The strangest thing I ate this week: Chinatown Brasserie, NY
Sabor in Hawthorne, NJ: initial thoughts [CLOSED]

'tis a silly burger

Skillet_burger1

Generally speaking, I prefer a grilled burger, about 6 ounces, over any other kind.  When done correctly, you'll get some wonderful char and end up with a nice, juicy beast of a burger.  So that's what I focus on.

But after seeing Hamburger America, a very tasty documentary by George Motz, it occurred to me that burgers can be good no matter how you cook them.  Specifically, griddle-cooked burgers can be wonderful. 

Let's face it, a lot of the good burgers that you've had over the years have been cooked on a griddle.  Not least of all the Shake Shack in New York.  So I figured I'd try to make a burger in that fashion, with good meat (25% fat thank you). 

To my mind this approach calls for a thinner, smaller patty.  And don't expect medium-rare:  you're cooking this thing fast, but since it's so thin, it'll be done before you know it.

The bonus of this type of cooking is the fast and uniform caramelization, or Maillardization, or whatever the hell it is (Don't confuse the two, Wiki warns.  Yeah, if you're a scientist).  The browning and crusting.  How about that.

Ideally I'm doing two 3 or 4 ounces patties for each burger (gotta double it up).  Get yourself a hot skillet, with a little oil or butter, and drop those patties in, nicely salted and peppered of course.  Immediately squish them down so that they're pressed down real good on the skillet surface.  This promotes the caramaillarbrowing by maximizing the surface area of the burger in contact with the hot skillet.  Don't worry about the "rule" that you shouldn't smoosh your meat when you're cooking:  that's very true once the meat starts cooking and wanting to give up its juices, but when you first plop those meatballs in the skillet, it's not a concern.


Burgers_in_the_skillet

Dese ones here were on the big side of ideal.

My usual toppings for a grilled burger include nothing more than sliced onion and ketchup.  For this type of roadside burger stand burger, though, I go with tomato, a little bit of mayo on the bottom bun to form a barrier to keep the juices from making it soggy (thanks, Alton), ketchup, and some sweet pickles that my buddy Dean from Chicago sent me back with.

That is all.

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