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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Simple Burgers

Burgers, as far as I am concerned, are a staple item of the American diet. Here are two simple recipes that I've used, both of which have met with not inconsiderable approval from family.

Version 1:

This is very simple indeed. All you do is take ground chuck and add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of Wright's liquid smoke per pound. You may, of course, at your discretion, use another brand of liquid smoke, but so far, I have yet to discover a brand that is the equal of Wright's. Of course, add more or less of these seasonings (and any others that may strike you) to your taste. These will be excellent, either on the grill (the recommended method), or in a cast-iron skillet.

You may be wondering: why the liquid smoke, if you are going to grill them? And the answer is that burgers cook too quickly to pick up a pronounced smoke flavor from grilling alone. Sure, there is some, certainly enough to make it worth your while to get the coals going, but the liquid smoke doesn't hurt.

If you're not familiar with the use of a cast-iron skillet--and this seems more and more common these days--it is very simple: heat the thing to just-a-little-hotter-than medium heat, making sure that the pan is hot before you flop in your burgers, and then cook the burgers to the desired degree of doneness. Cast iron is a cooking medium par excellence; if you haven't learned how to use it, I recommend that you make the effort. Start with this excellent book.

Don't know how to use a grill? There are several excellent books, but this is one of the best for those unfamiliar with the subject.

Version 2:

This is very simple, too. Simply take your ground chuck and add about a quarter cup of salad dressing per pound. Personally, I favor blue cheese, but I have also used ranch with success. Cooking methods are the same, but watch out for the burgers crumbling.

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