Lynne's burger-obsessed friend Les Meltzer has waxed on forever about his pinnacle burger experience from years ago in Minot, North Dakota. There, a certain bar would practically burn their burgers on the grill to get them extra crusty and brown, then drop them into a vat of simmering BBQ sauce to finish.
It's divine inspiration in these times of required well-done patties that end up as dry as dirt.
Wine: Try a big California Zinfandel, slightly chilled to tamp down the alcohol and freshen the wine.
1 pound ground chuck, 85% lean, organic and grass-fed if possible
1 fresh jalapeño chile, minced
1/2 medium onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 hamburger buns
Condiments of choice
1. With a light hand, blend the chuck with the chile, onion, salt, and pepper. Gently pat the meat into 4 equal patties about 1-1/4 inches thick, and set aside.
2. Put the BBQ sauce in a deep 6-quart pot and bring to a gentle simmer.
3. Coat a large skillet with a thin film of oil, and set it over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the burgers and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until they are a deep, crusty brown. Remove the burgers from the skillet and slip them into the simmering BBQ sauce. Simmer at a slow bubble for 6 to 7 minutes for medium (140°F. to 145°F. on an instant-read thermometer) and 8 to 9 minutes for medium to medium-well.
4. Remove the meat from the BBQ sauce and assemble the burgers on the buns. Garnish with condiments as you please.
From The Splendid Table's® How to Eat Weekends: New Recipes, Stories & Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2011). Copyright© 2011 by American Public Media. Photographs copyright© 2011 by Ellen Silverman.
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