Sunday, April 24, 2011

Among vernal joys

Now that the weather is warm enough, I can finally dust off my grill.  Oh wait, Boston fire code is prohibitive and prevents me from grilling on my balcony.  With such great sorrow, I was deprived of the succulence of meat grilled over charcoal flames.  Nevertheless, I was determined to exploit a loophole to enjoy outdoor cooking.  The Boston fire code says nothing of portable butane stoves.  Aha!  Just the opening I needed to fix myself a nice burger.

Perhaps you're wondering why I couldn't just griddle the burgers on my stove indoors, why the need to move the cooking outdoors.  If you have ever cooked burgers stove-top, you would know that burger-smell will permeate the walls and saturate the air.  Thus, the outdoor aspect was not for heightened deliciousness, but rather for aesthetic reasons that I would rather my apartment not smell like a burger joint for the next few weeks.

Having my mind set on burgers, I went straightaway to the grocery store, picking up some brisket, short rib and chuck, which went into the freezer as soon as I got home.  A couple hours later, I cut about 6 oz of short rib and brisket and about 8 oz of chuck into half inch cubes and put these back into the freezer.  After another 15 minutes or so, I finely chopped the meat with my trusty cleaver (also, thank goodness for large wood cutting boards).  I loosely gathered the chopped beef without packing it and seasoned it with just salt and pepper on both sides.

Meanwhile, some oil was heated in a cast iron skillet on my portable stove outside.  When the oil reached a slight smoke, I slid the burgers in and cooked them for 2 minutes before flipping.  Immediately after flipping, the burgers were topped with a slice of American cheese each (blasphemy I know, but the meltiness of American was sought) and cooked for another 2 minutes before being served on Martin's potato rolls.

There is simply no way that the picture does the burger any justice, its humble appearance belying the joys to be had.  This was my first attempt at a thin style of burger since I usually prefer thicker, meatier patties.  Despite being thin, these burgers were still pretty succulent with cheese oozing throughout, yet with a great crust of browned Maillard deliciousness. I don't know if I'll ever be a convert, but I can certainly see the merits of both. If I weren't so late already, I would make myself a couple more..

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