Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Juicy Well-Done Burgers

I saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) the other day and thought it looked pretty great and really easy. Here’s what they have to say about burgers:

Taste tests proved that well-done burgers made with 80 percent lean chuck were noticeably moister than burgers made from leaner beef, but they still weren't juicy enough. Adding a panade (a paste of bread and milk paste) to the ground beef creates burgers that are juicy and tender even when well-done. To punch up the flavor, we also added minced garlic and tangy steak sauce.

To keep our burgers from puffing up the way most burgers do, we made use of a previous test kitchen discovery: If you make a slight depression in the center of the patty, it will puff slightly as it cooks and level out to form a flat top.

Serves 4

1 large slice high-quality white sandwich bread , crust removed and discarded, bread chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium clove garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons steak sauce , such as A-1
1 1/2 pounds 80 percent lean ground chuck
6 ounces cheese , sliced, (optional)
4 hamburger buns or rolls

Step 1: Mash bread and milk in large bowl with fork until homogeneous (you should have about 1/4 cup). Stir in salt, pepper, garlic, and steak sauce.

Step 2: Break up beef into small pieces over bread mixture. Using fork or hands, lightly mix together until mixture forms cohesive mass. Divide meat into 4 equal portions. Gently toss one portion of meat back and forth between hands to form loose ball. Gently flatten into 3/4-inch-thick patty that measures about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Press center of patty down with fingertips until it is about 1/2 inch thick, creating a slight depression in each patty. Repeat with remaining portions of meat.

Step 3: Grill burgers on hot grill, uncovered, until well seared on first side, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip burgers and continue grilling, about 3 minutes for medium-well or 4 minutes for well-done. Place cheese (optional) on each of the burgers about 2 minutes before they reach desired doneness, covering burgers with disposable aluminum pan to melt cheese.

Step 4: While burgers grill, toast buns on cooler side of grill, rotating buns as necessary to toast evenly. Serve burgers on toasted buns.

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