Friday, August 12, 2011

The Best Hamburgers

If you actually like my posts about cooking you will like this one.  If you don't really care about my posts about cooking, you should still pay attention because this is one of the best recipes I have ever invented.

I'm always trying to make the perfect burger.  I've dabbled in turkey burgers and veggie burgers, both of which have turned out quite delicious in their own right, however as proven in the Parks and Recreation burger cookoff episode it's pretty tough to actually beat a good old fashioned beef patty, no matter how you dress up its competitor.

I've been inspired to try to make a healthier hamburger since learning of a Weight Watchers burger recipe that includes more chopped veggies and mushrooms than actual meat, yet still tastes amazing, so I rarely make a straight meat burger anymore because what do you have to lose by adding healthy ingredients without sacrificing flavour?

One of the problems with hamburgers though is that some of the best toppings (cheese, mushrooms, fried onions, and bacon) are hard to distribute evenly.  For example, how many of us have put bacon on a burger only to accidentally pull out an entire strip on the first bite?  Or have the cheese and other toppings get pushed out to the edges of the bun so that the middle of the burger is very weak in toppings?  I'm happy to report that last night I successfully used the Weight Watchers vegetable technique to solve some of these problems.

With that, here is my recipe for possibly the best hamburger I've ever had.  Not 100% healthy but with a ratio of approximately 1:1 "bad" stuff to "good" stuff, it's a lot better than ordering a Wendy's Baconator and tastes better too.

This recipe made 7 medium sized patties so it would probably be good for about 4 large patties.

Mix together (quantities are approximate):

1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
4 strips of cooked bacon (crumbled)
1/2-1 cup cooked couscous
1 egg
A few tbsp barbeque sauce
1-2 cups of finely chopped, cooked and drained of excess liquid mushrooms and onions
1-2 tbsp garlic powder (or include minced garlic with the mushrooms and onions)
1 lb extra lean ground beef (you're adding extra fat with the cheese and bacon so you don't have to worry about sacrificing juiciness by using the leanest beef)
1/2 tsp pepper
DO NOT add salt - there is enough of that from the cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce and adding extra salt will make these too salty!

Form into patties and fry on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side or BBQ.

My only issue is that I haven't yet figured out the best technique for cooking burgers on the stove without slightly burning them - but in this case, the black that you see didn't taste burnt at all, it was just super caramelized so no problems there!

I topped it with more mushrooms and onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomato (no extra cheese needed) and ate it on a whole wheat bun.  While it may not be the healthiest recipe, the fact that only about 1/2 cup of cheese and 4 strips of bacon were needed to add awesome bacony cheesy flavour through the entire burger actually prevents you from topping it with more cheese and bacon, so it's unhealthy topping portion control.

The couscous was something I decided to try because I had some leftover couscous in my fridge, but what a great idea.  It's like adding breadcrumbs but better because it helps the burger retain moisture and is completely undetectable in the finished product, and adds some fibre too.  I don't think I'll ever omit it from burgers in the future.

Trust me, make these and enjoy one of the best burgers ever.

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