Summertime is Barbecue time! Nothing says summer relaxation like a backyard barbecue with family and friends. However, sometimes the vast number of choices in how to engage in this summertime tradition can be daunting. What kind of meats should be chosen? Should vegetables be grilled as well? What marinades and seasonings should be used? And, perhaps the most controversial question of all for barbecue aficionados: What kind of grill should be used?
Since man learned to make fire, he has known how that one element can improve the quality of meat like no other. Yet, which choice should a modern man make when choosing the type of grill to use for cooking with fire? Some swear by charcoal. It is said to impart a flavor to the meat and vegetables that cannot be had any other way. Yet, charcoal grills must be carefully prepared and tended to maintain optimum temperature for cooking.
Gas grills, however, offer a much simpler alternative. By simply turning a few knobs to activate the gas flow and pressing the igniter switch, a steady reliable flame can be acquired in mere moments. If the smoky wood flavor of a charcoal grill is desired, it can be achieved with a gas grill in a number of ways. Wood chips can be added, charcoal briquettes can be used with some models, and liquid smoke flavorings are available as well.
With the choice of grill made, the time has come to decide just what will be cooking on that grill. Should it be chicken? Maybe hot dogs are the order of the day? But no—nothing says summertime like hamburgers on the backyard grill. These burgers can’t be just any burgers, though—these have to be perfect. Fortunately, perfection is relatively easy to do when one is talking about hamburgers.
First, choose a good ground meat for the burgers. Ground chuck is typically an excellent choice for backyard endeavors. Next, be sure that the burgers are hand-patted to about one inch thick. Good burgers should not be over-worked, but should just hold their shape. If any liquid seasonings such as steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce are desired, they should be folded into the meat before the burgers are formed. Dry seasonings can be folded in or sprinkled on the burgers after they are formed, before, during, or after cooking. An excellent tip is to make a small indentation in the middle of the patty as it will tend to shrink and the middle will swell. By making this indentation, the burger will be more uniform when it is fully cooked.
The burgers should be placed on a hot grill. A sizzle should be distinctly heard when they are placed n the grate. These should then be cooked on a low flame until the patties begin to gently pull away from the grill. The flame can easily be adjusted using the gas flow valve on the gas grill. After the burgers begin to pull away from the grill, they should be flipped. When the burgers begin to pull away from the grill again, they are likely done, depending on the degree of doneness desired.
For someone who is new to the great art of backyard barbecuing, the gas grill and hamburgers are a sure-fire combination. Gas grills offer much easier control of the cooking process, are much easier to operate, and clean up with less effort as well. Hamburgers are a classic choice for the backyard barbeque and are relatively inexpensive, easy to prepare, and sure to please most any guest—after all, who doesn’t love a good hamburger?