What kind of burgers do you like? In passing, this was the question I asked a selective few of my colleagues at the job last week. Most don’t know my first love–cooking, started in my mother’s kitchen and not in accounting class in Champ Fleurs, Trinidad. I’m okay with them thinking of me as the fashionable, go-to tax assistant that comes in around ten-ish and walks around as if I own the joint. It was in an easy disguise, to carry out my secret focus group for my next blog post because everyone loves being asked their weekend plans. “This weekend? Oh, I’m making burgers!” I was too happy to recite that line to my colleagues, which opened my question to them as they mentioned burger preferences while lingering at my cubicle as we routinely asked each other that polite question.
Once Lent ended this year in April, yes, forty some odd days of abstaining from meat, fish, dairy, alcohol, rice and processed sugars. I’ve been craving a juicy burger (and bacon) and was keen on enjoying the activity of cooking it at home, yuh know… to have control and knowledge of where the ingredients are sourced. Also, continuing with my commitment to a Monday through Friday vegan diet I could not wait for a hoorah, a delicious meaty cheat day! As if the above was not enough reasons for me to just hurry up and make the damn burger to satisfy my carnivorous appetite, while browsing the internet, I learned that May is National Hamburger Month, where everybody and their mother would cook up, dig in and showcase their best built and cooked to perfection ‘meat in a bun’. Then the Hamburger Gods blessed me when I received an instant message from my friend and colleague letting me know he’s making good on his promise to bring me a sample of ground beef from his Upstate, New York farm. A partnership of two family operated farms that produces organic cow’s milk from grass fed cows, free range chicken and lamb.
At my kitchen sick as I unwrapped the white butcher’s paper that held a two pound parcel of a grounded beef and lamb mix. I was pleased with the generosity gifted by my friend Abdul. I poked, sniffed and admired the meat’s light pink color and absence of any off scent. The meat was lean and not too fatty, and that works great when cooking foods out of my apartment kitchen that should be cooked outdoors using dry heat: less fat equals less smoke!
Before forming the grounded meat into 6oz. patties, I seasoned it with about 1 Tbsp. of Sea Salt and ½ Tbsp. of Black Pepper. Friend and farm owner, Abdul mentioned the livestock was butchered a couple of days before and with meat this fresh I would hate to mask its flavor with additives. But rely on the regular suspects of toppings to add more ‘wow’.
Toppings such a bacon. I never cook bacon on the stove top. For a crispier and less greasy bacon, lay strips of bacon on foil-lined sheet pan and place in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. You’re welcome.
No need for fancy grill pans here, just a heavy bottom pan like a cast iron pan to cook to meat. Allow the meat to cook on each side for about 10 minutes for the best brown color. Pressing down on the patties with my spatula every so often. When making burgers at home, I allow the patties to finish cooking in the oven, flipping sides every 5 minutes. I’m okay with well done meat. At home.
– Normally when I’m craving a burger at home, I buy two fresh sausages at the butcher, take the meat out of the case to form a patty.
– I got five, 6oz patties for the 2 lbs. of grounded meat. For the sake of the blog post I cooked three and individually wrapped the remaining two in parchment paper then plastic wrap and freezed to eat at a later date.
– I used vegetable oil to cook the meat patties.
– Other ingredient sourcing:
Kaiser Rolls–Baked fresh by my local ShopRite bakery department
Cheese–Cabot, Private Stock Cheddar Cheese
Tomatoes, Lettuce and Red Onions–ShopRite’s organic produce aisle
Bacon –Oscar Mayer Natural Uncured Bacon