Summer is the season of farmers markets, relaxing in the backyard and grilling. And what's more classic than grilling burgers? This year, I have resolved to do more grilling and I've been looking for interesting recipes. So imagine my surprise when I got this month's issue of Food & Wine and grill-master Adam Fleischman was extolling the virtues of making burgers on a griddle! It seemed wrong and intriguing at the same time. I decided to see how his burgers would stack up on a beautiful night when the smell of charcoal was wafting all over the neighborhood.
- Flavor/texture: Let me just be honest - these burgers were outstanding! Simple but strong flavors and the patties were moist and messy. In other words, they were perfect.
- Difficulty: Amazingly easy and quick to prepare.
- Pros: Everything about the burgers was great and I liked the twist on typical steamed onion sliders. I was worried that smashing the patties with a spatula would just end badly, but it worked out well.
- Cons: I wouldn't change or add anything, which is a rare thing!
- Misc: I used 80/20 ground Angus beef, which was perfect. If the beef is too lean, I don't think the onions will cook properly. I like my meat medium, so I cooked the burgers for about 3 minutes per side. I went with a bun made of egg bread. I forgot to toast them, but they were still good. I also omitted the recipe step of covering your skillet with a roasting pan to help melt the cheese. I forgot to do it and it didn't make a difference overall. I don't like pickles, so I scrapped them and topped my burger with tomato, ketchup and mustard.
- Repeat Performance: This will definitely be my go-to burger recipe when grilling isn't feasible.
Cheddar and Onion Smashed Burgers
Adam Fleischman for Food & Wine, June 2011
16 thin bread and butter pickles, patted dry
4 potato buns, buttered and toasted
1 1/4 lbs ground beef chuck
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 small onions, sliced paper thin
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
Heat a cast-iron griddle over medium heat. Layer the pickle slices on the bottom buns.
Without overworking the meat, loosely form it into 4 balls and place them on the griddle. Cook the meatballs for 30 seconds. Using a large sturdy spatula, flatten each ball into a 5-inch round patty. Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, until well seared. Press a handful of sliced onions on each patty. Using the spatula, carefully flip each burger so the onions are on the bottom. Cook for 2 minutes. Top patties with cheese. Cover with a roasting pan and cook just until the cheese is melted, 1 minute more. Transfer the burgers with the onions to the buns. Top and serve.
Grab a napkin or two and dig in!