Burgers + Seasoning

Just in time for Fourth of July grilling!  This will add flavor to your burger with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.  I love a classic burger in the summer, cooked on the stove or on the grill, with a squishy bun, american cheese, crisp lettuce, paper thin red onion slices, ketchup and mustard.  And pickles. I hate it when I forget pickles.  

80:20 is the best meat to fat ratio for burgers.  When forming, don't overwork (it'll change the texture) and make sure to leave a divot in the center of the patty with your thumb (it'll help them cook more evenly).

Serves 4.

Burgers

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 lb ground beef, formed into 4 burgers

1 tablespoon butter

Mix pepper, salt, sugar, garlic and onion powders together.  Sprinkle over both sides of all burgers.  

On the stove:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  When hot, melt butter in skillet.  Carefully, place burgers in skillet.  Cook about 3 minutes on each side.  

On the grill:  Heat grill to high (gas) or until coals are glowing and ashy.   Brush burgers with melted butter.  Place burgers on grill, cook 3 minutes.  Flip and cook 5 minutes more or until done to your preference. 

Either cooking method - add cheese about 2 minutes after flipping.  

Assemble burgers on buns with ketchup, mayo, mustard, pickles, cheese, lettuce leaves, onion and tomato slices.  

Jerk Chicken Burgers + Simple Crunchy Slaw

It's the end of summer and you might as well spend it grilling these spicy little chicken burgers. I'm pretty excited about these.  Spicy and complex.  We served these with a super simple slaw and lime buttered corn.  These should probably be grilled but they can also be cooked in a pan or grill pan.  

Scotch bonnets are hot, hot peppers with a fruity, almost sweet notes that range in colors from green to yellow to orange to bright red.  They can be swapped out for habaneros if needed.  As with all chile peppers, wear gloves when working with these and wash your tools and cutting board when done.  We keep a box of disposable gloves on top of the fridge for chile pepper chopping.  And don't touch your eyes or nose if you've been touching the peppers.  

Makes 4.

Jerk Chicken Burgers 

1 lb ground chicken thighs

1 scotch bonnet pepper, seeded, minced

1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 scallions, white + light green parts, minced

s + white pepper

10 allspice berries, ground

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

zest of 1 lime

1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar (white, red wine or apple)

Fold all ingredients together to evenly combine.  Be careful not to over mix, it can alter the texture of the ground meat.  Let mixture marinate in fridge 30 minutes (longer is ok too, up to 8 hours)  

Form 4 patties and grill until done, flipping once.  For proper grill marks, heat part of the grill to high heat, once hot, place burger on grates.  Cook a few minutes until grill marks are present and turn 1/4 way.  Cook about 2 more minutes more, flip, cook and then 1/4 turn.  

Serve with a simple slaw: Whisk 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar with 1 teaspoon mayo until there are no lumps.  Toss with 1 1/2 cup shredded savoy cabbage, 1 1/2 cup shredded iceberg lettuce, 1 shredded carrot and 1 tablespoon caraway seeds.  Salt and pepper, to taste.  Use immediately.