On Your Table: Nothing says Fathers Day like a great burger

Keep it simple for a grilled taste treat

By Cathy Branciaroli, Food Correspondent, The Times 

BurgersShow Dad some love on Father’s Day with grilled burgers.  They don’t need to be beef by the way, but with a few easy tips and techniques, anyone can grill perfect burgers in honor of Dad’s big day.

If you decide to make beef burgers, the key to making great steakhouse-style burgers at home is to use 80 percent lean ground beef.  The natural fat content makes for a tender burger.  Ground chuck, which is taken from the beef shoulder, would be a great choice, or a combination of chuck and ground sirloin.  If you purchase freshly ground meat, adding a little salt and pepper is all you need for seasoning.  Don’t overmix because it will make the burgers tough.  Plan on 1/3 pound of meat per burger and keep the shaped patties cold in the refrigerator until it’s time to grill. 

Some folks love ground chicken or turkey burgers, which need a little more loving care.   To form the burgers, loosely scoop up a mound of the mixture then gently pat into the burger shape.  Make sure not to overcook because these proteins are much leaner than ground meat.  They also can do with a little extra seasoning, like a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a dash of Worchestershire sauce.

Plan on cooking any of these burgers for 4 to 5 minutes per side under medium heat.  And never, ever, smash the burgers with the spatula.  This causes all those great juices to flow directly into the fire instead of adding to the juiciness of the grilled result.

Of course, you can always up the ante by switching out burger toppings.  My husband loves a classic American cheeseburger with American cheese, a tomato slice, diced white onion and mustard.  He absolutely will not consider ketchup on top of the bun.  Toppings can include sliced avocados, lettuce or even pieces of fruit.  It really depends upon your taste and the adventurous nature of your guests.

No matter what you decide to make for Father’s Day, Dad will love any of these preparations.  Simple is best and make sure to get someone else to fire up the grill.


Perfect Burgers

1 pound each ground chuck and ground sirloin

1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Tomato slices, sweet pickles, diced onion, lettuce and other toppings



Heat the grill.  In a large bowl, combine meat and seasonings carefully until just mixed.  Shape into six patties and press a thumbprint into the center of each.  Cook the patties until they reach the desired temperature, melting cheese slices on top for cheeseburgers.  Let rest for about 5 minutes and serve on toasted buns with condiments.


Cathy Branciaroli also writes about her adventures in the kitchen on her blog Delaware Girl Eats

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