Coast Cooking

Hamburgers: The options are endless from basic to complicated

Cheese of almost any sort is common on burgers today.
Cheese of almost any sort is common on burgers today. Special to the Sun Herald

Despite the many origin stories of the hamburger, Americans have made it our own, and it may be our greatest contribution to the culinary world.

In its basic form, a hamburger is simply a ground beef patty placed between two slices of bread but, boy, how far we have come from that simple premiss.

Look at what we put on a hamburger these days, including all sorts of sauces, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, pickles and more.

Today, I’ll share a few hamburger ideas, ranging from simple to a bit complex.

Don’t forget to dress your burger and some favorite accompaniments include pickles, onion, tomato and lettuce.

Basic Burger

This is just a basic burger, but if you want to upgrade this recipe a little, fry your own frozen french fries, just make sure to serve them immediately after coming out of the oil (drain and salt first).

1 pound 80-20 ground chuck

Salt and pepper

Traditional hamburger buns

Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard

Tomato, pickle, onion, lettuce

This is as simple as it gets. Buy USDA select or choice ground beef. Season the beef with salt and pepper, form into patties and fry in hot oil until done as you like it. When using store-bought ground beef, well done is probably a good idea (155 f. by the way). It is not worth a date with E. Coli bacteria. Make sure to toast the buns, and you can add a little butter if you like.

Pretty Good Burger

½ pound choice ground beef

½ pound ground pork

Thick slices white cheddar cheese

Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes

Dale’s Steak Seasoning

Crusty dark bread, sliced 2/3 inch (see the deli of your grocery store)

Heirloom tomatoes

Homemade mayonnaise

Combine the beef and pork, season aggressively and mix well. Remember the Dale’s is salty, so don’t over salt. Form into patties at least 1-inch thick, thicker if you like. Grill over a hardwood charcoal fire until just done, top with the cheese, close the grill lid and finish cooking until the cheese is melted. Toast the bread on the fire, add thick-sliced tomatoes and mayonnaise and serve at once.

A World Class Burger

1 pound ground to order prime beef

Sea salt,

fresh ground black pepper,

Red pepper flakes

1 diced jalapeno pepper

3-4 cloves finely diced garlic

Best quality olive oil

Gruyere cheese

Thick sliced, locally baked dark or wheat bread

Olive salad

Optional heirloom tomatoes

Find a grocery store that sells prime beef, pick a well-marbled cut and ask the butcher to grind it for you (he may have tears in his eyes, but he will do it for you). Be prepared to pay through the nose. Just warning you. Season aggressively, add the pepper and garlic, and mix well. Form into a patty close to 2 inches thick. Grill this bad boy over a hardwood fire, but just until medium rare or rare. Your chances of E. Coli with ground-to-order beef are slim. Add the cheese and melt. Toast the bread, assemble the burger, top with olive salad, add sliced jalapenos if you want to spice it up. Grab a handful of paper towels and dig in.