Cooking Lesson 1: Burgers


So, what to pick for my first recipe. I don’t want to choose something too easy (lasagna) or boring (breaded chicken breast). I thought of what I ate growing up: hamburgers. Every single time I went out for dinner at a new restaurant, I’d get a cheeseburger. I still love ’em to this day. Perfect first dish.

Consulted my books. Betty Crocker told me I could grill, broil, or pan fry my burgers. No place for a grill in our balcony-lacking 2nd floor apartment. Pan frying – eh. Broiling them would make me face my fear of the oven (once got burned pretty bad taking a cake out of the oven – been scared since). Julia and Alton didn’t present any other methods, just elaborated on them a bit.


Betty thinks burgers should be broiled 6″ away from the element for 6 minutes per side. Julia, on the other hand, thinks broiling should only be chosen when it’s possible to cook the burgers one inch away from the element for a minute and a half per side. After a little measuring of our broiler’s three levels (3 1/4″, 4 3/4″, and 5 1/4″ from the element) I decided to trust Julia and her 1″ 1.5 minute combination.

If making my first non-boxed, non-canned, non-frozen, non-delivered meal in my life wasn’t hard enough…Matt had me grind the burger myself. It’s not all that hard but part of me really wanted to just grab a pound of ground chuck at the local butcher shop. But, I’ll admit, he was right. The burgers turned out really juicy though I think I’d prefer them to be a little more cooked through and browned.


Juicy Broiled Burgers

10 oz chuck roast
Salt and pepper

Meat grinder
Broiler pan/tray

1. Place broiler pan/tray on top rack of broiler. Turn broiler on.

2. Cut meat into 3″ x 1″ by 1/2″ strips (small enough to fit into meat grinder).

3. Grind meat, alternating between fattier and leaner strips.

4. Salt and pepper ground meat as needed. “As needed” means more than you think if you have no sense for these things and less than you think if you do.

5. Form patties 3/4″ thick and approx 4″ in diameter. Make small indention in center to assure flat patties post-cooking.

6. Place patties on broiler pan/tray and cook 2 minutes per side. If adding cheese, add one minute before burgers are done.


3 Responses to “Cooking Lesson 1: Burgers”

  1. 1 Deborah Dowd February 22, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    It may be a bit more trouble, but meat you grind yourself (I usually use a food processor) makes incredible burgers. My kids call these steakburgers, and besides the taste, the other advantages are you can control the fat and grind, and these days when ground beef is recalled, your own ground meat made from one steak or roast is much less likely to be contaminated than the store hamberger made of many bits and pieces!

  2. 2 Adele February 23, 2008 at 11:43 am

    That looks like one seriously delicious burger. Bravo! 🙂

  3. 3 Hillary March 6, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    You ground your own beef? I’m impressed. That looks fantastic! I too ordered burgers at every restaurant I’d go to as a child!

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