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The Ultimate Burger Part 2: Cooking Tips

Posted on: September 3rd, 2012

If big burger chains can sell billions and billions of burgers, just imagine how many they could sell if they actually made a great burger? You can make a much better burger than a fast food chain, here’s how…

Tony’s Slider Patties and Brioche Slider Buns: call ahead and we’ll have them waiting! Locations

Insist on meat ground from whole muscle cuts.
The Meat
A great burger must start with great meat – no wild topping combination
or feat of culinary prowess could possibly affect the outcome as much as high
quality beef (or chicken, or turkey or whatevah’!) My last blog covers this in greater detail, check it out now, and then come right back for cooking tips and
recipes.
The Secret To A Great Burger… is the same as the secret to
all great cookery – thoughtfully choose, cook and assemble a few great
ingredients to your taste
– it might not sound as dramatic as it feels to me,
but nothing could make a bigger difference in your cooking!
The Artistry
Too many toppings leave the eater confused. Rather than just
piling on all your favorites, take a little time to think and decide what to
try this time. Go ahead and dream a little, let your inner artist go wild and
create an image of your ultimate burger before you go shopping. For example picture
the perfect Bacon Cheeseburger: beef, bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato (maybe a little
mustard, ketchup and pickle) – just the right amount and you can appreciate
each ingredient individually as you swoon to the symphony they create together.
The Toppings
Carefully choose just a few toppings that complement one
another and be sure each contributes something special, only then will your
creation will become more than a sum of its parts! If you are using
bacon, make it the best tasting bacon available (like our Applewood, Maple or
Peppered bacon – or the new local Tender Belly bacon). Forget about boring
everyday cheese and choose something truly distinctive, like English cheddar,
Brie, Gruyere, or Gorgonzola. Of course the lettuce and tomato should be the
best available, but should the onions be grilled or caramelized and sweet,
pickled and acidic, or fresh and spicy?  Choose
carefully and keep in mind: When there are less singers in the choir, each
must sing more sweetly.
Chorizo Burger Especial: beef blended with chorizo and topped with a fire-roasted green chile, smoked cheddar, lettuce, onion, tomato and Tony’s Homemade Guacamole.  Recipe below.
One of our most popular blends.
The Seasonings
Seasoning can be plain or fancy, inside or outside, light or
heavy, fine or chunky and encrusted on the outside… What’s right? That’s up to
you and you alone – and don’t let anyone tell you different!
Tony’s Brioche Buns
If you like to encrust the outside like I do, I suggest our
Euro Crust, Tuscan Grill Rub, Costillos Con Chipotle (spicy) or Calgary
Stampede.  If you like a fine ground seasoning,
our Steak and Roast, Porterhouse or Balsamic Seasonings are my top choices. If
you want to keep it simple, use sea salt and pepper – or make it smoky with a
little smoked salt. Just keep the seasoning blend in line with your overall
concept.
The Bun
A great bun is essential, and strictly personal preference –
I prefer our Tony’s Brioche Buns, a rustic bread, or a hearty whole wheat roll.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s fresh, toast it just before using (a little
brush of butter or garlic olive oil first is nice), and protect it from getting
soggy by either brushing with mustard or mayo, melting on a layer of cheese, or
lining with lettuce leaves.
Make every ingredient extra special!

The Condiments

The right condiments can make all the difference! Mustard
and ketchup is great stuff, but we can do much better!  Keep your flavor profile in mind and be open
to the hundreds of flavored mustards and mayonnaise/aioli available, as well as steak and
dipping sauces, guacamole and salsa, relishes, chutneys, cream cheese spreads,
wine sauces and even spicy or savory preserves. Come on down, we really have a
fun selection!

 

The Patty
Machine-shaped patties tend to be firmer and shapely while hand-shaped are more tender and crumbly – the choice is yours.
There are a couple good ways to shape patties. Some folks
prefer to separate their ground meat into single sized serving balls and then
squish them into a patty shape, creating cracks around the edges. Another method that’s I think works better is to shape all of your ground meat into a
log with square ends, pack it tightly by hand (using the butcher’s wrapping
paper makes this easy and neat), and then cut the log into even ‘steaks’, patting each one to an even thickness and shape. Keep your patties nice and cold until ready to cook.
Rocky Mountain Burger, recipe below.

