Burgers are having their moment. The popularity of patties sandwiched inside buns is soaring, with burger joints opening all over. But you don’t have to fight crowds or stand in long lines to enjoy this typical American meal. Burgers are easy to make at home and great for entertaining, especially well-suited for large groups gathering on the holiday weekend. Light the grill on Memorial Day and you’ve officially welcomed summer, whatever the temperature.
Under the burger umbrella are a dizzying array of patties on a wide range of buns. For most of us, a burger is the ultimate comfort food, whether it’s made of beef, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables, grains, or some combination. Dress it up or keep it simple. Do what you’re in the mood for.
We recommend separating the burger mixture into even portions and rolling them into loose balls. Pat and shape into rounds that are about ½-inch thick without packing them too tight. Using two fingers, make a dimple in the center of each one, about ¼-inch deep and 1-inch wide. This will ensure that the burger does not puff up like a meatball while cooking.
There are two ways we like to cook burgers: on a griddle or skillet or over a wood and charcoal grill. The high heat they yield creates a superior Maillard reaction, resulting in a crunchy, caramelized sear. We know that not everybody sees it our way (especially those who have used electric or gas grills for years), but we think these two methods produce the best burgers.
For anyone looking for something a little different, we offer burgers made with ground turkey or beets. Add dill mayo and fire the holiday grill.
Excerpted from “Wicked Good Burgers: Fearless Recipes and Uncompromising Techniques for the Ultimate Patty” by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart, and
Andrea Pyenson (Fair Winds Press).