Cooking Homemade Burgers?

Tip of the week:

It was BBQ time here in Barrie this weekend and we had a small BYO-BBQ gathering with family and friends…

One family member (who will remain nameless) brought a box of pre-formed pattys to cook.

Now, if you look at two burgers sizzling away on a grill, one store bought and the other homemade, it’s pretty easy to tell which is which.

I’ve never come across an out-of-the-box burger that doesn’t look like a thin slice off the end of a big ground-beef meat stick; and when you’re looking at the two burgers on a grill, that flat processed piece of meat looks about as appealing as it tastes, especially compared to it’s thicker hand-made counterpart.

But the mechanically flattened factory burger does have one advantage… and that’s, consistent heating (and cooking) across the entire burger.

Unfortunately the same is not always the case for the tastier (and usually larger) homemade burgers. Homemades tend to swell more when cooked and often end up with a much thicker center. Which means, if you want to serve burgers and not meatballs, you have to spend some of the burgers cooking time trying to flatten it out on the grill. The bigger problem is of course that, round burgers tend to have crispy outsides and barely cooked innards.

So what to do?

The rule of thumb here is to prepare the burger before it goes on the grill by making an indentation in the center of each patty about the size of a loonie (or a little bigger than a quarter for all you non-Canadians) and about 1/4 to 1/2 way deep.

The thinned out center means you will always be assured of a perfectly cooked burger, and one that won’t swell as much.

And don’t worry about anyone making comments about a thumb-print in their burger because it should swell just enough that the indent is no longer visible when it comes time to serve!

BBQ Beef Tips?

The summer is heating up and, going into a nice weekend my thoughts are on my BBQ so I thought I’d share a few hints that will come in handy if you plan on Grilling up some Beef this weekend:

  • Choose choice or prime cuts for the BBQ. The more abundant marbling adds tons of flavour after sizzling on a grill
  • Always marinate less tender cuts of beef before grilling. In order to properly tenderize, your marinade must contain an acidic ingredient.  Good additions to a tenderizing marinade include fruit or vegetable juice, yogurt, wine or a vinegar
  • For a really tender and juicy steak, let your meat sit at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes and then salt it just before grilling
  • If you are the kind of BBQ chef who likes to deliver a side of beef with perfect grilling lines charred into your meat, try lightly brushing your next steak with an extra-virgin olive oil just before placing it on the BBQ