Rushville Republican

June 20, 2012

Cooks Corner: Hamburgers

Ron Tolliver
Rushville Republican

RUSHVILLE — Let's talk about hamburgers this time. Just about everyone likes burgers. It is easy to be creative with just a little imagination. Why leave all the creativity to the fast food chains?  You can change the entire theme  of your burger just by adding seasonings and the style you cook them. You can bake, broil, fry or grill them and generally they are hard to make a mistake. They can be marinated, basted or dry seasoned. They can also be made into patties, rolls or meatloaf style. They can be served on various flavors of buns, open faced or without any bread and simply placed on your plate.

The differences in fat content of beef well determines the basic moisture when cooking. Regular ground beef marked 70/30 has 30% fat content and while you will have a little more shrinkage, they generally have more moisture when cooked. 80/20 ground chuck while with less fat still cooks well and retains enough juice to work well and give you a lot of flavor. While 90/10 ground sirloin has a lot of flavor in the meat moisture need to be added to avoid dryness.

Avoid flipping the burger multiple times and never flatten them with a spatula as this will force the moisture out of the meat. Depending on thickness of your burger they can be cooked over low, medium or high heat.

When using ground beef you need to attain an internal temperature of 165 degrees. This will eliminate any bacteria that may be harmful. The difference between hamburgers and steak is that hamburger is internally exposed to air that may carry bacteria. While the steaks and roasts are dense enough to prevent the bacteria from entering.

I would feel remiss if I did not include other meats in making burgers. Using different meats such as ground pork, ground turkey and so on, well you get the picture. In general any style of cooking hamburgers will apply to these other meats. They create a change in flavors and textures. When using any of these meats including beef  do not compress the meat into to tight of patties. Lightly mix with seasonings and mold into patty form. Some of your drier meats you may want to add  moisture when preparing meat for cooking. One that I like is melted butter mixed into the meat. It will add a richness to the flavor as well as moisture. The down side of using butter is that it will increase the fat content.

Toppings can be used besides the normal cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and onion. Basted with barbeque, chipolte, Italian dressing or any number of others will be very pleasing to your family and guests. As I have said before you are only limited by experience, creativity and imagination. Most people I know have been invited somewhere for a burger cookout. Once there the host throws a little salt and pepper on the meat and places it on the grill. Except for the companionship the food can be quite boring. Let's kick it up a step and make a memorable event. Make it pleasurable to eye, smell and taste. Accomplish these three things and you have got the makings for a great burger party with out a great amount of expense.

A Hill Of A Burger

serves 4

This will get a big wow from your family and guests

2 lbs ground beef chuck

1 1/3cups sour cream

1/3cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons dried minced onion

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/3cup crushed cornflakes


4 bottom halves hamburger buns

1 medium tomato sliced

1 unskinned cucumber sliced and fluted


3/4cup sour cream

4 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

preheat grill to medium high heat

combine first 6 ingredients

crush corn flakes with hands

stir corn flakes into meat mixture

allow to stand for 1 hour

divide mixture into 4 equal parts

further divide by removing 1/3 of each portion

form the larger portion into a patty about 3 1/2inches

the smaller into a patty about 3 inches

grill over medium high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes per side

turning once

butter the cut side of bun and place on grill to toast slightly

combine topping ingredients and set aside

now we build a hill

place larger burger on toasted bun

add a slice of tomato

add 2 or 3 cucumber slices over tomato

place smaller burger patty on top of cucumber slices

pour topping mixture over top of burger and allow to run down sides

using a long toothpick skewer a stuffed green olive and a cherry tomato

press end into top burger allowing it to stand erect

COOK'S NOTE: you can flute the cucumber by dragging a fork


Ron's Best Cajun Burger

serves 4


3 tablespoons cumin

3 tablespoons oregano

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1/2teaspoon white pepper

1/2teaspoon black pepper

1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper


1/4cup finely grated white onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2tablespoon Cajun seasoning mix

1 teaspoon Louisiana brand hot sauce

1/2teaspoon thyme

1/4teaspoon basil

1 clove finely minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely minced green onion tops

