The Battle of the Grilled Beef Burgers!
If you have been to a cookout this summer, there is a good chance you ate a grilled burger or at least saw them cooking on the grill. Unfortunately, not all burgers are created equal. We have all experienced the overcooked “hockey puck” burger. Most home cooks are afraid to serve you an undercooked burger so many of them end up burnt.
This summer I had the opportunity to sample Holy Grail Steak’s Wagyu burgers. You can read about my favorite way to prepare a burger in my recent blog “Up Your Burger Game With Wagyu Beef And These Pro Tips.”
Holy Grail sent me their Burger Loader that includes both their Tajima American Wagyu and the Carrot Finished Burgers. Since I already shared my favorite way to create a burger, I figured I would experiment with popular and creative ways to prepare a burger similar to “Battle Of The Grilled Hot Dogs” blog I wrote earlier this summer.
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The Battle of the Beef Burgers
I selected five ways of preparing burgers based on my personal interest and my wife’s input. On the menu for our burger party were the French onion soup burger, the black and blue burger, the meat and potato burger, the barbecue burger, and the California burger.
Onions are a popular topping for burgers, so I thought caramelized onions topped with Gruyère cheese would deliver more flavor and resembled French onion soup. I love blue cheese, but it can be strong, and I felt a blackening seasoning would hold up to blue cheese and both would pair well with a beef burger. The barbecue burger is my usual burger (bacon, pickles, and ketchup) with barbecue sauce instead of ketchup. To kick up the barbecue flavor, I seasoned the burger with my homemade barbecue rub and swapped out American cheese for smoked gouda cheese. The meat and potato burger was inspired by one of the sides my wife was making for our burger party. The meat and potato burger was topped with tater tots and queso cheese dip.
When most people think about a California-style burger they think of avocado or other fresh toppings. What you consider a California-style burger might be different based on where you live in the country. Did you know the original California-style burger was based on the California-based company In-N-Out burger (founded 1948) that topped their cheeseburgers with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion? In 1948 the McDonald brothers introduced their Speedee Service System featuring their 15-cent burger, but they added ketchup, mustard, and pickles. Due to rapid spread of McDonald’s, people outside of west coast referred to California burgers as done up the In-N-Out way. If there is avocado on a burger or a sandwich my wife is ordering it. My California burger was topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, bacon, and avocado, and my wife added ranch dressing.
I prepared all the accoutrements for the burgers ahead of time. Next, I buttered the top and bottom of brioche buns and grilled them. I set up my Big Green Egg XL (BGE) for direct grilling and inserted the cast iron grates. I felt the cast iron grates would create the ideal sear on the burgers to seal in the juices and maximize the crusty exterior we all want on a burger.
I cooked the burgers until they reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees for medium-rare. (Note: The FDA recommendation for ground meats, excluding poultry, is 160 degrees.) I selected this temperature based on the requests of my guests.
I placed the cooked burgers on a wire rack over a sheet pan to keep the bottom of the burgers from getting soggy. Each burger was assembled, sliced, and served.
The French onion burger was seasoned with salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder, grilled, finished with caramelized onions, melted Gruyère cheese, and Dijon mustard. The barbecue burger was seasoned with barbecue rub, grilled, and then topped with smoked gouda cheese, bacon, pickle chips, and barbecue sauce. The California burger was seasoned with a ranch seasoning, grilled, and finished with lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, bacon, and ranch dressing. The meat and potato burger was seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with tater tots and queso cheese dip. I served sliced jalapeños on the side for anyone who wanted to add some spice the meat and potato burger. The black and blue burger was seasoned with a blackening spice rub, grilled, and then topped with blue cheese dressing and bacon.
Each burger was delicious. The high heat of the charcoal fire created a great sear on each burger and added a smoky aroma. I enjoyed the contrast of texture between the crusty exterior and the juicy and tender inside of the burger. Each burger had a nice beef flavor that paired well with the variety of fixings I put on the burgers.
Here were some of the highlights and comments from our guests; “I liked the sear on the burger”, “the caramelized onions are delicious,” “perfect balance of tater tots and queso cheese in every bite”, “I loved all the fresh veggies in the California burger,” “you had me a blue cheese and bacon.” “I loved the combination of the smoked gouda, bacon, barbecue sauce, and the snap of the pickles.” The crowd favorite was the meat and potato burger. Second place went to the California burger. The black and blue was consistently rated the second favorite by most guests. Everyone loved that they got to try each burger rather than only picking one.
If you want to elevate your next cookout with beefy, juicy, and delicious burgers, Holy Grail Steak has got you covered.