Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Let's Talk Burgers as the Summer is Coming to a Close.

Labor Day Weekend is coming up fast here in the USA.  That traditionally means the end of the "Summer Grilling Season".  School is back in session and in fact I know of several that started last week (way too early from my point of view).  The Tuesday after LDW is soon enough for school to start.

Labor Day Weekend is also the beginning of "Tailgate Season" for all those die-hard football fans as they support their beloved teams (and I'm one of them-just ask my wife).

With food prices on the rise, it may not be a bad idea to grill more burgers.  Some people will get tired of eating their same plain old hamburger.  So what can we do to change our plain old hamburger?

A few easy changes that you might want to try include changing out the buns and condiments.  Most of us just buy the same old 8 count hamburger bun on the shelf at every grocery store in america.  Get some variety in your life and look for other types of buns, loaves or flat breads.  Use your imagination when you cook.  There are Pretzel buns, Ciabatta rolls, hard rolls, sliced bread (heavier the texture the better) and even whole loaves sliced lengthwise in half for jumbo burgers to be shared.  Don't forget to toast those buns on the grill.  You might even want to use some type of compound butter to add another flavor level.

The same goes for condiments that you top your burgers with now.  Ketchup and yellow mustard with maybe lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion just gets boring.  Try different sauces like BBQ, steak, Buffalo or Wasabi.  There are many different types of mustard's on the shelves so try one of them instead of your regular one.  Don't forget the "Special Sauce" on Big Macs.  It's basically Thousand Island Dressing but jazzed up some.  Make your own or buy something in the specialty areas of your favorite stores.

There are different types or flavors of pickles.  Instead of just slice raw onion maybe try pickled onion or caramelized onion for a topper.  How about different types of peppers?  Maybe raw but how about roasted or again pickled.  Even sliced cucumber is great on a burger.  However, that might go better with chicken or  turkey.  And remember that Avocado slices don't just go with a Mexican burger.  They are great on any burger.  Mushrooms (any kind) are good both cooked and raw on a juicy big burger.

How about a "fried egg" on your burger?  I know some tailgaters that do brunch for early football games and combine their breakfast with their burger.  It's best to fry the eggs hard or they could get a little messy as you eat.

I even know a few that form their burgers to look like a hot dog and serve them up on hot dog or brat buns for something different.  They believe they can get more on the grill that way.

Lastly today, my wife is from Wisconsin and they are all "Cheese-heads" (I mean that in a good way as I love all kinds of cheese).  Don't limit yourself to processed yellow cheese.  There are so many different types and flavors of cheese that it is almost endless how many combinations you could come up with in assembling your burger.

So use that imagination you have and make a better burger.

Tomorrow I'm going to talk about meat for your delicious burgers and a little on technique.  There will be a burger recipe on both Thursday and Friday too.

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