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Your Best Beef Burger

It is a holiday weekend and I want to make a great burger for my friends and family. I know how to grill a burger, but I question what to mix in with the meat. What do you put in your burger to make it unforgettable?

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  1. Think kimchi:

    Kimchi Burger

    Ingredients:

    1 lb lean ground beef
    Variation:
    Use 3/4 lb lean ground beef and add 1/4 lb ground pork or turkey.
    1 egg
    1 small white or yellow onion
    3 cloves fresh garlic
    1/4 cup of flour or substitute corn flour, bread crumbs, or grain cereal(such as corn flakes)
    1/4 cup kimchi
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    Toppings:
    Sliced cucumber
    hard fried egg
    cheese
    green cabbage
    kimchi

    Directions:

    Chop (mince) the onion and kimchi into very small pieces, then crush the garlic cloves.
    In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, egg, and flour (or crumbs) and mix well.
    Add the garlic, onion, kimchi, salt, and pepper, and work evenly through the meat mixture.
    Divide the mixture into 5 even parts and form into patties.

    Heat a skillet or grill and cook over medium to medium high heat until well done.
    Lightly oil a separate skillet or griddle, cook 5 eggs until well done (break yokes).

    Serve on any style bread or bun and top with your favorite cheese, egg, thin sliced cucumber, and kimchi.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hannaone

      I have to try that one! Sounds great.

      1. re: hannaone

        I do something very similar - I use bulgogi seasonings to season the ground beef and make into patties. Top with kimchi, a bit of gochujang (red pepper paste). I love the idea of the fried egg :)

      2. 1. My classic burger - ground beef (not too lean), steak seasoning, minced onion, worcestershire sauce
        2. Lamburger (unbelievable - I could eat this every night!!) - ground lamb, feta, minced red onion, minced garlic, Greek seasoning or oregano/s/p, topped with roasted red pepper and tzaziki

        1. I think the single biggest thing you can do to make a platter of burgers unforgettable is find a great butcher.

          Explain to them that you want to do something REAALLLY special. It is foolish to grind up filet mignon. But it is not foolish at all for you to ask the butcher to mix together some veal trimmings, add some hanger steak, some chuck. Maybe some rindy fat from a dry aged prime rib roast.

          Don't expect this stuff to be free. It is going to cost more than his "regular" ground beef. But it ought to be one of a kind.

          4 Replies
          1. re: renov8r

            There's an interesting article in the NYT today about making burgers:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/23/din...

            I make cook mine on the stove top - stick a small piece of butter in the middle of each patty, salt and pepper liberally. But I seem to have a real difficulty not over cooking them - they seem to go from raw to overcooked in an instant.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Like MMRuth - my 'secret' is a thin pat of butter in the middle too, usually flavored. For this weekend, I'm using a shallot-cilantro butter, and mixing the ground beef with some diced roasted poblanos.

              This is also a foolproof recipe - I've made these a few times and they've always been a hit:

              http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

              1. re: MMRuth

                Maybe it's a seasonal thing because the Washington Post did, too.

                http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

              2. re: renov8r

                Agree. If you don't grind your beef yourself, go to a butcher and have him grind up steaks fresh for you. Chuck, brisket, sirloin, skirt, some fat, etc.

                Besides that, the only thing I do to my burgers is lightly form the patties and coat them very very well with salt. What one would probably thing is too much is about where you want it to be.

              3. I use ground beef and a little bit of ground veal. Toss in an egg, some breadcrumbs, salt, garlic (minced or powdered), onion powder and sometimes some mustard. MMMMM, I'm getting hungry for it now!

                1. I'm a big fan of blue cheese in burgers. I'll use McCormick's Grill Seasoning (combo of coarse salt, black and red pepper, dried garlic and onion, and some other tasty things) throughout the beef. Make two small patties and put blue cheese in the middle, squeezing the edges together so the cheese doesn't drip out. Grill until medium rare. Mmmm.

                  1. My cliche fave is one packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix to two pounds 15% ground beef. People will rave and drool.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Oh Robin

                      I keep it simple. Ground chuck has a great lean to fat ratio for burgers. If you can't grind it yourself ask the guy at the meat counter to do it for you. 20-30% fat makes for a juicy burger. If you want to you can add some brisket which has a great beefy flavor. Sirloin is good but try to keep the fat % at no less than 20 %. Hand form patties lightly to keep it loose. Avoid mixing the meat and keep it cold while working with it so the fat doesn't melt. For a nice thick juicy burger I shoot for about 1/3 lb of meat per burger. More than that and it's really too big.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        I agree with you on the ground chuck I put a pat of unsalted butter in the middle of my burgers. I season with S/P right before i put it on the grill.

                        1. re: FAL

                          Re ground beef. Read Bittman's article today in the NYT before proceding. It got my attention. You can read it online for free.

