I got to thinking about my favorite burgers today. An odd thought, true, but one that I found myself pondering for quite a while.
Before I continue, I need you to know that I grew up on a small farm where we raised our own meat. Our beef was grass fed Angus cattle. If you have not had grass fed beef, you don’t know what you are missing.
I didn’t realize just how lucky I was to have been raised like this until I moved to California and had my very first burger from a chain I shall not mention. I took a bite and wanted to know where the beef went and why they were using cardboard.
To be honest, very few of the national chains have beef that really has a good flavor. When you buy beef raised by Big-Agriculture you get … cardboard.
Most national chains have worked hard to develop unique recipes that the buyer will like and want to eat time and again. Barring that, they look for a unique style of burger. Square or round, anyone?
Toppings tend to be standard, even if they are applied in different intensity or manner.
What I love to find is the small chain or mom-and-pop shop that create interesting and unusual burgers.
I am a huge fan of In-N-Out Burgers. Not only are their fries made fresh – right in front of you – but their burgers have a great flavor and are the right balance of everything. Put them with the fries and a coke or a shake and you have a meal worth waiting in line to get.
Trust me – you won’t find beef that tastes like cardboard there!
I recall a great burger that came from a local shop. The best thing about it was not the toppings or the bun, but the way the meat had been seasoned. It took me a while, but I finally figured out that in addition to the usual salt and pepper was poultry seasoning; Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, and Nutmeg added to the salt and pepper gave the burger a wonderful flavor and enhanced and condiment you cared to add.
Char broiled, grilled, fried, they all have their pluses and minuses. I enjoy them all depending upon my mood. A good grilled burger can be a joy if it is prepared properly.
One thing to keep in mind: fat = flavor. Your burger must have at least 20% fat to provide not only flavor, but the moisture necessary to keep it from drying out in the pan.
My mom used to combine 2 pounds of ground beef with 1 pound of mild sausage, 1 egg, salt, pepper, garlic and onion. This mixture makes a great burger and is a perfect starting point to a simple and tasty meatloaf.
Give it a try – and don’t forget to give the poultry seasoning a try as well. You might be on your way to a wonderful burger!