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LAST UPDATE: Wednesday December 17, 2014 07:10PM EST
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Build the Ultimate Burger
Get the Grilling Season Off to a Sizzling Start with These Fun—and Easy!—twists on the Backyard Favorite
CLASSIC STUFFED BURGER
1½ lbs. ground chuck
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
8 slices cheddar cheese
4 sesame seed buns
1 large onion
Lettuce and tomatoes
To stuff patties:
1. Combine beef, salt and pepper; shape into 8 (4-in.) patties. Put 2 slices of cheese between 2 beef patties. Press edges of patties together to seal.
2. Grill, covered, over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until desired doneness. Turn only once.
To caramelize onions on the grill: Thinly slice one large onion; fold a sheet of heavy-duty foil in half and arrange slices on it. Top with 1½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1½ tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Fold foil to form a tightly sealed packet. Grill over medium-high heat 15 to 20 minutes.
Secrets of the Grill
How to cook the tastiest burgers ever
1 Use the right meat. "Fat makes burgers juicy," says Jamie Purviance, author and chef for Weber Grills. "That's why I recommend chuck, which is about 80 percent lean."
2 Size it right. The ideal thickness for a raw patty is ¾ inch. "If it's much thicker, the outside will burn before the inside is done," says Purviance. "If it's thin, the burger is done before you've developed any char on the outside, and char is important to the flavor."
3 Don't flip out. "Resist the temptation and turn each burger only once," says Purviance. When you can lift the edge without sticking, it's ready to flip.
4 Put a dent in it. Burgers tend to puff up on the grill and "become like meatballs," says Purviance. The solution is to make an indentation (you can use your thumb or the back of a spoon) on the top of each raw patty. As the patty puffs up during cooking, the indent flattens out.
5 Add flavor to your fire. "Basic briquettes are fine," says Purviance, "but for more flavor, add wood chips to the fire." (Using a gas grill? Add wood chips in a foil pouch.) But skip briquettes soaked in fluid. Says Purviance: "Burgers shouldn't taste like gasoline."
Mix 1½ lbs. ground chuck with 1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chiles, 1½ tsp. ground cumin and ½ tsp. garlic powder; form into 6 patties. Top patties with slices of Monterey Jack cheese with peppers during last 2 minutes of grilling. Serve on sesame seed sandwich buns with Guacamole.
For Guacamole: Coarsely mash 2 pitted and peeled ripe avocados with 3 tbsp. chopped cilantro, 1½ tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 tsp. minced garlic, and salt and hot sauce to taste.
OLD HICKORY BURGER
Form 1½ lbs. ground chuck into 6 patties. Baste patties with Smoky Barbecue Sauce while grilling, then top with slices of American or white cheddar cheese. Serve on buns with additional sauce and bacon slices.
Smoky Barbecue Sauce: Combine 1 cup ketchup, 1 tsp. chipotle chile powder, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tbsp. honey, 2 tbsp. cider vinegar and 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce in a sauce-pan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Mix 1½ lbs. ground chuck with ½ cup bottled chopped roasted red peppers, ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, 1 tsp. dried oregano and 1 tsp. minced garlic; form into 6 patties. Grill 8 minutes or until done. Serve on Kaiser rolls with grilled onions (use cooking spray and grill on rack for 2 minutes), fresh spinach leaves and Aioli.
For Aioli: Blend 1 cup feta cheese, 1/3 cup yogurt, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 tsp. chopped garlic and ½ tsp. ground pepper until smooth. Cover and chill.
TROPICAL TURKEY BURGER
Form 1½ lbs. ground turkey and 1/3 cup chopped green onion into 6 patties. Grill patties with slices of fresh pineapple and serve on whole wheat buns with Orange-Ginger Sauce.
Orange-Ginger Sauce: Combine 1 cup light mayonnaise, 2 tbsp. finely chopped green onions, ¾ tsp. minced fresh ginger, 3 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1½ tbsp. honey, 1½ tsp. fresh orange juice and 1½ tsp. soy sauce. Cover and chill.
For a lower-fat option, use ground turkey breast.
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