Saturday, August 6, 2011

BURGERS: got the perfect one?

What is the PERFECT HAMBURGER in your opinion?  Friends barbecued burgers for us out on the deck Friday in Venice, California, overlooking their canal...ducks going buy, picture-perfect weather; and FABULOUS burgers (to say nothing of the excellent company).  As I ate the burger, I realized it was as pink as I personally like inside, but without that 'soft and kind of uncooked feeling' inside like a rare burger sometimes is, and gorgeously charred on the outside, so I asked my friend what he did.  A big smile crossed his and his wife's faces "You noticed!" they said, "the trick is to put them on the grill frozen and don't buy the meat too lean because the fat cooks off into the coals, anyway, and emits that gorgeous flame that charbroils the burger so well.   I'm telling you, they were PERFECTION.

Do you have a special way of preparing them?  And what do you like on them?  Ours yesterday had melted cheese and we all used catsup, S&P, and that was IT.  They were THAT good. (and one MUST put the buns on the grill just for a little grill marking and heat as my host did...perfection)


Leticia said...

I am not a huge fan of red meat but I do happen to enjoy burgers on a grill. I Love mixing fresh bell peppers in the meat, Cavendars seasoning, onion and just mix it well. Then pop it on the grill.

Yummy! No pink meat for me, though.

Have a blessed weekend!

Brooke said...

Lean hamburger, about 1/12 lbs. 85% or 90%, but you can use 80%. Anything less lean will be gross.

OK, now 2-4 tbs of worsheschire (I know I spelled that wrong, I can't pronounce it, either.) sauce in a med/lg bowl, and one packet of onion soup mix, powdered.

Mix it all together and grill, and I would use only pickles as a condiment. Ketchup, mustard, mayo, ect will ruin the taste.

If you want to go all out, toast the buns, which is super good!

Always On Watch said...

I use Montreal Steak Seasoning -- but not too much because it contains salt -- on gourmet burgers that I buy at Omaha Steaks. Yes, these burgers are expensive, but I always buy them on sale; I find the quality much superior to what I typically find in the grocery store.

When I first put the burger in the pan or on the grill, I press my thumb down hard in the raw meat and create "thumb burgers." That thumbprint makes the burgers most juicy, IMO.

I serve my hamburgers on Pepperidge Farm Onion Sandwich rolls.

No rare beef in this house!

Z said...

Leticia, thanks...I've got to look up Cavenders Seasoning...Mom used to finely chop onions and bell peppers and tomatoes and add them to her burgers and they ARE delicious that way, for sure. I do mostly Turkey for myself, I have to admit.'s a MUST if you're grilling to throw the buns on for a while, I agree! As much as it's a must to steam the buns resting them on a strainer over the boiling hot dogs just before you serve! mmmm

I do the onion soup mix in my meatloaf...LOVE that. And I have to admit I like pickles but I do like me some catsup!! :-) And even Thousand Island is good on burgers.

Always On Watch said...

I eat my burgers plain most of the time as I find that the Montreal Steak Seasoning adds all that I want. I will sometimes spread a bit of mayo on the hamburger roll. I can't tolerate raw onion anymore. **sigh**

Mr. AOW uses mayo, ketchup, and a slice of Vidalia onion -- with a slice of tomato on the side. But only if tomatoes are in season!

Z said...

AOW, that THUMBPRINT idea is a very interesting one and kind of makes sense! I've got to try that, thanks! I like most buns but they can be too doughy if not quickly grilled before serving. Also, it doesn't hurt to put a little butter on those buns before throwing them on the grill!! Tho I have to admit I'm usually more health-disciplined than THAT! :-)

Z said...

by the way, I have to look up that MOntreal seasoning...had you heard of Leticia's seasoning? Going to look that up now. xx

Z said...

Ingredients of Cavender (Greek)seasoning:
salt, black pepper, corn startch, garlic, monosodium glutimate, oregano, flavor base seasoning (hydrolized corn soy protein, sugar, onion powder, spice extractives), parsley, and five other spices...

