Thursday, July 23, 2009

Grillin' Time - Hamburgers

It’s grilling season. If you’re a vegetarian or otherwise non-meat eater, you probably won’t be interested in what follows. Or, you can read on for fun and then just bring your own veggie burger to the next party, like my brother Steven does. No missing a barbeque just because he doesn’t eat barbeque!

This is about meat. Specifically, hamburgers.

All seven of my readers (!) know I love Ina Garten, a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa. Must admit I’m a BC groupie, for her cookbooks and her show. This post is about Ina's burgers. I won’t pretend for one second that the recipe that follows is health food. I also won’t say you shouldn’t try it. Myself, I’m a hot dog girl—well done to the extreme, toasted bun, cheap yellow mustard and relish—but now and then a burger hits the spot. If you are one who likes to indulge occasionally in a great burger, you’ve gotta give this one a go. Here, you mix two types of ground beef with other simple ingredients (including additional fat from egg yolk and a slight pat of butter!). But before you lambaste me with the greasy side of the spatula, you should know that the result earned a respectable four stars out of five by the ninety-six enthusiastic burger reviewers on the FN site: (Make sure to check out reviewers’ comments – they always add their own little tricks to personalize a recipe, and some may appeal to you.)

You can use this recipe as is or take the basic idea and change it up to your liking. I’ve even heard of using a few ice chips, instead of butter, in the center of the burger to keep it moist and juicy.

The Barefoot Contessa’s Real Hamburgers
(makes 10-12)


• 2 pounds ground chuck
• 1 pound ground sirloin
• 3 tablespoons steak sauce (recommended: Crosse & Blackwell) – that’s Ina Talking, I like Heinz 57 or A-1 just fine
• 6 extra-large egg yolks
• 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
• 12 hamburger buns


Carefully mix the meats, steak sauce, egg yolks, salt, and pepper with the tines of a fork, but do not mash it. Lightly form each hamburger and lightly press into a patty shape. Make an indentation and put a thin slice of butter inside each hamburger, making sure the butter is entirely encased in the meat.
Heat a grill, broiler, or saute pan and cook the hamburgers for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until almost done. Remove to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Allow the hamburgers to rest for 5 minutes and serve immediately on buns.

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