Tuesday, September 25, 2018


How to make your burger better

  • COL-LOGO-Thomas-Janelle-1col-CL-jpg-18

A small Outagamie County city not too far from Green Bay claims to be the birthplace of the hamburger, and its creator, Hamburger Charlie, is remembered with a community statue in his likeness and an annual celebration 30 years running. At this year’s recent festival, organizers served up a 190-pound burger. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

If you missed the big burger and the festivities in Seymour, that’s all right, because you can still celebrate the hamburger by grilling up your own juicy patty.

While grilling a burger may not be difficult for most, there are a few tips that will ensure you have the best burgers possible. First, for the best results, choose fresh, ground chuck that is 20 percent fat. If possible, ask the butcher in the meat department to “coarse grind” it for you.

When making the patties, don’t handle it any more than necessary. The heat from your hands will make the fat melt, leaving your hands coated with fat that should be in the burger. Loosely flip the burger from hand to hand just enough to form a patty that is no more than 1-inch thick.

Heat the grill to 400 degrees. Put an indention in each burger with your thumb before placing it on the grill. This will prevent the burgers from puffing up during cooking. Once burgers are on the grill, don’t be in a hurry to flip them.

Wait until you see liquid pooling on the top. If they don’t want to release freely from the grill with the spatula, wait another minute or so and they should release. On average, burgers will take 3 to 4 minutes per side, but that varies greatly with grills and grill temperatures.

Do not press the burgers down with the spatula while grilling. This causes juices to be squeezed out, leaving the burger dry. Ground beef is considered done at 165 degrees. Burgers will continue cooking once removed from the grill, so plan accordingly and use a meat thermometer.

There are a number of ways to add additional flavor to hamburgers. Keep it simple with salt and pepper, or consider adding finely minced vegetables to the ground meat such as mushrooms, onions or chilies. Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce are also popular add-ins.

Once the burgers are done grilling, there comes a whole other art in building the perfect burger. The topping possibilities and combinations are endless. One sure way to put some unexpected spark onto a burger is with a special sauce. A quick internet search will lead you to an array of special sauce recipe options. Find one that makes your mouth water and turns that average burger into an amazing one.

Thomas can be reached at janellethomas@charter.net.


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