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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh Yes, It's Burger Night...(And I'm feeling alright.)

(Made by an incredibly good husband)

We're back. And stuffed. But not so stuffed that I didn't eat the entire world today. Tomorrow starts my post-vacation what the hell happened I have to get my freaking body back in check feeling. Today I ate. A lot. While J and I spent the day in full-on recovery mode (one definitely needs this post-Jazz Fest) we talked about food, and I had a thought that I would make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Of course, we had NO food in the house, and since we needed to run a few crucial (ahem, bank) errands, we decided to make a quick stop at the store.

Only it got BETTER! See, we have this freaking amazing butcher in the area. (Actually, we have several pretty amazing butchers.) The kind of place locals and tourists rave about--and there is a reason. Trust me, you'll hear a TON about their amazing chicken brats this summer! We made a quick stop for some ground sirloin, and being the super cool butcher Falatic's is, they fresh ground me some sirloin. With the fat, for moisture. Far too delicious to be wasted on meatballs--this meat called for burgers damn it! Which also means it called for someone ELSE to do the cooking tonight.

Like many men, my husband (who is actually a great cook but rarely makes the move to cook dinner) ROCKS two very specific art forms. Breakfast and the grill. Both equally wonderful efforts. I mean, insane. (First meal he ever made me was burgers, actually.) He cooks a burger that men would fight wars over. Women drool over these burgers, or they would, if I allowed him to make them for anyone else.

I tried to get him to write a guest post for you, on the art of these particular burgers. But alas, he was in no mood. So instead, I sat cross-legged on our kitchen island and forced him to use a measuring spoon and took notes and pictures for you.

Take note: our burgers are eaten in VERY DIFFERENT manners. Me? I go "healthyish." Stuff that patty in a whole grain pita with spinach, avocado, onion, and a tiny bit of goat cheese. His is more, um, traditional. My side includes about 10 fries and a salad...he eats the remainder of the fries and generally speaking, 1 1/2 burgers. (By the way, for quick easy fries? We buy Oreida Golden Fries and once baked, sprinkle liberally with Old Bay and salt. OHMYGOODNESS!)

(My healthy version)
(And J's...)
But American Cheese or avocado, it doesn't matter. J's burgers hit the EXACT spot needed to set me on the path to recovery.

J's "Bay" Burgers
1 lb coarse ground sirloin (with some fat in mix--or whatever ground meat you want)
1/2 tsp (plus extra) cracked black pepper
1/3 tsp (plus extra) kosher salt
1/2 tsp Old Bay
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 slices (per burger) American cheese, if desired
Buns (I like whole grain hamburger buns, pita, sprouted wheat. J likes pretzel rolls or good burger buns)

Preheat a flat, cast iron (preferably) griddle pan to medium heat. You can also use a skillet, but the point is to use something flat to keep the burgers moist and help with the crust. (The crust is key.)
In a bowl large enough to work in, fold spices into meat JUST enough to make sure the seasonings are evenly incorporated. Do NOT overmix/obliterate (J's word) the meat.
J makes 3, 1/3 lb burgers. Mold 1/3 of the meat into a circle, and then GENTLY press and push the ball into a patty (do this on wax paper). DO NOT SLAP THE BURGERS. (Again, from J.)
Liberally salt and pepper BOTH sides of patties, and gently push into burger with fingertips to ensure good crust.
Put burgers on griddle. Don't move--cook 6-8 minutes (for medium) burgers on one side.
Flip, cook approximately 3(ish) minutes. Add sliced cheese, and "tent" burgers with a metal bowl, tin foil, or overturned pan.

Now, for fixins:
J slices an onion into 1/4 inch slices (ok, I do this) and puts them on the griddle for about 4 minutes a side with a bit of olive oil spray.
Once onions are removed, J puts a bit of butter on the griddle and toasts his buns.
He makes this INSANE sauce, which he uses as a condiment on the burgers. 
J's Killer Sauce
1/4 C ketchup
1 tsp Sriracha (or other non-vinegary hot sauce)
dash toasted sesame oil
1 TBSP olive oil mayo
cracked pepper to taste
Stir to combine, slather on burger buns. When burgers are properly dressed, dilute remainder of "sauce" with ketchup and use as dip for fries.

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