Recipes for Shabbat
By Eileen Goltz
For me summer is all about grilling and grilling means HAMBURGERS. Chopped or minced beef is certainly not a new innovation. (You might think so the way some of us go on and on about how perfect our hamburgers are) Although the term hamburger is truly derived from the city in Germany, the original Hamburg steak was a piece of meat which was pounded until tender, not chopped or ground. The burger on a bun is claimed to be the concoction of Charles and Frank Menches. It seems these two vendors ran out of sandwich meat at the Erie County Fair in 1885 and switched to beef. Today the term burger has stretched to include ground poultry, ground fish as well as some wonderful meat free vegetable concoctions.
At the heart of every hamburger is the patty. When using ground beef to make hamburger patties you need to remember when you grill a burger a lot of the fat will drain off so starting out with meat that is too lean can and will lead to a dry burger. The less fat the more the burger will shrink while cooking leaving you a pretty small patty.
You also want to get a coarse grind. Finely ground meat can become soft and mushy, making the patties hard to work with and more likely to fall apart on the grill. This is also the reason you want to be careful about what you put in the patty. Large pieces of onion, whole cloves of garlic or other smooth things can make the patty unstable. Finely chop any vegetables and mince the garlic cloves. Meat like ground lamb or ground turkey can be difficult to work with because they can get so soft. The best way to deal with this is to add dry breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs or oatmeal to the meat. It will soak up the excess water and make the patties easier to work with. This is also a good trick if you like to added things like steak sauce or applesauce to the meat.
Once you have your patties ready (making sure that they are not too thick because the middle won't cook evenly if they are uniform in shape) for the grill you need to know a few things about grilling the burger. Start with a very hot grill, as hot as you can get it. Have everything ready to grill and quickly lift the lid and gently place the patties on the grill. When the raw meat hits the hot cooking grate it will stick. If you try to turn it too early the burger will fall apart. The secret is to flip the burger the second it releases.
As the bottom of the patty cooks the grease will create a non-stick surface on the patty and the heat from the grate will char the meat, separating it from the grate. At this point you want to lift the lid again and flip the patties, preferably to an unused part of the cooking grate. When the burgers have released again, flip them again and turn down the heat. It should only take about 1 minute per side to release from the grate. When you have flipped for the second time continue grilling for about 2-3 minutes. At this point there should be no pink left. Flip a third time and continue until done. This should be only about 2-3 more minutes. Remove when done and let sit for a minute or two before you serve.
While most Americans are said to consume, on average,
three plain hamburgers a week per person we enterprising cooks who have
reinvented the hamburger recipe wheel know that there are far better ways to
prepare a hamburger than just slapping it on a grill and cooking. The
following recipes are all guaranteed to have you grilling everyday this
In a large bowl combine the onion, relish, soy sauce,
and eggs. Add any of the optional ingredients you wish to use. Be sure to
get the eggs mixed in completely. Pat the meat out into 16 thin patties.
Spoon the pre-made filling mixture upon the top of eight of the patties.
Place another patty on top. Press firmly to join them together to form a
stack of 2 patties. Wipe up any of the mixture that runs out of the patty
stack and spread over the top of the patty stack. These stacks can be
grilled or broil in your oven. Great served on a crunchy Kaiser roll. Serves
In a 9X13 glass dish combine the soy sauce, garlic,
ginger, water, steak sauce and sugar. Mix well and reserve about 1/3 of the
sauce. Make 8 beef patties with the ground meat and marinate them in the
sauce (flipping them so that the top of the patties get a chance to
marinate) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Lift patties out of the marinade, drain
slightly and grill. Baste with the remaining sauce several times while
cooking. Dip rolls in reserve marinade and serve hamburgers with thin slices
of tomato and green pepper. Serves 8
For orange-chipotle mayonnaise:
Make pickled cucumbers:
Using fork, mash beans in medium bowl. Mix in onion, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons salsa, cumin and hot pepper sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Using moistened hands, shape bean mixture into two 3- to 4-inch-diameter patties. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Brush barbecue rack with oil. Grill burgers until heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Grill cut sides of buns until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer burgers to bottom halves of buns. Spoon 1/4 cup salsa over each. Cover with tops of buns. Serves 2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
© Eileen Goltz 2003