by Kara Kimbrough
When the clock strikes five on September 4, Friday evening, and Labor Day weekend officially begins, there will be those who’ll fire up the grill and tantalize guests and the neighbors with the aroma of grilled burgers during the long weekend. Then, there are the rest of us who'll be begging the grillmeister to speed up the burgers-in-progress
Those of us waiting with paper plates in hand to receive the last “official” grilled burger of summer won't be able to help ourselves. Once the aroma of a sizzling burger hits the air, it’s impossible to sit back and nibble on chips and salsa.
There's nothing better than a Labor Day burgerfest to feed family and friends. And stocking up on ground meat, buns, condiments and other cookout accoutrements is easy since most items are now on sale at the supermarket. But, the main reason to serve burgers and all the trimmings is that they’re just plain good.
Despite their familiarity, burgers don’t have to be boring. First, invest in a simple burger press, found in the gadget aisle of most supermarkets. Don’t bother buying the stuffed burger gadget. Add your favorite ingredient between two patties, put it into the less-expensive press and you’ll experience the same (and often better) results. Plus, you’ll have uniform burgers with perfectly-shaped surfaces on which to pile your favorite toppings.
“So many burgers, so little time,” describes the number of burger recipes floating around. Each one is perfect for the grill and adjusts to the oven if you’re cooking indoors.
1. Mix ground chuck or turkey with grated Gruyere cheese, Dijon mustard, scallions and garlic before forming into patties and throwing on the grill.
2. Or, add barbecue sauce and minced onion to ground pork for a new twist on grilled meat. For an exotic burger, pulse pulled chicken pieces, ginger, paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper in the food processor and form into Tandori-style chicken burgers.
3. My favorite burger recipe is fail-proof and fabulous: stuff a spoonful of chive and onion cream cheese between two patties, seal with a burger press, grill to a crispy finish and top with caramelized onions, sliced tomatoes and lettuce between two toasted buns with a splash of mayo and ketchup. With a serving of onion rings on the side, Labor Day can't possibly get any better.
Here’s another fabulous burger recipe to insure your Labor Day weekend is equally spectacular.
Red, White & Blue Special Sauce Burger
-1 cup crumbled blue cheese or plain Greek yogurt
-1 cup sour cream
-1/3 cup ketchup
-1/3 cup pickle relish
-2 pounds ground chuck
-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
-3 tablespoons grated onion
-Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
-12 slices smoky bacon
-1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
-Sesame-seed hamburger buns, lightly toasted
-Beefsteak tomato, sliced
-Red onion, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
For the Red, White & Blue Special Sauce: in a small bowl, mix blue cheese or yogurt, sour cream, ketchup and relish.
In a medium bowl, mix beef, Worcestershire and grated onion; season with salt and black pepper. Form into four patties (thinner in the centers for even cooking).
On a slotted broiler pan or a rack set in a baking sheet, arrange the bacon in a single layer. Bake until crispy, about 18 minutes.
Add the oil, one turn of the pan, to the cast-iron skillet. Add the patties and cook, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Place the patties on the bun bottoms. Add bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion. Coat the bun tops with Red, White & Blue Special Sauce; set on burgers.