Alert if I have vegetarians who follow the blog – this is a distinctly carnivorous post. This is one of the few Memorial Days when we didn’t grill burgers because we decided to go diving that day and we wound up having an early seafood dinner in Key Largo. However, we got into a discussion later about grilling burgers. My husband is a gas grill guy and a good friend still prefers the classic approach of charcoal. That is such a personal choice that there really is no question – you aren’t likely to convert gas to charcoal or vice-versa. Nor is seasoning an issue. We have a nice blend that we use – and a spicier version for those like us that prefer a bit of a “kick”. How big to make the burgers though and the correct mix of fat to lean were the real questions. Now, as much as I totally love a nice, thick burger, the problem with doing them by hand is size. You’re going to get a certain amount of circumferance shrinking and if you’re not careful, you have something more resembling a big meatball instead of a patty. On the other hand, if you pat them too thin, they cook faster than you want and don’t get all that “grilled flavor”. We haven’t tried it yet, but one of the cooking shows said that if you put a deep thumbprint in the center of the patty, that will help keep it from becoming a “ball”. We may give that a try next time and we’re open to other suggestions. Well, the “we” is husband since like many women, I have aquiesed to the concept that women don’t grill. (I acknowledge that is a terrible habit on my part.)
As to fat to lean ratio, we have long used 97% lean beef or even buffalo for our ground beef dishes, but burgers are the exception. The reality is that in order to get that juicy burger, you need to have no less than 90% lean and I can be talked into 85%. There truly is a difference in the taste and the really lean beef just doesn’t work well for a burger. Now, we do use buffalo sometimes to achieve the leanest type and still have an excellant flavor.
So okay, burger lovers out there – any thoughts on this?