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The perfect hamburger for an outdoor dinner.
Having a pool, we enjoy going for a swim just before dinner at the end of a hot summers day. The water is nice and warm, the sun is not intense and it is refreshing to cool down playing with the children and doing some exercise before retiring for the day.
But once I am out of the pool, chilled and relaxed, the last thing I want to do is to cook dinner in a hot kitchen. So hamburgers are an optimal solution, they can be cooked in the outdoor gas grill and accompanied by a salad and chips from McCain.
If you have the Perfect Hamburger, it doesn’t matter if the chips come from the freezer and cooked in the oven. As I still haven’t bought the Perfect Fryer, this is the next best option.
So what is my Perfect Hamburger?
1. The meat: I tried several options: different percentage of fat, mixing the meat with seasonings for flavour, mixing the meat with breadcrumbs for tenderness.
Finally I realized that the best hamburger is the one prepared by my favourite butcher in MarcheU La Colle-sur-Loup. Just lean cuts of meat grinded fresh with a machine that shapes the meat in different hamburger sizes depending on your requirement, Small, Medium and Large.
I always choose the medium size that comes to 120 gr per hamburger, perfect for a hungry teenager! It is best just to season the outside and not to mix the meat again. The machine presses the meat at the right consistency, maintaining a tender but still firm texture.
If your favourite butcher has the same machine, try them.
2. The Bun: I sometimes buy the readymade buns at the supermarket.
Though with the Bread Machine it really doesn’t take too much time to make them myself. I pour the ingredients into the machine in the morning while I wait for my coffee, and the dough is done in 1.5 hours.
Once the dough is done, I cut it into 6 buns portion and put them in a baking pan over a baking sheet waiting for them to rise again for another 30 minutes. They then just need to cook for 30 minutes at 180C.
See the recipe Homemade Panini Buns for cooking direction.
3. Grill them: We usually cook the hamburger on the griddle with our outdoor barbeque.
Did I write “we”? In reality my husband is the meat chef. He seasons the hamburgers with olive oil, salt and pepper and cooks the hamburgers on one side for a few minutes before turning them over and repeating the process.
He adds cheese about 1 minute before they are ready, and closes the Grill top to accelerate the melting process.
We like our meet medium rare i.e. still slightly red inside.
This way they remain soft and we can still taste the flavour of the fresh meat.
4. Filling: This last step is open to everyone’s taste preferences, and I like to use something different from the usual lettuce and tomato.
When I have time, I make a red onion relish.
Its sweetness complements the buns and the sourness contrast the strong flavour of the grilled meat.
This for me is the Perfect Hamburger!