I WILL GLADLY pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.
- J. Wellington Wimpy
There is nothing quite like a good burger, but a good burger can be shockingly difficult to find. We are lucky to have a few local burger joints who still pat out their burgers from ground beef, but so many burgers are just "wimpy" little mystery-meat discs that have been stamped out by machines and frozen for convenience. I like to make a burger patty that I hope would make that famous cartoon connoisseur proud (and is a little healthier). Here is a basic recipe, but you can add other ingredients for variety. We sometimes add a couple of tablespoons of blue cheese crumbles, for example. You may substitute ground turkey for the beef, but it will be drier and will burn more easily on the grill, so watch it carefully.
Set the beef and egg out of the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before you are ready to work with them so that you are not putting cold burgers on the grill. This way they will cook more evenly. When they have warmed some, put the meat, the egg and the spices (minus the salt - that comes later) in a large bowl and squish the ingredients together with your hands and mix thoroughly.
Divide the mixture into four equal amounts. To make the patties, begin with a nice round ball on a flat surface such as a large plate. Gently flatten out the ball, shaping the sides as you go, until you have a round patty that is about 1 inch thick. These patties can be cooked on the grill, in the oven or in a skillet.
They need medium-high heat and should be turned every 2-3 minutes until they feel moderately firm in the middle. Do not press down on the patties with the spatula as it squishes out the juices. After they have been cooked, sprinkle a little salt over them. I learned that it is best to salt meat after it has been cooked because salt draws out the moisture, making the meat drier and tougher.
When your patties are done (cooked to at least medium for food safety with ground meat), you can add a slice of cheese and any other toppings of choice and serve it on a nice toasted bun. Enjoy!