an American staple, the hamburger.
The burger is about as traditional as you can get. There’s nothing quite like the memories of my dad rolling out the grill and stacking the charcoal just right before lighting it. A few more rides around the block on my bicycle and I’d soon be smelling the hamburger patties cooking. My mom would holler out that it was time to come inside and clean up for dinner. She’d typically serve a side like potato salad and fresh fruit cubes like watermelon or cantaloupe. I’m sure the burgers tasted great at the time, but my memories sure make them taste a whole lot better.
When we grill burgers now, we select the 80/20 ground beef for flavor. To produce a tasty traditional burger, mix in a few dashes of your favorite spice rub to the beef before forming the patties. Use a medium heat level to avoid burning the outside before the inside has a chance to reach 160 degrees F. doneness. We find that a half-inch-thick patty has the best result and, once on the grill, we flip the burger only once. Top it with cheese once the burgers are completely cooked. Serve with good-quality fresh hamburger bun or artisanal roll.
My husband has a kitchen gadget that forms equally-sized burgers which we find handy for preparation. The key to preparing your ground beef is to handle it gently. Over mixing and mashing can dry out the meat. Once your patty is formed, you can use your thumb to create a slight indention in the middle of the patty. This indention can keep your burgers from bloating while on the grill. Avoid the temptation to “squash” your burgers with that spatula while they are cooking! They need to juices to cook without drying out.
Always be sure to use food handling safety guidelines when working with ground beef. Wash surfaces and hands often and place the cooked patties on a clean tray upon removing them from the grill. Cooking times can vary depending on your grill and most recipes provide a range of cook times as an approximation. Always use a good instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the burger, horizontally, to check for doneness – 160 degrees F.
Gourmet Burgers with Brie
Give this burger a try! You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how pleasing it is to your palate. This recipe makes four servings that can served with your favorite rolls or as an open-faced sandwich. Instead of ketchup, top your burger with fruit preserves or hot pepper jelly.
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. walnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Granny Smith apple
4 Tbsp. Brie cheese, softened
1. Heat grill to medium.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine ground beef, walnuts, salt and pepper. Divide mixture into four equal-sized portions and shape into 1/2-inch-thick patties.
3. Grill, covered, 7-to-10 minutes turning half-way through. Internal temperature should reach 160 degrees F. when cooked.
4. While burgers are on the grill, core and cut the apple into 8 slices. Place two slices on the bottom bun. Add the cooked burgers and top them with the softened Brie. Add the top bun and enjoy!
Apron Strings Tip: Choose a 93% lean ground beef for the best results on this burger.
Firecracker Burgers with Cooling Lime Sauce
Don’t mess with perfection. This recipe is from the “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner” collection and I wouldn’t change a thing!
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
6 sesame seed sandwich rolls, split, toasted
1 c. mixed spring greens
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. Caribbean jerk seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 c. low-fat plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. grated lime peel
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Combine ground beef and seasoning ingredients in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into six 1/2-inch-thick patties.
2. Place patties on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8-to-10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 7-to-9 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160 degrees F., turning occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in small bowl; set aside.
4. Spread sauce on cut sides of rolls. Place one burger on bottom half of each roll; top evenly with spring greens. Close sandwiches.
Package these burgers up with a whole-wheat bun and top with tomato slices, red onion slices and lettuce leaves. I like the cremini mushrooms for this dish as they have a firmer texture and more intense flavor.
1 (8-oz.) container cremini mushrooms, stems removed
1 (4-oz.) container white button mushrooms, stems removed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 c. sweet yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, divided
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. lean ground beef or ground sirloin
2 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tsp. ketchup
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1. Put cremini and button mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Heat a large cast-iron skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat for three minutes. Add onion and garlic and sauté 3 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Then add mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a dash of black pepper to pan and stir together. Cook about 10 minutes stirring occasionally, liquid will evaporate. Remove mixture to a large bowl and cool completely.
2. Once mushroom mixture is cool, add the ground beef, remaining salt and a few dashes of black pepper. Stir gently until just combined. Divide mixture into four equal portions and shape into 1/2-inch-thick patties.
3. Heat grill to medium. Coat grill grate lightly with cooking spray. Grill, covered, 7-to-10 minutes turning half-way through. Internal temperature should reach 160 degrees F. when cooked.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard in a small bowl. Before adding the cooked patties, coat the buns with this mixture.