The Cookstr 10: Ten Burger Recipes for Every Taste
Quick burger quiz: who said the following?
1) “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
2) “Anybody who doesn’t think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his home town is a sissy.”
3) “You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars.”
How’d you do? Boy, there’s not much that feels more all-American, and more summery, than a juicy burger, hot off the grill, served up with piles of toppings…and because you’re making them yourself, you can really have them your way. “Burger” once equaled beef in most corners of the country, but now “burger” equals anything that can be shaped into a patty, cooked, and slid between two halves of a bun (oh, and the bun is optional). Buffalo, turkey, tuna, beans, tofu…you name it, we’ll grill it.
Here are a few quick burger tips, which do pertain more to the meatier versions:
1. Handle the meat as little as possible as you form it into patties to preserve juiciness and texture.
2. If using meat, go for between 15 to 20 percent fat (in the beef world, chuck, round, or sirloin are the most popular burger cuts).
3. Keep the fire steady and moderate to cook the burgers through without charring the outsides.
4. Resist the urge to keep moving them around on the grill: flip them once, or twice; that’s how you prevent sticking and get nice grill marks.
5. Don’t press the burgers; keep the juice in the meat, not in the fire!
6. How you cook your burgers is up to you, but for the record, the U.S.D.A. recommends cooking ground beef to an internal temp of 160°F to prevent food-borne illnesses.
Answers: 1) Wimpy J. Wellington, Popeye’s friend; 2) Calvin Trillin, writer; 3) Charles Kuralt, journalist
1. Steven Raichlen’s The Great American Burger. Now, that’s what we’re talking about. Take a moment, choose some great beef (don’t skimp on the fat–there’s no point in a dry burger), and make yourself that big, fat burger you’ve been dreaming about all week. This is the quintessential hamburger. How you top it is up to you.
2. Steve Poses’ Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Sour Cream. If you think turkey burgers aren’t your thing, then you may well have been the unfair victim of D.T.B.S. (Dry Turkey Burger Syndrome). This burger will fix you right up: moist and juicy, and all jacked up with cumin, chili powder and cilantro, and a finishing creamy and spicy sauce. We’ll let bygones be bygones.
3. Matt and Ted Lee’s Shrimp Burger. Shrimp burgers are the proud progeny of many Southern shrimping towns, especially in the Carolinas. This one is chunky, and the surprising zing comes from lemon zest and ginger, and then a bit of corn comes into play for awesome texture and sweetness.
4. Terry Golson’s Tofu Burgers. The burger has morphed and evolved, and we are all the better for it. Those of us who choose to skip meat or eat it less frequently should not, repeat NOT, be deprived of the “My ’tis of thee” of our country’s culinary pantheon, just ’cause we’re not eating beef today. Here’s to you, tofu.
5. Marcus Samuelsson’s Buffalo Burger with Spicy Ketchup. Buffalo meat has risen in both popularity and availability over the years, which is almost ironic, given its long “Oh, give me a home” history in our country. In this burger, lean buffalo is mixed with flank steak to ensure juiciness, with a little cheese for good measure. Then the whole thing turns into an über-burger of sorts with toppings of crunchy cabbage, a runny fried egg, and some spicy ketchup.
6. Sally Sampson’s Caramelized Onion and Chickpea Burgers. Beans in burger form work well on many levels. They have substance and texture, are filled with protein, and offer up the satisfaction that make burgers so great. A little tahini (sesame paste), cilantro, rosemary and lemon complement the sweet onions as seasoning.
7. Jane Butel’s Southwestern Burgers . Everything you love about Southwestern food meets up with a big honking burger. The burgers themselves are pretty straightforward…it’s what happens to them once they are cooked that sends them careening towards the Southwest. We’re talking your ideal medley of green chilies, cheddar, Monterey Jack, guacamole, refried beans, and even some crushed corn chips and bacon, just because you feel like it.
8. Mark Bittman’s Lamburgers with Smoked Mozzarella. Lamb is another great meat to feature in grilled patty form. And here’s what’s extra special about these two-ingredient (wow!) burgers: inside each one is a warm, melty nugget of smoked mozzarella.
9. Andrew Schloss’s Great Burgers. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a basic hamburger, but there’s also nothing wrong with playing around with your basic hamburger all summer long. Try some of these variations–Peppercorn Burgers, Cajun Burgers, Apple and Sage Burgers, Blue Cheese Burgers–and keep going until you find your favorite.
10. George Geary’s Homemade Ketchup. Ever thought about making your own ketchup? Frankly we really didn’t either, but once we did, it sounded pretty cool, and it turns out, it’s also pretty simple. Talk about a homemade burger!