Ultimate Cheeseburger

ultimate cheeseburgerWhen given dinner options in our house, where boys rule, the answer is always unanimous, “Cheeseburgers!” I must admit that I love cheeseburgers too, and not just because they’re simple and easy to prepare, but because Niman Ranch has amazing ground beef.

During the week we usually cook the burgers indoors in a cast iron skillet over high heat. On weekends, especially when the boys’ buddy, Dash, comes over we always make sure to fire up the charcoal grill in time for an afternoon of burgers and playtime.

The other benefit to burgers is they can be simple for the kids and more gourmet for the adults. Jazz ‘em up any way you like.

Best Burgers

Makes 4 8-ounce or 8 4-ounce Patties
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes

2 pounds Niman Ranch Fresh Ground Beef
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 minced green onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
8 hamburger buns
8 slices Niman Applewood Smoked Bacon, cooked
Garlic Mushrooms – see recipe below
Caramelized Onions – see recipe below
8 slices avocado

Combine hamburger, cheese, green onions and garlic in a bowl. Mix until well combined and divide the mixture into 4 equal sections ( 8 4-ounce or 4 8-ounce patties). Form each section into a ball and then flatten each into a patty. Grill, broil or pan-fry the burgers on 1 side, flip to finish cooking (use the chart below to gauge cooking time).

Toast the buns (essential) while the burgers are cooking, and spread with condiments of choice. Pile on the cooked bacon, garlic mushrooms, grilled onions, and sliced avocado. You might want to cut this monster in half before eating.

Cooking Times

Use the following chart as a guide to cooking time. Times are based on a 1-inch thick burger and will vary depending on the thickness of your patties and cooking method.

4 minutes on each side – rare
5 minutes on each side – medium-rare
6 minutes on each side – medium
7 minutes on each side – medium-well
8 minutes on each side – well-done

Garlic Mushrooms

Slice about a pound of mushrooms. Sauté with lots of butter, minced garlic, and a pinch of salt. As the mushrooms cook, they’ll shrink in size, so start with more than you think you’ll need. White button mushrooms work well, but you might also try a mixture of portobello, shiitake and oyster mushrooms for a gourmet touch.

Caramelized Onions

Cut a couple of onions in half lengthwise and slice thinly. Sauté with a lump of butter, and a pinch each of sugar and salt. As the onions cook, the natural sugars will be drawn to the surface and then caramelize, resulting in a deep brown color. A dash of balsamic vinegar will brighten the flavor and add to the onions’ sweetness.

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