Ahh, summer. Birds are chirping, lawn mowers are motoring along, and children are urinating in kiddie pools. Who doesn't love summer?
One of my favorite parts of this time of year is getting together with friends and family and grilling in the great outdoors. If you are a young twenty-something like myself, it is a really fun way to socialize. But it can also be daunting! What do I make? How do I turn on the grill without it exploding? And how do I get that nasty crust off the grill afterwards?
No worries, my friends. In this two part series, I will include some delicious grilling recipes and outdoor eating tips. Today is my recipe for my Big Ass Burger, and Wednesday I will post ideas for starters, sides, and even grilled dessert. Enjoy!
The Main Event: the Big Ass Burger
Nothing screams summertime like a big ole mouth-watering grilled burger. But not just any burger. My Big Ass Burger is a monstrosity of flavor that will fill you up and give your jaw a workout. 1/3 lb. of grass-fed beef topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms, Muenster cheese, lettuce, and tomato, all on a kaiser roll. Sometimes you just need to indulge a little!
Below are the toppings and accompaniments I used, but feel free to mix it up.
- 1/3 lb.ground beef. Since I was indulging, I splurged and bought grass-fed beef. Grass-fed is more expensive, but it is much healthier and has an intense, sweet flavor. Cows are meant to eat grass, and the proof is in the beef!
- 2 tbsp. olive oil. Since grass-fed beef is less fatty, this will help the meat stay rich and moist. Use less if using regular ground beef.
- Salt and garlic pepper to taste
- 2 slices Muenster cheese
- 1 slice tomato
- 1 onion
- 1 kaiser roll. You need a quality roll to stand up to the Big Ass Burger. None of those wimpy Wonderbread hamburger buns that fall apart.
- 2 leafs of romaine lettuce
- 1 handful white mushrooms
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
TIP #1: Before you even head out to the grill, you can whip up some amazing caramelized mushrooms and onions to top your Big Ass Burger. Well worth it!
Start by slicing up your onion and mushrooms into thin slices.
Heat a skillet to medium high and melt a tablespoon of butter and some olive oil to coat the pan. Then toss in your onion slices.
Let the onion soften and brown for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add your mushrooms. After the mushrooms have softened and browned for a minute, add the balsamic vinegar. This adds a wonderful tart sweetness.
Let the mixture cook and brown for several more minutes. There is no precise time to this, just get those babies soft and delicious!
In a bowl, combine the beef, olive oil, salt, and garlic pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together and shape it into a patty.
TIP #2: Do not overwork the meat! (That's what he said?) But seriously, it makes the burger dense and tough, and no one wants that. Using your fingers lightly makes sure the burger stays a burger, and not a dried out brick.
Pack up your mushrooms and onions, lettuce/tomato/cheese, and patty in separate containers and head out to the grill.
I like using gas grills cause I don't know how to deal with charcoal. Follow the instructions on the gas grill for turning it on without causing a small explosion, and heat the grill to high.
TIP #3: Let the grill heat up. I know it's tempting to just put the burger on right away, but you want it to sear as soon as it hits the grill. This will also help the meat cook evenly.
Cook the burger on one side for about 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the burger.
TIP #4: Do not squish down the burger with your spatula, even though you might think it will make you look like a cool grill-master. This makes the juices run out, causing scary flare-ups and making your burger dry out. Just let the poor thing be!
Flip your burger carefully and let it cook on the other side for another 4-5 minutes.
TIP #4: When there are just a couple minutes left, put your buns on the grill so they get nice and toasty. I sprayed mine with some butter spray first to help them crisp up.
TIP #5: When there is just a minute or so to go, spoon some of the mushrooms and onions onto the burger. Then cover it with the cheese. When it melts, it will help glue the toppings down to the burger. Clever, right?
Forces, assemble! Put your patty with mushrooms, onions, and cheese on the bun and top with the slice of tomato and romaine lettuce.
Unhinge your jaw and take a big ole bite of your Big Ass Burger. Let the euphoria commence!
Stay tuned Wednesday to learn how to make those tasty looking fries, guacamole, and delicious grilled sides and desserts! Happy grilling :)