Everyone likes burgers grilled outdoors over a charcoal or gas fire. Slide a juicy one onto a lightly grilled bun, add some fresh sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and onions and enjoy an American tradition.
A hamburger feast is great for a poolside party or backyard get-together or to end a fun-filled day.
The best ground beef for burgers is chuck. You might be tempted to buy leaner sirloin but for the juiciness we crave in our hamburgers, go with a mixture of chuck, which contains more fat, and sirloin, which has great flavor.
Make the patties several hours before cooking. If you like, mix the ground beef with finely chopped onions and herbs such as chopped thyme or parsley. Sprinkle a little Worcestershire sauce or steak sauce into the meat, too, for extra flavor.
Mix the meat with your fingers. Do not overmix but manipulate the chopped beef only until the chuck and sirloin are evenly combined and any added ingredients are incorporated.
Pat the meat into slightly rounded patties. Do not compress the meat -- this will make the burgers tougher than you desire since the juices won't flow as easily through the meat.
Lay the burgers on a baking sheet or shallow pan. Lay wax paper between layers of burgers. Refrigerate the patties until time for grilling. Never leave ground meat at room temperature; it's not safe.
Turkey burgers are as easy to make as beef burgers. For the best flavor, look for ground turkey breast. Turkey tends to be drier than beef, which is why so many recipes suggest you bind it with bread crumbs, chopped onions or apples, or even another chopped meat such as ground veal or pork.
When it's time for the meal, take the patties directly from the refrigerator and lay them over hot coals on the grilling grid. Grill them for three to five minutes on each side, depending on the degree of doneness you like. Be sure to cook turkey burgers thoroughly.
Do not flip the hamburgers more than once during cooking. Do not press down on them with the flat of a spatula. Both bad habits result in tough, dry burgers!
The Rest of the Meal
Hamburger buns are best if grilled lightly on the edge of the grill so that they crisp a little on the outside but stay soft on the inside.
Slice tomatoes and red onions and wash some leafy lettuce. Pickles, ketchup, mustard, steak sauce, and salsa are all delicious on burgers. Set these out and let everyone construct the hamburgers the way they like them.
We love potato salad with this meal. The Potato and Artichoke Salad here is a slightly sophisticated version of this picnic favorite. If you don't like it, substitute your favorite potato salad recipe.
Don't forget chips!
For dessert, we suggest a cobbler made with fresh berries and peaches. Top each warm serving with a generous dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.
If you don't have the energy to make cobbler, slice up some watermelon and supply the kids with ice pops. How great!