The humble hamburger can easily be elevated to the heights of cuisine classics with the same attention to detail that any dish deserves. It can also be infinitely varied with lots of your personalized flavours. Ground chuck is your best choice because it has a higher fat content than ground round or ground sirloin.
Yield: Serves 4
1 1/2 pound ground chuck
1 small white onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
a sprinkle or two freshly ground pepper
4 soft hamburger rolls
Preheat your barbecue on its highest setting.
Toss the beef into a small mixing bowl. Toss in the onion and season with the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Gently toss everything together until well combined.
Form into 4 evenly shaped burgers no more than 1 inch thick. Form a shallow hollow with your fingers in the centre of each burger. This will help each burger cook evenly, and the hollow will eventually disappear as the meat cooks through.
Cook for about 4 minutes per side. Resist the urge to press on the burgers with your spatula; this just encourages it to release valuable moisture and flavour. Flip and continue cooking until the burger is cooked through to your liking.
After you flip the burgers add a few pieces of crisp bacon and thinly sliced cheddar cheese to each one. For a pizza burger twist, add a spoonful of pizza sauce and some shredded mozzarella cheese. Sautéed mushrooms and blue cheese are also great. There are also many masterpieces to be built with lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced red onion, other cheeses, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce and your other favourite toppings.
Over the years I’ve tried experimenting with many additions to the classic burger, and I’ve discovered that most just don’t work. One thing that does work is shredded meat from a tender beef stew. It adds a rich layer of beefy flavour and texture that I love! Just the thing to serve with my all-time favourite spud, smashed potatoes!
Braising is my favourite cooking method. I just love the way it can transform an inexpensive, tough cut of beef into a tasty tender stew. Toss in the earthy flavours of root vegetables and aromatic red wine, and you are well on your way to a rich flavour base. But the real secret to a truly memorable beef stew is patiently browning the meat.