Holy cow. It's hard to believe but the school year is over. To say that my kids are thrilled would indeed be an understatement. School would have ended last week, but thanks to several (enjoyable) snow days they tacked on a bunch of days ending school oddly on a Monday. Our celebration usually involves either pizza out somewhere or a BBQ. But since my son's summer baseball has already started (does stuff ever end?) and a game was scheduled, we only had time for a BBQ.
- Hotdogs-beef franks are the only ones my kids will eat, specifically Oscar Mayer (they are not "snappy" dogs, you know what I mean?).
- The beef-always a combination of ground sirloin and ground chuck. I will usually buy a pound of sirloin and a pound of chuck from the supermarket, combine them in a bowl with salt and pepper and then form patties.
Hotdog cooking is pretty basic: throw them on the grill, turn occasionally, when grill marks are to your liking, remove. Hotdogs are pre-cooked, so you are just basically warming them up.Now hamburgers on the other hand take a little more thought. In order to achieve the perfect level of doneness while retaining the perfect level of juiciness, some basic rules need to be followed:
- Handle the meat as little as possible. Over working the meat can create tough, compacted patties. Just handle the meat long enough to combine whatever additions you've decided upon, form the patties then let them be.
- Always add salt to your meat, a good rule is about a teaspoon for every pound of beef.When the patties are on the grill,
- DO NOT press down with your spatula. This is a tough one for a lot of people. I know myself that when I was in High School and proudly wore the paper cap of McDonalds, we pressed down on the patties. It has been a hard habit to break despite the fact that my years at McDonalds were a really long time ago (think pre-electronic cash register). Any hoo, pressing down on the patties while they are on the grill presses all the tasty juices out and can create major grill flare-ups that make for blackened, not-so-tasty patties.
- If you are adding cheese, do so immediately after flipping the patties. If you forget the cheese (which I did nationally on the Sutter Home Build a Better Burger Challenge a few years ago on Food Network) DO NOT return the patties to the grill to melt the cheese as it will make your patties overcooked and too dry. Just suck it up and place the cheese on cold, the warmth of the patty will probably melt the cheese enough to make it ok.
1/2 pound ground beef sirloin
1/2 pound ground beef chuck
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Oil to brush the grill
4 Sourdough burger rolls, split
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup baby arugula leaves
1 tomato, cut into 4 slices
Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
In a large bowl, combine the ground sirloin, ground chuck, kosher salt and the ground black pepper. Form the meat into four equal sized patties. Lightly brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the grill rack and cook 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare, or cook until desired doneness. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, arrange the rolls split side down on the edges of the grill to lightly toast.
Stir the mayonnaise and the blue cheese together in a small bowl.
To assemble the burgers, place the arugula leaves on the bottom half of each roll, evenly dividing. Top the arugula with a patty, followed by a tomato slice. Place a generous dollop of the blue cheese mayo on top of each followed by the roll tops.
Yield: 4 burgers