We Americans sure do love our burgers! We’ve gotta have ‘em … and we scarf down approximately 50 billion a year. All-beef, chicken, turkey or veggie; it doesn’t matter as long as you can slap that bad boy on a bun and call it lunch.
If you haven’t fired up the barbie this season, it’s time to bust out the charcoal and officially celebrate National Burger Month before it’s over. We talked to restaurateur and former Chopped champion Chef Eric LeVine for a little burger inspiration and his top grilling tips.
Grilling Tips from Chef Eric LeVine
- Invest in a good grill brush. You don’t want your burger tasting like last night’s fish!
- Never slap a patty on a cold grate unless you want it to stick. Chef Eric recommends heating the grill with the lid on to guarantee the grate is good and hot.
- Burgers require a spatula for flipping. Tongs are used for unwieldy foods like chicken, hot dogs and kabobs. It’s that right tool for the right job thing.
- Leave that patty alone while it cooks and don’t push on it! No need to sacrifice all of that tasty juice to the flame gods.
- Wait 2-3 minutes before you dig in. A little patience will allow the juice to redistribute so you don’t lose it all on the first bite (or down the front of your shirt.)
- When it comes to burger toppings think beyond traditional ketchup and mustard. At Chef Eric’s New Jersey restaurant, Paragon Tap & Table, burgers get rock star treatment and are topped with jalapeno bacon slaw, lemon garlic aioli and beer brined pickles. (Not all at once of course.) The Apple Marmalade Burger Topping recipe below is a great place for you to start!
- 1 green apple, peeled and diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.
- Cook until apples are soft and onions are translucent.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before serving.
Who’s hungry for a burger, and what are you gonna top it with? —Karen