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Fire up the grill, and get ready to sink your teeth into the most requested fare of the season. Nothing says summer like a perfectly grilled burger. Perhaps you've been disappointed in your previous attempts to be crowned the king of the grill. Never fear. Learn how to make the best burger by following these step-by-step directions.
1. Start by Choosing Grade A Meat
Tastes vary, but most burger lovers enjoy a blend of ground sirloin and chuck. Look for 15-to-20 percent fat content to assure the burger won't dry out on the grill. Ask a butcher to grind the meat rather than using prepackaged options, which may have sat on the shelf for days.
2. Choose Your Seasonings
You can get creative with burger seasonings, but the key is to use the freshest ingredients. Take time to mince fresh garlic and onion. Invest in sea salt and pepper grinders. If you do use dry seasonings, make sure you rub them between your fingers before adding to the beef. The oil on your fingers will increase the potency of the herbs.
3. Prepare the Grill
Everyone agrees that charcoal gives the best flavor to any grilled meat. Some gas grill owners use a variety of wood chips to give the meat more flavor, but it's hard to replicate the smoky flavor that comes from charcoal grilling. Use a soft cloth and a little vegetable oil to coat the grates and remove any food remnants. Preheat your grill while you prepare the burger patties. Note that charcoal fires take approximately 15 minutes to reach the ideal grilling temperature.
4. Use a Tried and True Recipe
Combine the meat and your preferred seasonings into a large mixing bowl. If your burgers didn't receive rave reviews last year, try this basic crowd-pleasing mixture.
1 1/2 pounds of beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Colby cheese
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Barbecue sauce (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, then form four loosely packed patties. Add the burgers to the grill and lightly season with salt and pepper. Leave space on the grill to toast the burger buns.
For a medium rare burger, grill both sides for 4-5 minutes. If you enjoy barbecue sauce, brush it on halfway through the cooking process. Promptly cover the burgers with aluminum foil after you’ve removed them from the fire.
Toast the buns for 1 minute. For even more flavor, try lightly buttering the buns or rolls before placing them on the grill.
5. Customize Your Burger
The easiest way to please a crowd at your next backyard barbecue is to lay out an assortment of burger toppings, condiments and rolls. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, these additions can take any burger to the next level.
- A Taste of the Islands: Serve pineapple slices that were marinated in teriyaki sauce and lightly grilled, lettuce, onion, fully cooked bacon and Swiss cheese.
- Cajun Choice: Serve onion slices that have been dipped in olive oil, covered in blackening spice mix and grilled until tender. Serve with warm barbecue sauce.
- Mediterranean Flair: Serve sliced tomato and a jar of olive tapenade.
- Sweet and Spicy: Serve a pineapple-jalapeno relish made with 1 cup of fresh, chopped pineapple, 1/2 chopped jalapeno, one teaspoon of fresh lime juice and a pinch of kosher salt.
- California Classic: Serve sliced avocado with jack cheese, cooked bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms.
Don’t forget, practice makes perfect! Every Saturday in June at Lady Luck Casino Black Hawk, players will be selected to flip burgers. Win cash, grills and other goodies, but most of all - earn your title as king of the grill.