BBQ Hamburger and Onion Rings2010-04-04
Easter weekend is upon us so I steal some time to return to my adventures in cooking. Having read the various entries since my last post, it appears that all of you have been enjoying the indulgence of good food, good company and of course, good wine.
April is always a funny month for Canadians, eh! It is a month where Mother Nature tempts us into emerging from our slumber; we push our noses out of our igloos and pondering…shall we? Is it too early? And finally we, of hardy stock (or perhaps too many beers, eh!) decide to emerge and announce to the world…spring has sprung! (Who needs a groundhog when you have a Canadian?) Having a birthday in early April, I am often (very often) reminded of where we live and spend my birthday under snow. Not this year (I say hopefully). After a relatively short winter, in which I found great amusement in the fact that our Virginian relatives had a snowier and colder winter, I am confident that my birthday will be warm and sunny, so it is time to return to the ‘Q’. Yes, that remarkable cooking appliance that returns every man (sorry, ladies) to our primal beginning of meat and fire.
This year I emerge from my hibernation to find a new fire pit. As a birthday present, my kids bought me a new “BBQ”, a Broil King Signet (http://www.broilkingbbq.com/2010/index.php) for my birthday. So, not only does the weather call to me, so too does this new gift. I rub my belly, grab my beer and dive into the adventure of Canadian BBQ cooking.
Like my previous adventures, the first order of business is to decide on a menu. I decide that the basics are the best way to start. With the sun shining, temperature in the 20s (70s for those from bygone eras), I set a menu of homemade hamburgers, homemade onion rings and house salad. I will not insult you with explaining the salad. It is a basic “man-made” iceberg lettuce salad, cucumbers, peppers, and, of course, ranch dressing. This is not about rabbit food, this is about meat, fire and, well, yes ok, deep fat frying. If you want healthy you better look elsewhere you will not find it here. 🙂
Ok, so you have decided to come to the land of Man…meat and fire (and yes hot fat frying!)…welcome! I will first start with the hamburgers. Since I get slapped around by this site manager if I do not give an ingredient list, here is the first one for the burgers:
1 lbs. ground beef
1 lbs. sausages (usually hot Italian) – casings removed
¾ c bread crumbs
1 tbsp hot Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Heinz 57 sauce
1 tbsp HP sauce
1 tbsp BBQ sauce
1 package Lipton Dried Onion and Garlic Soup Mix
2 tsp Seasoned Salt or Mrs Dash’s seasoning (if you want to reduce sodium)
2 tsp Hot Sauce (Frank’s Red Hot or similar)
1 tsp dried Basil
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
¾ c grated cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper
I combined all the ingredients to a bowl and hand mixed them together. After fully blending the ingredients, I pressed them into patties (you can pick the size) and slip them into the fridge to set.
While the hamburgers are setting, I cook up some bacon for a garnish and turn my attention to the onion rings. The batter is the most important part and will make or break the onion rings. There are a variety of recipes out there, but all have the two basics ingredients, flour and beer. I have seen a number of recipes and like most things, I created my own. For better or worse, the following are the ingredients for my rings:
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ c all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp seasoned salt
2 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper
1 ½ c Guinness beer
2 large sweet onions, sliced into rings
1 c oil for frying
In a bowl, I tossed the onions in the cornstarch and set them out to dry. I combined the flour, egg and seasoning and gradually added the beer, stirring, until a thick batter forms (add more or less beer depending on the desired consistency of the batter).
For all those lucky chefs out there with a deep fat fryer…”bob’s your uncle” but for the rest of us…in a heavy frying pan heat oil (adjust amount, depending on the size of your pan, so that you have a couple of inches of oil) over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, dip the onions into the batter and slip them into the oil and fry, turning once to brown evenly on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
So, while I am cooking the rings, it was time to look to the future generations to step up and cook the burgers. After pre-heating the grill, my son lays out the burgers on the grill. After searing each side, he turns the direct grill to low, then lights the side burners to indirectly cook the burgers through because they were very thick. After about 15 minutes, the burgers are done. He tops the burgers with two pieces of extra old cheddar and they are good to go.
With the burgers placed on a fresh onion bun, each burger is garnished with each individual’s preferred condiments (tomato, ketchup, Dijon mustard, whatever you like). The rings are towered beside the burgers, the green garnish; I mean salad is finally added to the plate. The dinner is done; the only thing missing is a beer (iced teas for the kids) and we sit down for our first BBQ meal of the year.
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