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The Casket - 2021-11-24

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Tips on making better burgers

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MARK DEWOLF mdewolf@herald.ca @withzesttours

Summer’s gone but that doesn’t mean we have to give up on burger night. While we may not be able to infuse our fall and winter burgers with barbecue smokiness, you can replicate the grill well by cooking your burgers in a cast iron pan. Who doesn’t like the classic burger and toppings? However, you can think of your burger meat as a vessel of creativity. Add in some unique seasonings and spices, or even use another ground meat. Ground lamb and pork can make super flavourful burgers. Make your next burger night anything but ordinary. FIVE TIPS FOR A BETTER BURGER 1. Season well – Burgers, like any meat, should be seasoned well with salt and pepper but remember to salt them just before hitting the pan so as not to dry them out. 2. Fat is flavour – Don’t go with a lean ground beef. The recommended ration of meat to fat is 80:20. If purchasing from a grocery store, choose medium not lean ground beef. You might even add in a bit of fat or even butter. 3. Befriend a Butcher – Instead of mass processed meat, consider visiting a local butter. 4. Keep the meat moist – I like to use an egg, but you can also add mayonnaise as your secret ingredient. 5. Be gentle – Avoid the temptation of pressing down on burger while cooking as the flavourful juices will flow out of the meat. If you are worried about your burger getting too dark on the outside without being cooked enough on the inside, once you have a sear on the outside reduce the heat to medium-low. SHERRY INFUSED BURGERS WITH MAPLE GLAZED BACON AND CHEDDAR Ingredients: • 1 lb medium ground beef • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed • 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped • 2 oz Sherry • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce • 1 shallot, minced • 2 garlic cloves, minced • 1 tsp cracked black pep per • 1 tsp salt • 4 hamburger buns, split, toasted • 8 slices bacon, drizzled with maple syrup • Aged white cheddar • 1 tomato, sliced, for gar nish • Mint, chopped, for gar nish, optional Directions: Preheat your barbeque to medium. Combine the ground beef with butter, mint, Sherry, Worcestershire, shallot and garlic in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Form the ground beef mixture into four equally sized patties. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the burgers for approximately seven minutes per side in a cast iron, or other, pan until the juices run clear. Remove the burgers from the pan. Place the burgers on hamburger buns and garnish with the maple glazed bacon, cheddar, tomato and any other toppings. Freshly chopped mint will add a further connection to the Cabernet component of the blend. BANH MI PORK BURGERS Recipe courtesy PC Insiders Makes: 4 servings Banh mi is a Vietnamese street-food favourite named after its baguette-like bun. In this towering take on the savoury sandwich, we’ve turned the traditional filling of pickled carrot, white radish and cucumber into an elevated burger topping that delivers a satisfying crunch and tangy flavour to smoky grilled patties featuring juicy pork belly. Ingredients: • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrot • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut daikon radish • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut cucumber • 4 PC Thick & Juicy Smokey Seasoned Pork Burgers • 1/3 cup PC Sriracha Mayo Sandwich Spread • 4 brioche buns, split and toasted • 1 cup fresh cilantro, torn Directions: Toss together carrot, daikon, cucumber and vinegar in bowl to coat. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain. Set a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add a little vegetable oil to the cast iron pan. When oil is hot, add burgers. Cook burgers, flipping once, for seven minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Let rest two minutes. Spread sriracha mayo onto cut sides of buns. Top bottom halves with burgers, carrot mixture and cilantro, dividing evenly. Sandwich with top halves of buns. TOURTIÈRE AND CHOW BURGERS 6 to 8 Servings Ingredients: • 1-2 tbsp olive oil • 1 onion, finely chopped • 1 lb ground beef • 1 lb ground pork • 1 1/2 tsp savoury • 1 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg • 1 egg • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs • Salt and pepper • Six buns, split, toasted • Chow (pickles) Directions: In a large sauté pan, add one tablespoon of olive oil and onion. Sauté onions until soft. Let cool. In a bowl, combine the ground, beef, pork, onions, spices, egg and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Form into patties. Season with salt and pepper. Set a cast iron over medium heat. Add remaining olive oil. When oil is hot, add the burgers. Cook the burgers for approximately seven minutes per side in a cast iron or other pan until the juices run clear. Remove the burgers from the pan. Place the burgers on hamburger buns and top with chow and your favourite toppings. Mark Dewolf is currently the creative director of food and drink at the Saltwire Network, director of marketing and communications of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) and pastpresident of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). He enjoys drinking, eating, writing and talking about wine, beer and food.

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