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Hamburgers a.k.a. day #1 of R's birthweek.

 

Due to the multi-day celebration I had for my birthday earlier this year, R is proclaiming that we are to celebrate his “birthweek,” R’s birthday is on Christmas Eve, which means the birthweek festivities started yesterday.

 

R’s top comfort food is hamburgers; he fondly remembers it as one of the few things his mother cooked well for him and his brothers while growing up. He will eat any kind of burger, including the double cheeseburger on the dollar menu at Mcdonald’s to the $19 burger at the Four Seasons. His favorite burger is at Bartley’s in Harvard Square. R decided a burger would be most fitting for the first night of his birthweek. (BTW, I know the whole birthweek thing is ludicrous, but by going along with it, it means a week of nice meals, dining in and out).

 

There’s a ton of literature on how to make the ultimate burger, and everyone and their grandmother has a different opinion. This is mine:

 

  1. Get good ground beef. I usually go for 85% lean, any leaner and it can result in a dry burger, any fattier results in a greasy one.
  2. I usually make 8 oz. patties – not too flat, but not too tall. About ¾ of an inch in thickness. I shape them lightly (you don’t want to over handle the beef) Salt and pepper on each side.
  3. Fry up some bacon in a large skillet. I prefer Niman Ranch’s, sliced thick (you can get it at Russo’s in Watertown)
  4. Drain bacon on paper towel, put aside. Pour most of the fat of the skillet.
  5. Get the pan really hot, place burgers in pan. Be prepared to smoke up the whole place; if your smoke detractor doesn’t go off during the cooking of the burgers, you are doing something wrong.
  6. Cook for 4 minutes on 1 side. Don’t play with the burger, don’t move it around, and under no circumstances squish the burger with your spatula!
  7. Flip. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. This will give you a medium rare burger. Those of you that like your burgers well done, that’s no point in you reading my flog.
  8. Now we need to discuss the accompaniments;
    1. Buns – Iggy’s makes a great black pepper brioche hamburger bun. But the important thing is that the bun be substantial enough to hold up to your burger, while not being too crusty or hard. I like the bun lightly toasted.
    2. Veggies – I’m a fan of tomatoes, lettuce and thinly sliced red onion. If you want, you can also sauté some mushrooms.
    3. Cheese – R loves blue cheese, so last night I used a gorgonzola dolce, which is a beautiful soft blue cheese. The wedge I got at Whole Foods was perfectly ripe and melted beautifully over the burger. I like a sharp cheddar. You should put the cheese on top of the patty when there is 3 minutes left of cooking.
    4. Condiments – R likes mayo, and although I thought it was a little over the top at first, I’m now a convert. I also use a little ketchup.
    5. Bacon, never forget the bacon.

 

  1. Let the burger rest for a few minutes, so the juices can re-circulate.  I’ve expounded on the virtues of resting meat before, so this is not new.
  2. Eat. Make sure you have lots of napkins if you are anywhere near as messy as R is.

 

Stay tuned for the rest of R’s birthweek.

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