Kamado Joe "MoJoe" Newscast April 2013  

Kamado Joe Company
2865 N Berkeley Lake Rd
Duluth, GA 30096
(877) 215-6299

    
 
  
 

A Guide to Making a Better Burger

Gourmet hamburgers at home.
Summer is almost here and that means hamburgers on the grill. With over 14 billion consumed in the U.S. each year, the hamburger is a culinary icon in the United States and around the world. While many claim to have invented the hamburger, it remains one of the most creative and versatile foods when it comes to the number of trimmings and price. Spend as little as 99¢ at a fast food restaurant or over $40 for a gourmet hamburger at a high-end restaurant. In this issue of MoJoe, we’ve put together everything you need to know to make juicy and delicious hamburgers at home.


10 Tips for Making Great Burgers
#1 Choose the Right Hamburger Blend
Beef hamburger is available in a variety of meat and fat blends. Choose the freshest meat with a fat content between 15 and 30%. Ground beef (30%), ground chuck (20%) or ground sirloin (15%) are your best choices. Avoid extra lean blends or ground round (10%) because the burger will be dryer and not hold together as well when cooking. Even if you are watching your weight a good amount of the fat will drip out of the hamburger during grilling. A 6 ounce hamburger weighs in at around 450 calories.

#2 Create a Consistent Shape
You don’t need a $20 hamburger press to make a round hamburger with a consistent thickness; the answer is in your kitchen. Use any large plastic lid that is at least 4” in diameter (a lid from a large peanut butter jar works well) and make the burgers ¾” thick. Just place some clear wrap over the bottom of the lid and press the hamburger into it. Lift the wrap to remove the hamburger.

#3 Make Them the Right Size
Fresh hamburger patties should be about 6 ounces per patty. 2¼ lbs of hamburger will yield 6 patties. They may look large, but a good way to gauge the shrinkage of your final burger is to subtract 5% from the total fat content percentage. For example, a ground beef patty (30%) will shrink about 25% and ground chuck (20%) about 15%.

#4 Make a Dimple
When hamburgers are grilled the moisture in the meat is forced to the center of the burger, which causes it to plump up in the middle. To avoid this, create a large depression or “dimple” a third of the thickness of the burger and about the size of a half dollar.

#5 Add an Egg and Season
Adding an egg works as a binding agent to hold the hamburger together better when cooking, and it helps in forming the patties. Add salt, fresh ground pepper, minced onions, or minced garlic to enhance the natural flavor of your burgers. If you like a little heat, add cayenne pepper or crushed red peppers to the mixture.

#6
Mix, Not Over Mix
To mix extra ingredients into your hamburger meat, break the meat apart in six pieces per pound. Gently mix the ingredients with your hands while the hamburger is cold. Avoid over mixing because it destroy the natural texture of the hamburger and reduce the juiciness. You want to clearly see the milky white fat pieces and red meat pieces.

#7 Use Fresh Meat and Keep it Cold
Fresh beef hamburger will be bright red and should be refrigerated at least one hour before cooking, then placed directly on the grill. Refrigeration keeps the meat firm and allows it to set properly when heated. Avoid thawing frozen hamburger meat in a microwave or in warm water prior to grilling. Thawing causes the fat in the hamburger to liquefy and be absorbed by the meat fibers. This causes burgers to fall apart.

#8 Use High Heat
You want a nicely browned and mildly charred hamburger for the best flavor. Grill with direct heat at 400°F (205°C) and grill each side 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness and desired doneness. A pen thermometer comes in handy if you need a variety of doneness. The USDA recommends that ground beef be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F to prevent the possibility of food-borne illness. However, if you like your hamburger on the pink or slightly pink side, grill to 140°F (60°C) for medium and 150°F (66°C) for medium-well.

#9 Avoid the “Press and Flip”
Unless you are a short order cook, there is no need to play with your burgers while they cook. Pressing and flipping them repeatedly will force out the nature moisture in the meat. Fully cook one side, then flip just once before removing them from the grill.

#10 Give It a Rest
A grilled hamburger will have a lot of natural moisture, so it needs 2-3 minutes off the grill for the moisture to redistribute evenly throughout the meat.


Upgrade to a Better Bun, Make It Yourself, But be Sure to Toast It

Better Buns
A bakery style bun not only holds up better against a juicy hamburger it adds a complimentary flavor to the beef. Instead of grabbing an eight-pack of factory made hamburger buns try one of these hearty buns:
Kaiser, onion, cheese, poppy seed, French, and sour dough.




Make it Yourself
Smitten Kitchen answers the question, why I would go to the trouble to make hamburger buns at home? Only if you are looking for an excellent hamburger bun and the satisfaction of making them yourself. Check out this simple recipe for making light brioche hamburger buns. I made them for the burger recipes below and they are excellent.   See the Recipe >

Toast Your Buns
Toasting hamburger buns adds higher flavor and texture to your hamburger creation. There are a number of ways to toast hamburger buns: toaster oven, broiler, stove top in a pan, on a griddle, or on the grill. Whatever method you choose, use a few tablespoons of melted butter and baste the cut sides making sure they are covered all the way to the ends to prevent burning. I prefer the kitchen methods rather than placing them on the grill, because they are easier to monitor, they warm thoroughly and there is less of a chance of burning. If you plan to toast them on the grill, set them as far away from the direct heat as possible and check them every 10-15 seconds.


