the crack burger

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I can’t stop laughing at the cover photo! Jon decided that it would be an awesome idea to take a photo with the theme “The Burger from Heaven”. So, after I assembled a burger, we went to the darkest spot in the garden, shined a torchlight on the burger and took the photo. As I edited the photo, it didn’t exhibit the “from Heaven” type of atmosphere and instead, Jon felt that it looked more like “a burger from a drug lord” type of atmosphere. Hence, we decided to name it “The Crack Burger” – LOL!

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Back to the story. A couple of days ago, my brother and his girlfriend decided to grill burgers for dinner. They shared photos of the burgers they had done and that inspired me to make burgers for dinner today!

The burgers were absolutely awesome (although my sister said that my mom’s burger, which I’ve yet to try, is better). I was looking forward to doing the bread the most since I found this recipe from The Kitchn which looked really tempting. Despite giving the bread significantly less time to rest than directed, the bread was really great tasting and fluffy!

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I came across The Kitchn earlier this week and have since become hooked to their site! Today, I tried 2 of their recipes and everything turned out great! Their instructions are very clear and pictures illustrate their points well.

For convenience, here are the recipes I used for the burger buns and the patties. Alternatively, click on the titles below to access the direct link.

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Homemade Hamburger Buns from The Kitchn
Makes 8 buns

1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1/2 cup (4 oz) warm water
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand), stir the yeast into the warm water and let it sit until dissolved.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add all the flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough. Knead at low speed, or by hand against the counter, for 10 minutes. The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Dust your work surface with a little flour and turn out the risen dough on top. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each into a tight ball. Transfer the balls to a baking sheet and let rise until they look puffy and hamburger-sized, roughly 30-40 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. This helps the tops to brown and keeps the crust soft. Bake the buns until golden, 15-18 minutes.

Let the buns cool to room temperature before slicing and using. They are best if eaten within the next day or two, but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.

Additional Notes:

• For Whole Wheat Buns – Substitute 1/2-1 cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and prepare the recipe as usual. The texture of the buns will be a bit more dense, but still very delicious and burger-worthy.

• Doubling the Recipe – Double all of the ingredients except for the yeast. To make even more buns, it’s best to prepare separate batches as the dough becomes too cumbersome to work with easily.

• Freeze Buns for Later – Wrap the buns in aluminum foil and then store in an air-tight container or freezer bag. Let them thaw in their packaging overnight on the counter. Foil-wrapped buns can also be thawed more quickly or re-warmed in a 300°F oven for about 10-15 minutes.

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How to Grill Really Juicy Burgers from The Kitchn

Makes 8 quarter-pound burgers

What You Need

Ingredients

2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper
6 thin slices of cheese, such as cheddar, swiss, or American (optional)
6 hamburger buns

Extra Toppings: tomato, lettuce, crisp bacon, avocado, sautéed mushrooms, mayonnaise, ketchup

Equipment

A gas or charcoal grill

Instructions

1. Heat the Grill: Warm your grill to high heat, about 450°F or until you can hold your hand an inch over the grate for only one second. If cooking on a charcoal grill, arrange coals to create a high heat and a low heat cooking zone.

2. Prepare the Ground Beef: While the grill is warming, prepare the burgers. Gently pat the ground beef into a log roughly 2 feet long on a clean baking sheet. Use your thumb to make a deep trough in the center. Sprinkle the onions evenly down the trough. Whisk together the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and garlic powder, and sprinkle this over the onions. Finish with a few grinds of fresh black pepper over everything.

3. Shape the Burgers: Pinch ground beef closed around the onions. Divide the meat into 8 portions using a chef knife, a bench scraper, or your fingers. Use your hands to gently flatten each portion into a burger patty about 1-inch thick. Try not to compact or overwork the meat. Let the burgers rest at room temperature until the grill is warm, about 20 minutes.

Do Ahead: Burgers can be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated until grilling. If you do this, let the burgers sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before grilling to take the chill off.

4. Grill the Burgers: Grill the burgers for 2 minutes on each side, then move them to a lower-heat area of the grill. Cook another 2-3 minutes for medium-rare burgers, 3-4 minutes for medium, or 5-6 minutes for well-done burgers. In the last minute of cooking, lay a slice of cheese on top of each burger and arrange the buns over high heat to toast.

5. Assemble the Burgers: As soon as the burgers are done, place them on a toasted bun, pile on the toppings, and serve.

Additional Notes:

• Different Flavorings: Instead of or in addition to the onions and Worcestershire sauce, try stuffing the burgers with things like fresh minced herbs, barbecue sauce, cubes of cheese, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, crispy bacon, mushrooms, and hot sauce.

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