I'll bet throwing some feta cheese into the meat would be good, too!!

Z said...

Montreal Steak Seasoning recipe: (Never use garlic SALT, by the way, folks..this recipe is SO RIGHT!)

* 2 teaspoons california garlic powder (probably any garlic powder, not garlic salt, will do)
* 4 teaspoons coarsely ground coriander seeds
* 2 tablespoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
* 4 teaspoons dill weed
* 4 teaspoons paprika
* 4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)
* 4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper (coarse)

Read more:

Z said... the way, I'm all for the leaner meats for health, but grilling really does melt off the fat and, as my host yesterday (the wonderful Orson Bean, bless him!) said, the fire created by the fat as it drips down makes for that delicious charring on the outside while keeping it as pink as you like inside..........

Ticker said...

I use 80/20 or 80/15 (lean to fat ration) fresh ground beef. As far as additions I guess I am old fashion but I stick with a little salt and pepper, nothing more. I have the gas grill hot and on high when I place the burgers on the grill. Watch them very carefully and as soon as they are brown on one side flip them and do the same. Cut the flame down to low, flip once again , close the grill and allow to slowly cook and continue to char the outside. The burgers will come off the grill charred to perfection, slightly pink in the middle and ready for adding the condiments of Lettuce, Tomato, mayo, mustard, pickles, and of course vidalia onion , sliced or chopped. for those who like their meat a bit more rare, take the patties off shortly after lowering the flame. Time is not something I keep up with when grilling. I just have a feel as to when they are ready to take off and eat. Use your grilling fork to turn the center portion a bit to see just how rare or done your burgers are.

Yes, I do use Worcestershire sauce occasionally or Chicago Steak Seasoning, Kansas City Steak Seasoning is good as well. I have used Cavenders and it also makes fora good taste if you want something other than just plain old fashion grilled burger flavor. To me the old fashion way can't be beat.

Ticker said...

Just as a note, If you like a little Southwestern flavor for your burgers then use a small can of Market Pantry®(Target Brand) Mild Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles - 10 oz.(other store brands will work as well), well drained and mixed in with the ground beef before you make the patties. It has just a bit of spicy flavor but not a harsh, hot bite . If you like yours spicier then use the HOT rather than mild.
I used this on a couple of occasions and folks seemed to like the change of pace and flavor.

Z said...

Ticker, thanks, and thanks for coming by.
I know some people cut into the burgers, or steaks, to see if they're done, and all that beautiful juice drips out!
I like your advice re the cooking, that charred outside can't be beat. Did you read Orson Bean's method in my post? What'd you think!? xx

Z said...

This is from an email from our friend SilverLady:

I grind all my own meat in the processor. Have for years, I know what i'm getting. I just did a batch of venison for 'burgers with some EVOO, since I trim all fat that I can, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire, garlic salt, pepper, & some green olives. Sometimes I add in a scallion, but didn't have any. I'm spoiled. When the meat is about half-ground I add the additional ingredients. When I'm finished it's ready to use. Handling the ground meat makes for tough, packy 'burgers or meatballs.

Trestin said...

The burger place here on base has a cook who always burns the burgers, yet somehow they are still pink in the middle.

Pris said...

I buy only ground sirloin, 7% fat. We like our patties thin. We're not fancy, I like my burgers with tomato, cheese, lettuce, and a couple of rings of raw onions. Mr. Pris, without onion.

If cooking inside, I grill the buns in butter, then, Thousand Island spread for Mr. Pris, and mayo for me.

Sometimes I make bacon burgers. Yum.

Z said...

Trestin, that was what was so good about my friend's inside but not 'textured to where you feel it's not cooked'..and perfectly charred on the outside.

Pris......we forgot the bacon in all these comments. I don't often have it (unless Mr Z's son is here and he lives on Burger King's big burgerwith the bacon and cheese, then I have at least an 1/8 of his...he always gets himself two) but it can be very good!

Ducky's here said...

Veggie burger with mushrooms, lettuce and some fresh picked tomato.

