There are burgers, and then there’re burgers. I’m sure you understand the difference; we’ve all been subjected to the sub-par hamburgers at such tedious but necessary events like corporate picnics, family reunions and road trip fast food pit stops (Quelle horreur!). And those burgers will do in a pinch.
But they’re nothing like a good hamburger. A good hamburger is dripping with juices, has a nice char on its outside and is perfectly pink — verging on red — in its middle. A good hamburger is served on a quality bun (good flavor, not too hard). And finally, while a good hamburger is made with meat that tastes delicious enough to stand alone, it should be enhanced with just one or two choice ingredients to really pull out all the stops. And most times I’m talking choice ingredients, I’m talking blue cheese.
There are a few other secrets for a burger to be proud of, and they’re largely in the preparation. Anyone can grill a burger, but it takes a little more finesse to put together the actual product. I know you’ve got it in you.
First, it’s important to use quality meat. Let’s face it: grass-fed beef just tastes more like beef. It has a funkier, more animal flavor than corn-fed cows, and when I’m making authentic man food, animal and primal are what I’m after. Make sure the meat has a 20-80% fat-meat ratio, too. Anything leaner will be drier than cotton balls, and just about as delicious.
Don’t be afraid to ramp up the taste with a little Worcestershire sauce, sauteed onions and generous amounts of salt and pepper. You’ve seen how the pros season their food: big pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Make the burger taste good, and you won’t have to douse it in high fructose corn syrup — I mean commercial ketchup.
If think you’re really ready for my secret burger weapon, stuff it with an ounce of soft blue cheese. The heat of grilling will melt the cheese, saturating the meat with tangy-sweet goodness. At the end of the barbeque, it’s still just a burger, but hey, you made it and it tastes like success.
Blue Cheese Burgers
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound ground beef (20% fat)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Generous pinches salt and pepper
- 4 ounces soft blue cheese (I like the French St. Agur)
In a saute pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about four minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and cooked onions. Use clean hands to mix thoroughly and completely.
Separate the meat into four equal pieces, then form into thick patties. Use your finger to poke a hole in the side of a patty and stuff one ounce of blue cheese inside the middle. Form the burger closed around the cheese. Repeat with the remaining patties.
Grill over high heat and serve with good buns and lettuce, plus extra cheese on top if you desire.