I’ve procrastinated for about a year now about filming a video recipe… Mainly because I knew how amateur it was going to look and as you can see it is! BUT, I guess I did have some fun and broke the ice as they say.
I used a canon powershot, secured on a tri-pod, and this was a one-woman show. In fact, I think it’s also pertinent you know that I passed on a shopping trip. Dedicated I know 🙂
That’s my niece enjoying a burger with no inhibitions… Get in there Vanessa!
She loves burgers! Who doesn’t when they are sizzling, right off the grill, perfectly tender and juicy.
I’ve invested (key word) a lot of time trying to figure out how to keep the meat tender. I’ve read up over the years and here’s what I’ve found to work:
I add a little bit of minced mushrooms: preferably white cap mushrooms they won’t add an over-powering mushroom taste but will help keep the meat moist. This is optional.
I also like to add Lebanese 7-spices. It’s that Middle-Eastern thing in my blood, I guess.
Then I add a herb, usually rosemary or mint if using lamb mince.
Minced Garlic, because I can’t live without it!
Then I mix it to combine but not too much that the meat is overworked and tough.
Once the meat is seasoned, I’m ready to make uniform patties, about 3/4 inch, to ensure even cooking. Optimum internal burger temperature is 70C/160F for ‘safe’ eating though I prefer mine at 60C/130F.
Using your thumb, make an indent or a shallow hole into the center of the burger. This will keep the burger from shrinking when exposed to the heat of the grill.
Grill on Medium-Low heat, this will ensure they are not charred on the outside and raw in the center. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Turn often but DON’T press down with a spatula, you will let all the flavourful juices escape…
Closing the lid will keep the burgers even more moist, retains the heat and thus shortens the cooking time. But it will reduce the crisped outer layer.
I like to butter my burger buns
Before grilling them…
Which gets them nice and warm & gives them those pretty char-grill marks
Now dress your burger as you like. I served these burgers with a beet and avocado salsa.
Happy Fourth to all, have fun and be safe!
Secrets to a better burger- Quick rundown
- Use lean meat and ask the butcher to mince it in front of you.
- Add the right kind of fat! If you’re lucky enough to live in the Middle East then ask them to add lieh, or fat from the fat-tailed sheep. This type of fat is different from the standard ‘shahm’ or fat that surrounds the meat. It’s fat that adds a robust flavour to dishes and because it actually melts is said to be better for your consumption than good old fat that surrounds meat cuts and never melts. Health-claims aside as I’ve not really researched these claims aside from knowing that lieh does melt, the reason why I opt for lieh in my burger is simply because it really enhances the flavour of the burger!
- Season well with pepper, Lebanese 7-spices, favourite herbs. Be in charge and don’t be afraid to do what you like. Season with salt only once you’ve formed your patties and the burgers are about to hit the grill.
- Don’t overwork the meat when mixing it, or it will toughen. So add all your seasonings, then give it a mix to combine. Taste and then adjust seasoning one last time.
- Do not let the meat get warm while you’re prepping. Start with it very chilled and work fast so it remains chilled.
- Make patties into uniform sizes, about 3/4 inch and press a small indent or dimple in the centre of the burger. The dimple reduces shrinkage and de-shaping typical with cooking burgers.
- Optimum cooking temperature is medium-low. Internal burger temperature should between 60C/120F (medium rare) 75C/160F (very well done). My choice is warm and juicy at 130F-65C/135F
- Flip your burger as often as every 15-20 seconds but whatever you do DO NOT press down and release all those precious juices. And you can chose to close the lid for ½ minute, it will help cook faster and make them juicer.
- 800g/1 lb 12 oz minced beef or lamb
- 1 white mushroom, very finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
- 1 sprig of rosemary or fresh za’atar, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Lebanese seven-spice mixture
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- Burger buns or lettuce cups
- Condiments and toppings of choice: slices of tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles, cheese, mayo, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc.
- Depending on your choice, preheat a charcoal barbecue until the charcoal is burning white or turn on a gas barbecue to high. Lightly grease the rack with oil. Alternatively, you can use a frying pan on your stovetop. You can start that step when you’ve finished forming your patties.
- To a mixing bowl, add the minced meat, along with the garlic clove, rosemary, spice mixture and freshly ground black pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are combined for about minute making sure not to overwork the mixture.
- Pinch off a handful of the mixture, roll it into a ball and then flatten into an evenly shaped patty. Using your thumb,press down at the centre of the patty to create an indent or dimple. Season with salt just before you begin grilling.
- Transfer the burgers to the grill and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or till desired internal temperature is reached (see above), ensuring you turn the burgers often for even cooking. DO NO press down on the burgers and release the prized juices.