Ground beef (Recipe: burgers)
If there's really a hamburger heaven, please save a seat for me.
I'm an unapologetic burger lover.
I love them all: the fat ones and the flat ones, sit-down or drive-through, blue cheese or Swiss cheese, buns with seeds or no buns at all. Slather on some ketchup -- that's all I ask.
Ground beef always has a home in The Perfect Pantry, not just for burgers, but for stuffed zucchini with brown rice, beef enchiladas, horseradish meatloaf, puffy tacos, Persian meat patties, Argentinean empanadas, Beijing sauce noodles, Thai meatballs and Greek meatballs and spaghetti and meatballs.
Did you know that there's a difference between ground beef and hamburger? According to the US Department of Agriculture, beef fat may be added to hamburger, but not to ground beef, whether the meat is ground and packaged at a USDA-inspected plant or in your local market (as is often the case). A maximum of 30 percent fat by weight is allowed in either hamburger or ground beef. Both can have seasonings, but no added water, phosphates, extenders, or binders.
For most cooking, like stews and stuffings, I buy the leanest ground beef I can find, as lean as 93/7 (which has 7 percent fat). For burgers, a fattier mix like 80/20 will produce a juicier burger. Follow your heart, or your cardiologist's dictates, to decide how much fat is fine for you.
It's the perfect time to enjoy a burger. Go ahead. Indulge.
I'll save a seat for you, right next to me, in hamburger heaven.
How to cook a frozen burger
I was too embarrassed to write a recipe for how to cook a burger. Really, you know how, don't you? Then I decided to follow the instructions that came with my Roseda Steakburgers. I was skeptical; I'd never grilled burgers straight from the freezer before. I'd never gone flip, flip, flip before. But the burgers we made were so delicious that I had to share the instructions with you (notes in parentheses indicate where we deviated a bit, as you knew we would).
Take the burgers straight from your freezer to the grill. (Note: the burgers were a generous half-inch thick.)
Preheat your grill (gas or charcoal) on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
3,3,3,2,2,1: Cook your burger for three minutes, flip, and cook for another three minutes, and then flip and cook for another three. Flip two more times, cooking for two minutes on each side. And then finish it off by cooking for one more minute. This should give you a medium-well to well-done burger. (After following those directions on the first batch, and coming up with a very well-done burger, we tried 3,3,3,2, and achieved medium-rare to medium. If you're making a cheeseburger, add your cheese in the last 30-45 seconds.)
Hold the ketchup: There's no reason to add anything but salt and pepper. (I wouldn't think of holding the ketchup, or the cheese. We didn't salt and pepper the burgers, either; they were quite flavorful as is, and we're not really big on salting our food. And there's salt in the ketchup.)