Anytime you have the grill fired up is the right time to break out the hamburger recipes. These burger cooking tips will help you make legendary hamburgers.
Grill Your Way to Burger Master
At its most basic, a hamburger is a patty of meat, grilled or fried, and served on a bun. But a burger is more than this basic description--it is the great American meal in a single handheld conveyance.
The hamburger sandwich was invented, by all accounts, sometime in the late 1880s. Some people say that the original hamburger sandwich was invented in Hamburg, New York. That would explain the name. But as one travels across the United States, it is inevitable to run across a stand or two in every town that claims to have invented the hamburger.
What makes the hamburger sandwich the all-American meal is that, while the idea is basic, the interpretation of the concept is different from region, state, city, town, and even from person to person.
Hamburger recipes can be standardized, like the burgers you get at the chain restaurants, personalized, like the burgers you get at the local mom-and-pop burger stand, or like the burger you make for yourself. To start at the very beginning, a basic hamburger recipe can be as simple as:
- 1 pound of ground beef (ground round works well)
- 1 small onion grated fine (I like red onions)
- Mix well and form into 6 to 8 ounce patties.
- Grill or fry until done.
To this basic burger, you can add:
- ¼ cup of bread crumbs (less if you like, but not more)
- 1 beaten egg
Adding these ingredients will add body and texture to your burger.
You might also want to consider adding a pinch or two of any of the following herbs and spices:
- Italian herb mix
In fact, any herb or spice that you happen to like can be added to your burger mix.
I once had a burger in Athens, Greece, that had cinnamon, nutmeg, and a spice that I could not place in the patty, which was a combination of lamb and beef. It was served with feta cheese, red onions, a side of fries, and a red sauce that wasn't quite not ketchup. It also came with a very cold Greek beer.
While we are on the subject of toppings, you can top your burger with anything you like. I have seen and enjoyed burgers topped with everything from blue cheese to Swiss cheese and pineapple to black olives and anchovies.
Ketchup is a good sauce for your burger, but try adding a bit of mayo to make a thousand island secret sauce. Barbeque sauce is also a good touch.
How to Stuff a Wild Burger
Just when you start to think that you've tried every combination of topping that could be perched on top of a burger, it's time to go deeper...into the burger itself.
To stuff a burger is easier than you think. When you are forming the patties, rather than make one patty from the 8 ounces of meat, make two thinner patties. Place your stuffing in the center of the patty and top with another thin patty. Press the edges together and let the burger rest for a bit in the fridge. Then cook as usual.
Some ideas for burger stuffing include:
- Blue cheese
- Feta cheese
- Shredded Cheddar mixed with crumbled bacon
Don't be afraid to experiment with your own ideas of toppings and stuffing.
As far as what you serve the burger on, I like my burgers served on soft, sweet rolls or a Kaiser roll, but the traditional patty melt is served on rye toast and some people who are avoiding carbs will just eat the burger with a knife and fork.
As you try various hamburger recipes, be sure to keep track of your favorites but always keep an eye to the horizon and the next strange idea, which may just end up being your all time favorite. Remember that all the archival recipes for the hamburger sandwich from the 1880s included coffee and brown sugar. That would be brewed coffee, not coffee grinds. Just like another great American invention, jazz, there are no mistakes in hamburgers, just variations.