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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

06.03.2002

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burger bliss make a perfect hamburger 1 2 3
continued from page 1

season away
At its most basic, a burgerís just ground beef shaped into a bun-conducive patty shape, sprinkled with a bit of salt before cooking. If your meatís good and fresh, and youíve cooked the burger to juicy perfection, this makes a perfectly acceptable burger. But a really great burger, in my opinion, needs a little bit of seasoning.

At our house, we like to keep the flavorings pretty simple: minced onion, barbecue sauce and worcestershire sauce. But burgers are pretty receptive to just about any flavor concoction you could possible imagine. For 1Ĺ lbs. of ground beef (about four patties), you might experiment by adding:

1 1-2 cloves minced garlic
2 2-3 stalks scallion, chopped
3 Ĺ to 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
4 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
5 A few sprinkles hot sauce
6 1 Tbsp. minced capers or olives
7 diced jalapenos to taste

... or whatever else your little heart desires. As with just about all cooking, adjust quantities to suit your individual tastes. Since you canít (or rather, really shouldnít) actually taste the raw beef mixture, you can always test the seasonings by cooking up a little bit of the meat mixture in a skillet. On the other hand, if youíre feeling lazy, just use my momís method: add seasonings until the meat smells good. Actually, my normally cooking-phobic sweetie swears by this technique as well Ö basically once the meat no longer smells quite so bloody-beefy, itís probably good.

A brief word of warning: You might think itíd be a dandy idea to add salt when youíre seasoning the beef. Unfortunately, youíd be wrong. Adding salt to the mixture will only suck all the good juices out of the meat, leaving you with oh-so-tasty, bone-dry burgers in the end. Itís a much better idea to sprinkle salt on the patties just before slapping them on the grill Ė though if youíve used other seasonings, like soy sauce, worcestershire or other sauces, salt may not even be necessary.

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