Tips and Tools
Essential for the best kitchen burgers: a cast-iron skillet
I can make burger in a non-stick pan but the best burgers need to be a bit charred and, in the absence of a BBQ, a cast iron skillet is the way to go.
Of course I recommend these burgers bunless…
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots or onions
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1 to 1 1/4 pound fresh ground beef, preferably 15 to 20 percent fat
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
The key is to fry the onions/shallots first, then mix them with the raw hamburger meat (butter brings the taste of the beef out much better than olive oil). Randomly throwing in any spices that grab your imagination (onion powder, chili, chives, that leftover guacamole mix) keeps it interesting.
Make your patties very thin and pack them just enough that they won’t fall apart while cooking. Give them a good charring on in the frying pan or freeze them per above for frying later.
The Aussie Burger
… or simply “Get creative with stuff you throw on top”
- Avocado – Yes
- Any kind of sauce you can dream up without sugar – yes
- Runny Fried Egg – absolutely
- Cottage Cheese – why not
- American Processed Cheese – why not go for the real stuff?
- Fried Bacon, Onions and/or Mushrooms – of course
- Something you made out of sour cream and dill that didn’t quite turn out right – load it up
A 1/3-pound ground beef patty (80/20 meat to fat ratio) gets grilled on a flat top, and turned once. … The burger then gets blanketed in a mess of shredded mild cheddar cheese, and covered (partially) with the top of the hamburger bun. Then—and this is where the engineering comes in—a few ice cubes are tossed onto the flat top, and the whole thing is covered for 4-5 minutes, steaming and crisping up the cheese into what could be considered a skirt-like shape.
Warning: I’ve experimented with this and using ice to create the skirt is a disaster in a regular frying pan. It will only work on a flat top. In a pan you get cheese soup.
I’ve acheived the desired effect by simply using a non-stick frying pan and dumping a wad of grated cheese directly onto the burger after turning once.
Cheese Skirt without the Burger
Using this same method, you can skip the burger altogether and make yourself a crispy naked “cheese skirt” (aka fried grated cheese). It is like eating the crispy part on the outside of a grilled cheese sandwich… without the sandwich.
Yummy… and high fat factor mean you are full pretty quickly. It’s a quick comfort food.
Pan Fried Cheese: This is probably as close to junk food as low carb gets.
Next Experiment: Cheese skirts with bacon… and onion.