                    2. for a quick cheap burger: i like to take semi-lean ground beef (one package at the supermarket) and put in one spicy cajun sausage (casing removed, mixed in well with the meat), salt and pepper. easy and tasty. the cajun sausage, or whatever sausage you prefer, adds a ton of flavor and the fat needed for a juicy burger.

                      1. We just made 50%beef/50%lamb burgers with goat cheese and grilled leeks on portabello mushroom "buns" and they were amazingly good. We marinade the leeks and mushrooms in mint and olive oil for 20 mins before grilling and then assemble on the plate with a side of spinach risotto.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: HillJ

                          I was not a big believer in burgers with lots of stuff mixed in the meat, until recently. Now I mix a high fat, high quality meat with minced onion, jalapeno, salt, pepper, parsley, and worcestershire. While grilling, I brush with a glaze of coffee, worcestershire and some corn syrup and ketchup. Top with sharp cheddar and serve on a bun with sauce--mayo, sour cream, lime, cilantro, jalapeno. Even without the glaze it's really great.

                          1. re: cocktailhour

                            I won't abide by the jalapeƱo mixins -- just too much chance of a lil' one (or oldster, or just an unadventurous eater) getting a mouthful of HOT, but I have done burgers with a bit of the coffee based glaze and it is pretty good. I used molasses, some Worcestershire, and ginger -- I would worry that corn syrup or commercial ketchup with its high sugar content would be inviting trouble on the grill.
                            You can also FREEZE the coffee, Worcestershire, and ginger mixture (leave the sweet out all together), and then crush that in the blender and mix the resultant crushed flavored ice with the ground beef as you make the patties. It really does make for a juicer burger, though more than about a half an ounce per 4-5 ounce patty will screw up the texture and the burgers won't hold together...

                        2. 1 lb. beef
                          half of an onion finely grated (i use a japanese daikon grater)
                          1 tablespoon heavy cream
                          1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard
                          black pepper
                          form burgers and salt before grilling
                          simple, tender and flavorful

                          1. I go with freshly ground beef, 80% lean in my kitchen aid food grinder attachment, plenty of salt and pepper, top with lettuce, tomato and onion on a fresh roll. As simple as can be is the way I prefer my burgers.

                            1. My two favorites...and always do 80 % for burgers...
                              I do the pat of butter inside the burger as well...adds to the moistness and flavor
                              Also, for the "can eat spicy" group...
                              Take canned or fresh whole jalapenos, and take seeds out, and stuff with cream cheese...then mold your beef around one of them, careful to enclose it...I have added salsa to the ground beef, but if you do that, be careful not to overmix, as overmixing is what ruins a burger....If you use fresh jalapenos, nuke them a bit to soften in the microwave, before you stuff them...Also once stuffed, whether canned or fresh, let the jalapenos spend about 15 minutes in the freezer before putting them in the burger....You can also spice up the cream cheese with chili powder, garlic, and cumin before you stuff it in the jalapeno...These are my teenage son's favorite burgers!

                              1. I start with the classic

                                1 Lb of 80 - 85% lean beef
                                1/4 C Worcestershire
                                2 cloves minced garlic
                                salt & fresh ground pepper

                                then for my twist I add

                                a few shakes of cumin
                                a few shakes of cinnamon

                                grill over medium high heat

                                top with cheddar & ketchip

                                1. for consistently juicy burgers, i always use a splash of liquid in my mixins -- usually worcestershire, sometimes prepared BBQ sauce or some other prepared marinade. keeps 'em juicy, and i like my burgers well done - no pink. i would imagine that's what the butter in the middle does as well, though i haven't tried that yet.

                                  my favorite seasonings vary from just S&P to Victoria Taylor's toasted onion or a steak rub. i am also a fan of spicy blackened burgers.

                                  i've noticed that if i use just plain garlic powder and/or onion powder it causes some bitterness in the burgers, so i've started leaving those out unless they come as part of a premade rub/mix.

                                  1. Try sauteeing up a few chopped onions until they're lightly browned on the edges and add them, after they've cooled, to the ground meat.

                                    1. Pardon the interruption, but we've split an interesting discussion of where to buy great "ready made" burgers in Boston to the Boston Area board. You'll find that discussion here:

                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/404790

                                      Thanks!

                                      1. To be honest. For me, it's not what you put into the burgers that makes them memorable. It's what you don't. I really feel that less is more in this case. You want things in small amounts to accent and punch up the flavour of the beef. I've seen burgers with onions and mushrooms and a whole host of things.
                                        I only use worcestershire and garlic along with some S&P.
                                        I do sprinkle with steak seasoning before grilling.

                                        Don't underestimate the value of good condiments either. Good fresh ripe tomatoes. Good garlicky pickles. Sweet onions.

                                        Don't over do it on the bun either.

                                        DT