Weather in the Pacific Northwest is known to be fickle. Any given year could prove June to be lovely and balmy and the next could be cold and rainy, with temperatures rarely elevating above 60.
This year, June 2012, we have been hovering around the 60-degree mark, with many evenings being in the high-40s to low 50s and only a few days hitting 75. Since we don't have air conditioning in our home, I can't really complain about cooler night temperatures and 75 is a wonderfully pleasant temperature for daytime.
All of that to say ... when the marine layer burned off this morning and the sun finally found its way through the cloud cover, I knew what we would do for dinner. We would grill hamburgers ...
After all, it IS June. And grills should be firing on all cylinders, right?
I had everything prepped so that when Ken got home, he fired up the grill and further earned his keep as the Grill Master. They were delicious and gave us hope that a bit more summer is headed to our hemisphere!
My perfect burger:
- I don't buy the leanest beef possible. If you do so for health reasons, I'll absolutely cheer you on, but for taste, you need just a bit more fat in it to lend tenderness and taste. I usually get 15% and today, I got Angus for $3.99/pound. 23% beef will shrink way too much for the buns. If you don't have to be concerned for health reasons, I suggest enjoying a great burger just the way you like it, but perhaps a bit less often.
- Home-grilled hamburgers are usually way too small for the buns sold in the market. I usually buy enough to make 1/2 pound burgers because of the shrinkage. And, like a kitchen nerd, I use my antique scale to measure it out. Yes, I do.
- Sauteed mushrooms are one of my favorite toppings. Since I "inherited" Mama Trudy's cast iron skillet, I've been sauteeing them in that with an equal amount of olive oil and butter. Excellent! Salted, peppered, a bit of garlic ... Yum.
- Cheese? Yes, please and make it blue. Most people prefer American or Cheddar so choose what you like, but beef and cheese just go together. Think about it.
- Condiments ... my favorites are mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and BBQ sauce. Hold the ketchup.
- Other toppings: lettuce, thin onion (preferably red and only 2-3 strands ... and please no WHOLE slices!), homemade pickles, tomatoes ...
- Oh man. Put all of that on a grilled whole wheat bun, and I'm a super happy camper.
So ... how are the temperatures where you live? (I know you folks down under are in winter...) What are your favorite hamburger toppings?