It’s not that we stop eating burgers at any particular time of the year because burgers are part of the American epicurean experience. But the gastronomy of the burger with its infinite iterations and mash ups heightens as the summer draws near and the outdoor grills are dusted off.
That’s one theory.
But the other perhaps lies in the well-time designation of May as National Burger Month. Burger folklore has it that the White Castle burger chain – known as America’s first fast food chain and creator of those cute little square mini burgers on a steamed bun – started National Burger Month in 1992 following their 70th year anniversary.
In Los Angeles we got a jump start to the upcoming national observance by paying a week long tribute to our local burger joints and eateries a few weeks ago.
There were some gems that surfaced in lists featuring the hottest burgers in Los Angeles, the most expensive or bougiest burgers and my personal favorite, 10 great South L.A. burger joints. And while I haven’t tried all the burgers on these distinguished lists, I am mapping out my game plan to work my way through them, forthwith.
There’s a whole lot of burger eating going on in the states. Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers a year. That breaks down to about three burgers a week for every American. With statistics like this, the average person in the states is more of a burger connoisseur than a neophyte.
Some of the best burgers I’ve ever had weren’t stuffed with goat cheese, topped with foie gras spread, or served on a ciabatta roll. They were made with wholesome ingredients and simply prepared. Like the skillet fried burgers my mom used to make with ground beef, which was probably 30% fat back then. That’s probably why they tasted so good. She seasoned them with a little salt and lots of black pepper. Then she pan fried them until they were well done. They always had a bit of char around the edges from being smashed in the pan by her metal spatula. The toppings were basic. Mustard, ketchup and mayo, iceberg lettuce, dill pickle slices, tomato (if she had it). And the burger wasn’t complete without a Kraft cheese slice. Oh, this burger was more often than not served on white Webers bread or its generic competitor. Now that’s the burger that takes me to church.
My burger craving sent me to my little kitchen and just like mom, I created a simple burger from the staple ingredients I had on hand. My Pantry Burger is made with organic ground turkey. The grated Parmesan cheese and egg I added make the patties moist and juicy. Adding a little onion soup mix, Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar gave the finished burger a big boost in flavor.
Tis the season to eat burgers friends. Flip a patty. Raise a bun. And don’t forget the fries. Chin chin!
1 pound ground meat (turkey, chicken, beef)
2 tablespoons onion soup mix
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Cracked black pepper to taste
In a mixing bowl, all add the ingredients and mix well. Mixture will be soft. Form into 4 separate balls, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour.
Remove from refrigerator and flatten each ball to desired patty size and thickness. Add patties to a heated, nonstick skillet. Season with cracked black pepper and cook on medium heat. Flip patties after 3-4 minutes and cook until desired doneness.
Serve on your favorite bun or bread. Top with fresh ingredients and homemade spread.