There is only one way to celebrate Hamburger Month- by eating hamburgers. The holiday has vague roots, but it is believed that White Castle came up with it as a promotion. Other chains such as Smashburger have special offers as well, so it is catching on. I decided to go DIY this time, and made these for a post-workout meal for myself and my cousin Pete, after we busted our asses on a nasty circuit of box jumps, push-ups, blast strap rows, Bulgarian split squats, burpees, and other exercises that sound like the signature moves of a professional wrestler. Oh no! He's got him trapped in the insidious flying butt pliers!
Cooking burgers is easy, but if you want them juicy and with a seared crust, you need to follow some rules. I don't have a grill, just a cast iron pan and a big silicone spatula. That's all you need. I began with a pound of organic 85% lean ground beef from Costco, $4.35 a pound. A little pricey but the flavor is worth it. It has the beefiness of bison, without being too lean. A burger needs fat to stay juicy, so 80-85% is ideal. Save the 93% lean for chili. Unpackage the meat and form it into two loose patties; this wasn't freshly ground, so it's pretty tightly packed already- I tore it in two and quickly made two patties. I heated my cast iron pan on medium-high and scattered coarse salt all over the pan. I learned that trick from Julia Child's show; there's no need for cooking oil, just use salt. Put the burgers in the hot pan and sprinkle some more salt on the top side.
Let the burger rest for a few minutes like a steak, then top it with the bacon and slap it on a bun. I built mine with ketchup and hot banana pepper rings on the bottom, bacon and BBQ sauce on the top. And it was glorious. A little overcooked, next time I'll stop at 125 for myself. 720 calories of protein-packed goodness. As much as I enjoy stopping by Elevation Burger for a bite, making my own is very rewarding. Sure, the apartment is filled with smoke and smells like burgers for days, and I have a sink full of dishes to clean, but this remains one of my favorite burgers.
© 2010 Thomas Pluck.