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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beefy Burgers! The 3 B's of Great Grilled Burgers

BOND with Your Burger: Get to Know Your Beef

  • Juicy burgers are made from 80% lean ground CHUCK. In the case of grilled burgers, fat definitely equals flavor! And because ground chuck comes from the shoulder of the beef, it's got flavor like no other. Most of the fat from ground chuck drips away as your burgers grill, causing flare ups for added charring.

  • Season! Season! Season! Add salt and pepper, woozy, beef broth or wine to give added flavor to your ground chuck before building your patties.

  • Gain moisture in your burgers by sneaking in finely grated onions or zucchini (or any veggie with a high water content) to your ground chuck. Your kids will never even notice!
BABY Your Burger: Be Gentle with Your Beef

  • Use lots of TLC when building your patties. Don't pack your ground beef too tightly or over work it.

  • 3/4 inch patties are the ideal thickness for grilling to the perfect temperature.

  • Gently make in indention on the top of each burger. This keeps the burgers from "puffing" as your grill them.

  • Only flip your burgers ONCE. This is often difficult for grillers to do as they seem to want to "play" with their food. Leave that burger on the grill until it's READY to flip. You'll know it's ready when it no longer sticks to the grates. Test the edge of each burger with your spatula to check.

  • NEVER EVER press down on your burgers with your spatula!! Precious juices are lost forver when this technique is applied.
BUILD Your Burger: Create Flavor Layers for the Perfect Ending

  • A good grilled burger deserves great "accessories" piled high to complete it. Use flavorful condiments: zesty mayos, whole grain mustards, homegrown tomato slices, caramelized onions, ripe avocado slices, strong cheeses, crispy slices of bacon, fresh spinach or arugula - the options are endless!

  • Always toast your buns or bread on the grill to warm and mark them - more added flavor for your burger.

Now to the grill:
  • Grill over direct heat: 450 - 500 degrees F.

  • Always preheat your grill. Once preheated, use a wire brush to quickly clean the grates.

  • Oil the grates.

  • Grill your burgers covered: 8-10 minutes for medium doneness, 10-11 minutes for medium well doneness.

  • Practice Sideways Safety! To test burgers for doneness at the center, insert an instant-read thermometer into each burger from the side - this works much better than inserting from the top! A safe internal temperature for a burger is 160 degrees F.
Chef Alli's Outside-In Beefy Brie Burgers
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck

  • 3 Tbs. fine dry bread crumbs

  • 3 Tbs. strong beef broth

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 oz. brie cheese

  • 4 hamburger buns

  • 1/3 cup zesty brown mustard

  • 2 cups baby arugula or spinach
In a large saute pan over medium heat, cmobine onions with evoo, vinegar, and sugar; cover pan and cook slowly until onions are softened and golden brown, approx. 20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill for direct cooking over high heat. In a large mixing bowl, gently combine ground chuck with bread crumbs, broth, salt and pepper; shape this mixture into four patties of equal size and thickness, making a hole in the center of each patty for the cheese. Trim the rind from the brie cheese and cut into four equal portions; nestle each piece of brie into the hold in each burger, sealing each burger tightly around the brie.

Brush grill clean with wire brush, then oil the grates. Grill patties over direct high heat, covered with lid, 8-10 minutes, to medium doneness. Flip burgers when they easily release from the grates without sticking. Toast buns during the last few minutes of cooking time. Assemble warm burgers with caramelized onions, mustard and arugula or spinach piled high. Serve at once.

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli