In survey after survey, burgers are the Number One barbecued item for Canadians. Their enormous popularity prompted us to get creative.
We started with perfecting the best basic burger, then moved on to gourmet patties that will inspire a whole summer of delicious eating. Toppings go from kid-friendly to pleasers for the most discriminating palates.
Use these basic pointers to keep your burgers juicy:
- Use medium ground beef for more juicy, flavourful hamburgers. Patties made with lean ground beef tend to lose moisture during cooking and become dry.
- Juicy burgers need only gentle shaping when being formed. Overmixing and too much pressing and patting make tough, dry grainy tasting hamburgers.
- Turn burgers only once. Don't press or flatten with spatula during cooking because this forces out juices.
What you need to know about ground meat:
1. Buying ground meat
• Unless otherwise marked, supermarket ground beef comes from cuts primarily from the front shoulder (chuck) and trimmings from cuts.
• Ground beef from a specific cut is called “source-grind.” Ground sirloin is the most common, but you may also find ground blade or ground round. Source-grinds are slightly more expensive but often are tastier.
• You also can get very flavourful ground beef from butchers who carefully dry-age their meat. You can usually ask for coarse or fine ground, according to your preference.
• Ground beef is graded by fat content: extra-lean up to 10% fat; lean up to 17%; medium up to 23%; and regular up to 30%. The fat content of ground meats other than beef are not government regulated. However, ground pork or lamb, sold as lean or regular, follows the same guidelines as beef; we recommend lean.
• Ground meat must be used within 24 hours of purchase.
• Although cooking ground meat so it is no longer pink is generally safe, the Beef Council of Canada recommends the use of a digital meat thermometer. Remove the beef patty from the grill and insert the thermometer through the side until the tip reaches the centre. The internal temperature must reach 160°F (71°C) to kill any harmful bacteria, such as E. coli. Wash the thermometer immediately after testing any undercooked patty.
• Because fat drips out during cooking, the amount of fat in cooked ground beef is reduced by one-third.
• You can freeze ground meat for up to 3 months; seasoned and mixed ground meat can be frozen for 1 month in bulk or already formed in patties. Wrap in plastic and seal in airtight container or double wrap in foil.
• Any recipe for grilling burgers can be adapted to stove-top or broiler cooking. In grill pans and skillets, cook burgers over medium-high heat. Or broil 6 inches (15 cm) under heating element.
Page 1 of 2 - Our favourite recipes and creative toppings on next page!