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Burger Grill-Fourth of July Central

Posted: Friday, Jun. 29, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

"Chef Troy" Gagliardo hosts a weekly cooking segment called "Troy's Everyday Eats" live every Tuesday on WCCB News Rising from 7 to 9 a.m. He has made over 300 appearances on the show showcasing over 1000 of his unique original recipes. He was also voted one of the Top Five best chefs in Charlotte in 2013. Troy has penned a cookbook called Pseudo Southern, which has been endorsed by celebrity chef and best selling author Fabio Viviani. His business Motown Spice Provisions supplies some of the top restaurants and country clubs in the greater Charlotte area for the past 10 years. He is a self-taught chef who learned early on the importance of family and food, and the connection between both, from his parents and grandparents. Contact him at troygagliardo@gmail.com. Visit www.cheftroy.net, and follow Troy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

With grilling season here, even if a little too hot outside, the time has come to get outside and grill. Nothing is more popular to grill than hamburgers. Sounds easy enough, however there are some tips that will ensure burger success.

Choosing the type of meat to use is the single most important factor to a great hamburger. Although “burgers” can be made with various types of meats, the most common is beef. There are many variables to consider when deciding on the type of beef to use, but the fat content of the beef is the most important.

Ground sirloin is very tender and has a thin marbling of fat running through it, which is the perfect combination. Ground chuck is a great alternative. It also has a great marbling of fat and is usually less expensive than ground sirloin.

The percentage of fat is noted on the package of all ground meat products, the best fat/meat ratio for hamburgers is 80/20, meaning that it is 20% fat and 80% meat.

Patties should be portioned into equal sizes for grilling consistency. Gently press when forming patties or the hamburgers will be compact and dense. Make the center of the patty a little thinner. This will prevent the burger from being over “plump” as they cook and allow them to become rounded and thicker in the middle, making it harder to cook to the proper done-ness.

Seasoning should be simple and generous, good kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper is all you need.

Whether grilling on gas or charcoal, use a medium high and direct heat, meaning the flame or fire should be directly under the hamburgers.

The most common mistake while grilling hamburger is the urge to want to move them or flip them. Once you place the burgers on the grill let them cook for at least 2 to 3 minutes before attempting to turn or flip.

The perfect burger is charred on the outside while remaining juicy on the inside. If you practice these techniques, you soon will be a burger master.

Chipotle Pimento Cheese & Bacon Double Decker Burgers

Makes 4 Stuffed Burgers

2 pounds ground chuck or ground sirloin
4 each, hamburger bun, 4” diameter
Kosher salt, black pepper, to taste
8 slices, thick sliced bacon, cut in half, cooked and drained
2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded, very thin sliced by hand
1 each, red onion, cut into 4 thick pieces
1 each, roma tomato, sliced thin

Pimento Cheese:

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon chipotle puree, canned in Adobo sauce, blend until smooth
Green onion, reserved bottoms, chopped very fine
3 tablespoons pimentos, chopped

Mix all ingredients for Pimento Cheese together to completely combine. Then cover and refrigerate.

Preheat grill for direct heat grilling to medium high heat, about 475 degrees.

Burgers:

Divide meat into 8 equal portions, about 4 ounces each. Make thin round patties about 5 inches in diameter and season generously on both sides of patties.

Lightly oil and season both sides of the onion slices, keeping each slice intact.

Place patties and onions on grill over direct heat, cook untouched for 2 minutes and flip. Top each burger patty with equal portions of the chipotle pimento cheese and close lid.

Cook until pimento cheese is melted and gooey, about 2 minutes. If burgers are done but the cheese hasn’t melted, place burger on top shelf over indirect heat, until melted.

Remove four burgers from the grill and place on a plate, top each burger with a slice of bacon (brake in half), top with remaining four burgers and remaining bacon. Remove the onions, keeping each slice intact. Lightly grill inside of buns.

Add lettuce and tomato to the bottom bun, top with a stack of burgers, top with a slice of grilled onion, top bun and serve.

*If double-decker burgers aren’t your thing, use an additional 4 buns.

*Or make stuffed burgers by laying out four of the raw patties. Place a few tablespoons of the chipotle pimento cheese in the center, leaving an edge around the outer edge. Top each with the remaining four raw patties, seal by pinching edges together. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before grilling.

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