Archive for September 1st, 2011

These burgers are spectacular. The meat is inundated with onion, garlic, and the exotic aroma of allspice, but the extravagance comes just before serving. As soon as the burgers reach doneness, you douse them with a little brandy, which flames blue for a second as the alcohol evaporates and quickly burns off, leaving behind a sweet glaze, lightly caramelized edges, and an oaky, fruity aroma.

Prep: 5 minutes
Grill: 7 minutes.

– Long-handled spatula.

– These burgers are great with a garnish of sautéed mushrooms or grilled onions. If you want to top them with cheese, try something a little nutty like Italian fontina, Emmental, or Grana Padano.
– Other liquors can be substituted for brandy. Scotch, bourbon, and port are logical choices.

Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (425° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

2 pounds ground beef chuck, 85% lean
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
Oil for coating grill grate
¼ cup brandy
6 kaiser rolls, split (optional).

1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Using your hands, mix the beef, onion, garlic, allspice, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well blended; do not overmix. Using a light touch, form into 6 patties no more than 1 inch thick. Refrigerate the burgers until the grill is ready.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the burgers on the grill, cover, and cook for 7 minutes, flipping after about 4 minutes, for medium-done (150°F, slightly pink). Add a minute per side for well-done (160°F).
4. Have the brandy in a small pitcher. Starting with the burgers farthest away from you, pour a small portion (about 2 teaspoons) over each burger. The brandy will flame up and flicker around the burgers for a few seconds.
5. To toast the rolls, if using, put them cut-sides down directly over the fire for the last minute of cooking.
6. If serving the burgers directly from the grill, serve on the rolls. If the burgers will sit, even for a few minutes, keep the rolls and burgers separate until just before eating.

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