1 1/2lbs ground beef chuck

4 slices smoked cheddar cheese

1 large red onion thinly sliced

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoon canola oil

4 large hamburger buns

in a resealable plastic bag combine ingredients

for Cajun seasoning mix and set aside


in a large mixing bowl down to and

including meat

mix well but do not squish

cover and refrigerate overnight

1 hour before use form into 4 patties

grill over medium high heat for 5 to 7 minutes per side

or until done

while grilling burgers melt butter in skillet and add oil

when hot add red onions and saute until very tender

brush cut sides of hamburger buns with butter and oil mixture

lightly toast on grill

place burgers on toasted buns and top with cheese and onions


Pickle In The Middle Burger

serves 8

2 lbs ground beef chuck

2 cups soft bread crumbs

2 eggs slightly beaten

1 1/4cup evaporated milk

3/4cup finely minced onion

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon salt

1/4teaspoon black pepper

1/4teaspoon white pepper

4 to 5 whole dill pickles

combine all ingredients except pickles

mix well with spoon

place mixture on an 18 inch length of aluminum foil

form meat into a roll

press pickles into middle of roll

form meat over and around pickles

wrap foil around meat and seal securely

place on medium heat grill or preheated oven at 375 degrees

turn package a quarter turn every 10 minutes

continue cooking and turning for a total cooking time of 40 minutes

remove from heat and place on serving platter

you can keep foil under meat for easier clean up

serve meatloaf style or placed on toasted buns

Ron's Pork Burgers

serves 4

2 lbs fresh ground pork

2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper

1 1/2tablespoons liquid smoke

1/2tablespoon white pepper

1/2tablespoon black pepper

1/2tablespoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon celery salt

combine all ingredients mixing well

place in resealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight

when ready to cook form into 4 patties

place on grill over medium high indirect heat

grill for about 15 to 20 minutes per side

allowing to cook slowly

place on buttered toasted buns

alternative: you can turn about every 5 minutes

basting tops with favorite barbeque sauce. I prefer a Memphis

style sauce.

Oriental Burgers

serves 6

1/2cup water

1/2cup soy sauce

6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

3 lbs beef ground round

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 clove garlic mashed and minced

1/2teaspoon white pepper

6 rectangular french rolls

3 sliced tomatoes

1 green bell pepper cut into rings

combine water, soy sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire,

ginger, garlic and white pepper mixing well

set aside

form meat into 6 long patties to fit french rolls

place meat in 9 x 13 inch baking pan

pour marinade over meat lifting meat for bottom side

cover and refrigerate for 2 hours

baste occasionally

remove patties from marinade and drain briefly

reserve marinade

place on broiler pan if broiling

broiling or grilling place meat about 4 inches

from heat source

if grilling use medium high heat

cook about 6 to 8  minutes per side

baste several times with marinade

split rolls and lightly butter cut side

place rolls on grill or under broiler

lightly toast

place finished burgers on bottom half of bun

top with sliced tomatoes and pepper rings


Ron's Oriental Turkey Burgers

serves 6

2 lbs ground turkey

1/4cup fine dry bread crumbs

1 lightly beaten large egg

3 tablespoons finely minced green onion with tops

2 tablespoons finely minced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic mashed and minced

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1/2teaspoon black pepper

1/2teaspoon white pepper

2 1/2tablespoons soy sauce

6 large hamburger bums

combine all ingredients except buns

mix well with spoon

cover and refrigerate for 1 hour

divide and form into 6 patties

cook about 4 inches from heat source

whether grilling or broiling

cook about 6 to 7 minutes per side

or until no longer pink inside

place on buttered and lightly toasted bun

cook's note: you can top each pattie with

a pineapple ring


Ron's Carrot And Horseradish Burger

serves 6

This one will surprise you

2 1/2lbs ground beef chuck

2 large eggs

2 carrots very finely shredded

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 envelope onion soup mix

2 teaspoons powdered mustard

1/2teaspoon white pepper

combine all ingredients mixing well with a spoon

allow to set covered for 1 hour

divide and form into 6 patties

place about 4 inches from heat source

if grilling use medium high heat

cook about 6 to 8 minutes per side

place on buttered lightly toasted buns

cook's note: I top with smoked sharp cheddar cheese slice