   
 
The All-American Burger
Servings: 6
(1½ lbs. hambur ger serves 4, use 1 egg)

Printable Version of Recipe >


Ingredients
2¼ lb. ground chuck or ground sirloin
2 eggs
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 slices cheddar cheese (medium, sharp, extra sharp)

3 tbsp butter (for toasting buns)

Serving Ingredients
6 hamburger buns (split and toasted)
2 large red tomatoes (sliced)
1 large sweet or yellow onion (sliced)
Iceberg lettuce (torn)
6 sliced kosher pickles (Claussen Pickles are excellent)
Condiments: ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish


Directions
In a small mixing bowl, add the eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and whisk until thoroughly mixed. In large bowl, loosely break apart the hamburger and add the egg mixture. Mix together, but do not over mix (see tip #6). Divide the hamburger into 6 equal portions. Form each portion into a 3/4” thick patties (see tip #2) and make a dimple (see tip #4). Salt and pepper both sides of each burger patty (optional). Place them on a large plate, cover with clear wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before grilling.


While the hamburger are chilling, slice the tomatoes and onion and tear off enough lettuce leaves for each burger. Place all the items on a plate and refrigerate. Slice the buns, melt the butter and baste the cut sides making sure they are fully covered with the liquefied butter. See the instructions and optio ns for toasting hamburger buns above.

Heat the grill to 400°F (205°C) and place the hamburger patties directly on the grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip once. Begin toasting the buns and cook the burgers another 3-4 minutes (use a pen thermometer to check for doneness), then place a slice of cheese on each burger. Cook 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove the burgers from the grill and allow them to rest 2-3 minutes (see tip #10). Place the burgers on the toasted bun bottoms with the servings.
Add the bun tops and serve with a pickle.
 
Wild Mushroom & Cheddar Burger
Servings: 6
(1½ lbs. hamburger serves 4, use 1 egg)


Printable Version of Recipe >


Ingredients
2¼ lb. ground chuck or ground sirloin
2 eggs (add to fresh hamburger and mix)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
16 oz. mushrooms: cremini, porcini, portobello, lobster, chanterelles, stemmed shiitakes (finely chopped)
2 tbsp butter or olive oil (for sautéing mushrooms)
2 tbsp butter (for toasting buns)
6 slices cheddar cheese (medium, sharp, extra sharp)

3 tbsp butter (for toasting buns)

Serving Ingredients
6 hamburger buns (split and toasted)
6 sliced kosher pickles (Claussen Pickles are excellent)


Directions
In a small mixing bowl, add the eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and whisk until thoroughly mixed. In large bowl, loosely break apart the hamburger and add the egg mixture. Mix together, but do not over mix (see tip #6). Divide the hamburger into 6 equal portions. Form each portion into a 3/4” thick patties (see tip #2) and make a dimple (see tip #4). Salt and pepper both sides of each burger patty (optional). Place them on a large plate, cover with clear wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before grilling.

While the hamburger are chilling, heat the olive oil or butter in a large pan over medium to high heat. Preheat the pan for 3 minutes, then add the chopped mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, stirring and turning regularly uncovered for 10 minutes or until they are browned and soft. Turn off the stove and cover to keep warm. Slice the buns, melt the butter and baste the cut sides making sure they are fully covered with the liquefied butter. See the instructions and options for toasting hamburger buns above.

Heat the grill to 400°F (205°C) and place the hamburger patties directly on the grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip once. Begin toasting the buns, reheat the mushrooms on low and cook the burgers another 3-4 minutes (use a pen thermometer to check for doneness), then place a slice of cheese on each burger. Cook 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove the burgers from the grill and allow them to rest 2-3 minutes (see tip #10). Place the burgers on the toasted bun bottoms and top each burger with an equal amount of the chopped mushrooms. Add the bun tops and serve with a pickle.

Alder Planked Burger with Bacon & Provolone
Servings: 6
(1½ lbs. hamburger serves 4, use 1 egg)
* Requires 2 Alder planks


Printable Version of Recipe >


Ingredients
2¼ lb. ground chuck or ground sirloin
2 eggs
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
9 slices of bacon
6 slices provolone cheese
3 tbsp butter (for toasting buns)


Serving Ingredients
6 hamburger buns (split and toasted)
1 red onion
6 sliced kosher pickles (Claussen Pickles are excellent)


Directions
In a small mixing bowl, add the eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and whisk until thoroughly mixed. In large bowl, loosely break apart the hamburger and add the egg mixture. mix together, but do not over mix (see tip #6). Divide the hamburger into 6 equal portions. Form each portion into a 3/4” thick patties (see tip #2) and make a dimple (see tip #4). Salt and pepper both sides of each burger patty (optional). Place them on a large plate, cover with clear wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before grilling. Soak the Alder planks in water for 1 hour.

While the hamburger are chilling, slice the red onion, place on a plate and refrigerate. In a large pan over medium heat, cook the bacon slices until the desired crispness is reached and wrap in a double-wrapped paper towel to absorb excess fat and to keep warm. Slice the buns, melt the butter and baste the cut sides making sure they are fully covered with the liquefied butter. See the instructions and options for toasting hamburger buns above.

Heat the grill to 400°F (205°C) and place the hamburgers on the grill and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the hamburgers and cook another 3 minutes. Set the Alder planks next to the grill and place the burgers on them (3 to a plank). Place the planks with the burgers back on the grill. Begin toasting the buns and cook the burgers 8-10 minutes (use a pen thermometer to check for doneness). Place a slice of cheese on each burger. Cook 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Remove the burgers from the grill and allow them to rest 2-3 minutes (see tip #10). Place the burgers on the toasted bun bottoms. Break the bacon slices in half and top each burger with 3 pieces.
Add the bun tops and serve with a pickle.



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