Keep it simple. Serve with sweet potato fries and a Belgian wheat beer.

beakerkin said...

Veggie Burger send that bird ti Gitmo to watch Yentyl for a week.

Actually this is so simple it is easy

1 Lean ground meat
2 Onion Soup mix
3 crushed garlic
4 Stubs BBQ plus a touch of honey and lemon
5 cook over charcoal with some wood chips preferably Maple, if you can find mesquite even better.

Place on Portuguese Roll with sliced barrel pickles, grilled onions and smoked mozzarella an d sun dried tomatoes.

Z said...

Beak, that sounds FABULOUS!

But, that line about Gitmo people watching Yentel about did me in :-) THAT is FUNNY!

beakerkin said...


That line is part of my running joke about non violent ways to annoy homicidal jihadis with the Beakerkin film festival and concert series

Maybe we should come up with a list of films and acts that would annoy Jihadis and Marxists

1) Yentyl
2) Brokeback Mountain
3) Exodus
4) Invasion USA
5) The Ten Commandments
6) Shampoo
7) Fiddler on the Roof
8) Invasion USA
9) Big Jim Mclain
10) The Frisco Kid

Our concert series would have

1) Queen
2) The Village People
3) AC DC
4) Charlie Daniels
5) Kenny Rodgers
6) Ted Nugent
7) Los Strait Jackets
8) Donny Osmond
9) Rush
10) Sha Na Na

Z said...

Beak! What a fabulous blog idea! You made me laugh out loud! "Ted Nugent" :-) "The Village People" "Queen!" !!!
"FIDDLER!" but "Yentel" just killed me for some reason!!

I'm with you on the veggie burger thing. I've eaten some I liked but I was surprised anybody who only eats them wouldn't qualify it immediately with what's in it, most of my vegetarian friends do mention "but mine have... in them" because there are SUCH really vile tasting veggie burgers out there.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Thin and flat hamburger patties are HISTORY.

That said, it excludes those persons who like their hamburgers well done. I grew up in a house where everything was torched to the point of black shoe leather.

As a result, you can pass the bulk of my meat products through a warm kitchen once.

I like a THICK PATTY, and a LARGE patty, done RARE.

With CHEESE, of course.

But the bun has to be FRESH. Very FRESH! The importance of the bun cannot be underestimated.


Z said...

BZ, the importance of quickly grilling the bread can't be underestimated: To me, without doing that, the heat of the burger's superfluous and the bread always tastes slightly too doughy no matter how good the bun is.

I like any thickness of burger.
My poor dad used to grill us big, fat burgers as a kid (his dad was in the meat business) and we'd all ask for those horribly REALLY thin burgers like at elementary school! Kids! :-) And THEY probably had a bunch of oatmeal additives in the meat! Poor Dad!

Lisa said...

Grilled of course. I also enjoy Trader Joe's Grilled Chicken Burgers.
Any burger can be kicked up a notch with an added chipolte in adobe sauce like we had when we ate at Bobby's Burger Palace(Bobby Flay's that is)here in NY.
Ever since we asked them for the recipe I use it for burgers and for dipping fries into.
They were more than happy to give us the recipe:

Chipoltes in Adobe Sauce(chopped)
Chopped Pimentos
Garlic Powder

Z said...

YOU HAVE GONE TO A FLAY RESTAURANT, LISA? Heavenly! How lucky for you. I think he's a fabulous cook...tho a little 'mean' on Next Food Network Star :-) (as is Giada, in my opinion!)
thanks for that recipe...very cool that they'd give it to you!

Lisa said...

It's not the fancy one in NY City Z which is still on my Bucket List. He opened a Burger only resturaunt literally 5 minutes from my house outside the Shopping Mall. He was there a few times with his wife from Law and Order.

Z said...

I didn't know that, LIsa...thanks for the link. I'm DROOLING reading the menu!!! I didn't know his wife's an actress; I've seen her on his show but didn't know that! They have no kids, right?

Lisa said...

I don't think they do. I don't think they were married long. She used to play Alex the ADA but she no longer is on the show.