Welcome to one of the most sacred, close-to-my-heart dishes on the Basics 101 roster. Before you continue past this point, it is imperative that we review a few ground rules…the burger code of conduct, shall we say. It simply would not do to feature burgers on the blog without talking about some of the near-criminal mistakes that are too often made in the quest for a homemade burger.
The Burger Code of Conduct:
1. One shall not use shit beef to make one’s burgers
Shit beef shall yield shit burgers. Buy good quality beef, make good quality burgers - it’s pretty simple. Also, buying good beef (e.g. chuck) that has been ground to order, can often mean having the option to serve medium-rare burgers, which takes some pressure off of having to scrutinize every burger for signs of pinkness.
2. One shall resist the temptation to limit fat content
Use beef with at least 20% fat content or don’t make beef burgers. Honestly, you’re eating a burger not a smoothie bowl, so let’s just accept that and not try to make burgers into something they aren’t.
3. One shall not manhandle one’s beef in the process of patty-formation
People seem to think that preparing ground meat is an excuse to get some anger out physically. Treat your ground beef gently and with love. The more you rough it up, the tougher your patties will be. Use wet hands if it helps and try to resist squeezing the meat between your fingers.
4. One shall be thoughtful when choosing one’s bun
If you are fortunate enough to live somewhere that regularly supplies its citizens with potato buns, USE THEM FOR YOUR BURGERS. If not, don’t go thinking that burgers can only be built upon designated burger buns. Take a hint from the hipsters and break free of the norms. The notion of a hamburger bun is a societal construct…break that barrier down I say.
5. One shall resist the temptation to squish down the burger during cooking
That stuff oozing out of your burger when you cook it? It’s delicious meat juice and it belongs in your mouth. Don’t be squishing the burgers.
Remember that the burger code of conduct is there to protect all of us.
I like the sound of a burger with…aged cheddar + homemade chutney + cornmeal-crusted onion rings
I like the sound of a burger with… smoked bacon + creamy bourbon sauce + pickled onions
I like the sound of a burger with…fast-food aspirations + all the classic toppings