Cooking

The best surface for browning patties, or anything for that
matter, is the heaviest and thickest pan or cooking grate possible. Thick
pieces of metal hold heat better, so they can brown better. I have cast iron grates on most of my grills, and also love my heavy cast
iron skillets and grilling pans. A heavy stick free pan can also work very
nicely!
Preheat the pan or grill at the temperature you plan to cook
(don’t blast it on high and then turn it down), the ideal temperature is
somewhere around 400°, give or take. I use a laser thermometer to test (us
gadget guys love them, available at hardware and auto parts stores). On the
grill; preheat, clean with a wire brush, spray or brush with oil and
immediately add your meats.
Cook until the first side browns well, usually about 3-6 minutes, if you like, you can rotate 45° to create a cross-hatch pattern. When the juices start
to rise to the top of the patty, it’s time to turn it over. If your patty is browned well but not done, move to a slow cooking part of the grill and finish
with indirect heat to avoid overbrowning.
Medium Well Done is recommended.



When is it Done?

While the center of a steak is essentially sterile, the
outside comes to high temperatures making it safe. The nature of ground beef is
the opposite, making cross-contamination possible. While I feel very safe with our ground beef made from whole muscle cuts (which are tested free of e-coli), I also trust the USDA and value my families health, so I cook ALL ground meats to 160° internal to eliminate any risk, no matter how small. I was never a big fan of bloody burgers anyways.
Assembly
When the patty is 80-90% done, I like to move to indirect
heat and add cheese. Meanwhile I will toast the buns over direct heat on the
grill or under the broiler (a little brush of garlic butter or olive oil before
browning is a nice touch). When the cheese is mostly melted, transfer to a
plate and tent with foil for five minutes for the maximum juiciness.
Protect the bun from getting soggy with a brush of
condiments and assemble with lettuce leaves first – I try to add about half of
my toppings below the patty and half on top, making the burger less likely to slide when biting.  Buon Appetito – Salute! Chef Mick Rosacci, Tony’s Markets / Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering / TR’s BBQ Catering.
Tony’s All American Cheeseburger Patty

 

Tony’s Signature Patties
We make a selection of seasoned patties for extra special taste combinations.  Look for our All American Cheeseburger, Bacon Blue Cheese, Bison Wrangler, Beer Brats, Tomato Basil, Pueblo Chile, Mile High Chicken and Turkey Patties.
The Recipes

 

The Local Burger – from my son, Chef Josh


Gorgonzola Red Wine Burger
(short video follows)
All American Cheeseburger Patty Cooked

 

4 Tony’s Bacon Blue Cheese Patties
 – or 1.25 LB Ground beef or lamb patties seasoned with Z Rub or your favorite
2 medium onions, sliced
1 TBS EA butter and olive oil, as needed
one 1.5 oz. pkg More Than Gourmet Demi Glace
¾-1 cup red wine, madeira or Marsala, to taste
4-6 oz. gorgonzola
pats of butter, optional
Mashed potatoes, spaetzle or creamy polenta – or buns
Shape meat into patties and season, if needed.  Keep refrigerated until ready to cook. Preheat a medium to medium-high grill.
Slice onions while you melt butter with olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Sauté onions to brown well, add red wine, boil and turn down to a simmer, cooking to reduce wine by half.
Meanwhile, make demi glace according to package directions.  Add demi-glace to red wine onions and simmer to marry – keep warm.  Just before serving, swirl in pats of butter – optional.
Grill patties, and when they are almost done, top with gorgonzola – don’t leave them on the heat too long, it melts readily.
Plate mashed potatoes, spaetzle or polenta, pressing into the center a shallow well twice the size of the patty.  Spoon sauce into the well, top with gorgonzola patty and serve with a salad, steamed asparagus and grill toasted garlic bread.  Can also be served on a bun (toasted with garlic butter would be nice) garnished with tomato and lettuce or arugula leaves.  – Chef Mick Rosacci, TonysMarket.com

 

Kobe Burger – learn more
Ultimate Burger Combinations

Do you have any tried and true burger topping, condiment and bun combinations? Please share themwith all the readers in the comments section!

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