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burger bliss  
make a perfect hamburger

by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3

Maybe I was a weird kid. But I never understood how all the other kids I knew could get so excited about the prospect of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Sure, I liked the toys – what kid isn’t at least somewhat of a sucker for any meal that comes with a cheap plastic doodad to play with while you eat – but those flimsy flavorless slabs of meat sandwiched between equally bland bread? Eh, not so thrilling.

So for a long, long time, I thought I hated burgers. Then one day I ate a real burger. A thick, juicy, glorious beauty of a burger, perfectly charred on the outside, dripping with good beef flavor on the inside. This burger was the sort of food I could see getting hankerings for on lazy summer Sunday afternoons spent hanging out on the patio with friends. It was delicious; it was divine; it was a dreamy, drool-worthy bit of beef patty perfection. And with a single bite, I went from being an avowed burger-hater to a true burger fan.

It’s amazing that there are so many ho-hum burgers being served up out there in the world when a truly fabulous burger is such an easy thing to make. If you’re one of the folks out there who’s been settling for dry bland burgers figuring they’re just a vehicle for ketchup and mustard and pickles, no more excuses. Good burgers are such a no-brainer to make that there’s really no reason in the world that blah burgers should exist at all. Check out these secrets to a perfect burger …

choose the right meat
Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little health-consciousness for the sake of taste – if you’re on a diet, frankly, a true blue hamburger really isn’t the meal for you. It’s next to impossible to get a proper juicy hamburger with super-lean ground beef: this is one instance where you really do need the fat. Unless, that is, you’re actually of the opinion that "dry" is a trait that you like your burgers to possess. Cooking your burgers on the rare side will, of course, help to retain the moisture, but if you’re at all nervous about food poisoning – and you should be, since pre-ground meat in particular has been known to be contaminated with not-so-stomach-friendly bacteria -- and are insistent upon cooking until well done, you’ll need the fat. Still, it’s not all bad news: the fattier ground beef – we’re talking 80-85% here – does tend to be cheaper.

If you’re really, really craving a burger but just can’t eat beef for whatever reason, ground turkey burgers can be tasty. Again, it’s better to go with one of the fattier offerings rather than the extra-lean.

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