Saturday, 2 August 2014

Marvelous Burgers

    This is the time of year when the neighbourhood smells delicious (well sometimes).  When you are out for a walk and someone is barbecuing something that smells like heaven, and you're going home to left overs or Kraft Dinner.  For me it is a combined fantasy response to either diverting said neighbour's attention and then stealing their food, or casually walking over and kicking their barbecue over and then dousing it with the hose (o.k. I have a mean streak).  I guess what I am saying is that it is better to be the barbecuer with the awesome smelling food, than the person who wishes they could commit unneighbourly like acts.

    This summer Christopher and I have been struck by the barbecue bug.  Nearly every dinner has been cooked on the grill.  Part of this new found love is the discovery that I recently made, my "A Team" combo rub and sauce .  Even I have been getting in on the grilling action, and the barbecue has traditionally scared me (I'm afraid of getting burned).  Christopher has approached this new obsession of mine with a mixture of joy and irritation.  Traditionally the barbecue has been his domain.  I'm not sure why men feel so protective of their barbecues.  There are times he's out there blinded by smoke and I feel like I should be hearing caveman like grunting.  By doing the barbecue I am stepping on his masculine toes.  However, by barbecuing the food it allows him to eat as soon as he gets home from work, instead of having to start up the barbecue to cook dinner.  Do you see his confliction?

    One of the most favourite, if not "the most favourite" things to barbecue is hamburgers.  You will not find store bought pre-made hamburgers in our refrigerator.  I always question what is exactly in those burgers, and how much of it is really meat.  I make our own patties.  It's generally less expensive than those mystery meat frozen patties, and they taste so far superior.
    When I make hamburger patties I use regular ground beef.  For most things the logical choice for hamburger is the lean, but not for hamburgers.  The fat melts out of the burgers for the most part, and it makes them so moist.

Marvelous Burger Recipe

I always use the family size package of meat, because we have a large family to feed.  Sometimes I will mix in a small package of ground pork with the regular ground beef, just for a little added flavour.

 I mix in 1 egg, 1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 3 tbsp mustard, 2 tbsp ketchup, 1 tbsp horseradish (this seems like an odd ingredient but the horseradish acts like a natural meat tenderizer, and really amps up the flavour), 1/4 cup of the molasses barbecue sauce, and salt and pepper.  Mix this all really well, then form it into large balls.

Our family likes monster sized burgers, so I make my patties pretty big.  I start with a large ball of meat and then roll it around in my "rub".  I then press it down on my plate to form the patty.  The reason that I roll the meat in the rub is for two reasons.  The first is that the rub really boosts the flavours up.  The second is that the sugar in the rub seems to melt and creates a protective coating around the outside of the meat, locking in the moisture and juices.

When I put the patties on the grill I just let them cook a little while to really sear the rub on the outside.  I am always tempted to push down on the burger.  Somehow it makes it feel like I am speeding up the job (it doesn't).  This is a big NO NO, because every time you squish that burger down, you are squeezing all the moisture and juice out of that bad boy.  Trust me, you want to resist the urge to press down on that burger!  Half way through the cooking process I slather on my barbecue sauce.

    So there you have it, my secret recipe for marvelous burgers.  They are super easy to make, and so delicious to eat.  Just be prepared though, because when the neighbours smell you cooking these bad boys they are either going to invite themselves over for dinner, or distract you and steal you dinner!

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