It’s time. Maybe past time. The Secret of Summer Cheeseburger is smoking on my (little) grill, and the fireflies are out here at the Small Table. Perfect summer nights require perfect summer food, and this burger is #1 on that list. A few years ago, I was watching my favorite guy-who-wears-a-bowtie, Chris Kimball (formerly of America’s Test Kitchen on PBS). He was talking about how you may not want to grill a burger that is not all the way cooked through for a child. I had to agree. His answer to this was simple and awesome, and even though I like a good medium-burger sometimes, I have found the Chris Kimball method rocks the taste and texture, as well as the moisture content of a well-grilled burger.
Mr. Kimball adds a small amount of bread and milk to the burger mixture, as if he were making a meatloaf. This keeps the burger moist– very important if you decide you want it well-done. He also gives the advice of making a small thumb-indent in the middle of the uncooked burger, so that you don’t get that strange burger-bulge– the way a cooked burger somehow puffs up in the center. If you are interested, here are more burger-hints from Cook’s Country (also started by Chris Kimball.) Best of luck to Mr. Kimball in his new ventures! I’ll always be a fan. Here is my version of the recipe:
Place a scant tablespoon of dry breadcrumbs or 1/4-slice of torn-up white bread into a bowl. Add milk one teaspoon at a time, mixing until you get a paste-like consistency. This usually takes me about 3 teaspoons.
Now add the rest of the ingredients, and mix gently but well. Form into a patty, and make a small thumb-indent in the center of the burger. (If you have bought one pound or more of beef, preserve the rest as described in this post.)
Grill to your liking, but don’t be afraid to go all the way to well-done. The panade (bread/milk mixture) will keep the burger moist. Add cheese a few minutes before removing the burger from the grill, so it has time to get melty. Find some cold ginger ale and a bag of chips, and drift off into the summer night bite-by-bite!
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