Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Perfect XO Burger

My daughter, young Galadriel Tanqueray Onassis, and her friends say I make THE BEST hamburgers. EVER!

She thinks I should have my own cooking show. Personally, I don't think anybody wants to tune in once a week to see me make the same goddamn thing over and over.

It would be like that version of Playboy they came out with specifically for the married man...every month it had pictures of the same woman. It folded faster than the Royals in an exhibition game.

But, what I can do is teach you how to make hamburgers the XO way. Now, there isn't anything revolutionary here. It's just a fucking hamburger for Christ's sake. But it's a pretty goddamn good burger if I do say so myself and I get very consistent results.

Start with the meat. I use a ground beef that is about 85/15 lean.

The 90/10 and above are too lean. Tasteless. Below 85/15 it's just too much fat and grease. So 85/15 is perfect.

Each beef patty should be about a half a pound. Fuck that quarter pounder shit. You ain't at McDonalds and this ain't Burger King. This is MY house. So grab what looks to be a half pound chunk of ground beef.

Now much of the secret to my burgers is the preparation of the patty itself. I've seen people mash them out on a butcher block, press them out with some sort of "As Seen On Tv" kitchen gadget for $19.95.

I've seen people poke a whole through the middle of the patty with their thumbs. What the fuck is up with that? The most common mistakes I see are starting with a patty that is too round (requiring you to spatula it down on the grill...big no no), having rough, irregular edges and inconsistent thickness, or, the worst of all, using preformed, frozen patty's. You should only resort to those if you are having a huge fucking party and can't be bothered.

No, the perfect XO burger requires loving preparation.

You take that half pound hunk of ground beef and you start compressing it between your cupped hands into a roughly spherical shape. Pack it down as tight as you can. Toss it from one hand to another, back and forth.

Then you take this roughly spherical meatball and you start rolling it between your open palms to even out the surface and get it as close to perfectly spherical as you can. The end result should be about the size and shape of a baseball; maybe a little bigger.

Next, you want to take this meatball and start pressing it between the palms of your hands and flattening it out into a patty. Try to press from the center outward in an even and consistent manner. This may take some practice. The goal is to have a beef patty that is evenly flat and round with a smooth, round edge. This isn't just aesthetics. The perfect patty shape helps to sear in the juices and keep your burger moist. A loosely packed patty with jagged edges allows the juices to leak out during grilling, rendering a dry, overdone hockey puck.

The finished product should pretty much cover the flat portion of a standard paper plate. Like this.

Now comes the seasoning! I use 3 or 4.

First, sprinkle some Worcestershire on there.

Then, I like to use McCormick's "Steakhouse Seasoning Grinder",

followed by McCormick's "Peppercorn Medley Grinder".

Don't be stingy! Sometimes, just sometimes, I top this off with a very light sprinkle of Old Bay Blackened Seasoning.

Then you take your spatula and you press all that stuff into the meat! Flip the meat and repeat.

I use a gas grill preheated to 500 degrees. I like to spray a little Pam on the grill to enhance the grill marks as well as make it easy to lift the pattys.

This next part is very, very important. So fucking pay attention.

You throw the patty on the preheated grill, cover it, and leave it the fuck alone for 4 minutes! Don't lift the lid to check on it, don't press it, don't touch it. Leave it the fuck alone for 4 minutes!!

After your timer goes off (yes! use a timer! don't count Mississippi's or estimate. use a fucking timer!) go out, lift the lid, flip the burgers, close the lid and leave it alone for another 4 minutes!

After the second side is done, remove the burgers from the grill, turn off the grill, and let the burgers set while you prepare your buns and condiments.

We like Home Pride Potato Buns here at Casa Onassis. But sometimes we have to settle for something else. Whatever your choice, do NOT settle for those teeny tiny generic Wonder buns. Unless you are cooking up a batch of those frozen preformed pattys for a big party. But if you are choosing a bun for an XO burger, you need a substantial bun! One worthy of the half pound patty you just lifted off the grill.

Everyone has their preferences. My daughter likes her burgers with just ketchup, nothing else.

Personally, I like my buns toasted. Preheat a skillet and lay the buns in dry, flat side down.

It's okay to lift and check them occasionally until they get just the way you like them.

On the bottom bun, I spiral some yellow mustard. The top bun gets a spiral of ketchup.

On the mustardy bottom bun goes a mattress of thinly sliced purple onion as a bed for the meat. If I can find tomato's worthy (in season or on vine...sometimes Roma's) I will put them on the top bun.

I prefer cheeseburgers so I will sometimes break my meat flipping rule to facilitate cheese meltiness. After each side of the patty has cooked for 4 minutes, I have been known to give the patty a gentle squeeze with the spatula, causing a brief grease flareup, flip the burger, lay the cheese on the hot side, close the lid and let the cheese melt a bit before removing from the grill.

I lay the burger cheese-side-up on the onion bed.

I adorn the melty cheese with slices of dill pickle.

The perfect, assembled burger, looks like this.

Accompany with chips or fries, whatever peels your potato.

Best fucking burger you ever tasted. I guarantee!

Fuck a bunch of vegan hippies!

PETA! Peaople Eating Tasty Animals!

If God didn't want us to eat animals he shouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

Fuck a bunch of Westport Flea Market!

Enjoy an XO burger in your own home!


kcmeesha said...

good post,but much better ending would be:enjoy this burger at XO's house,don't forget to BYOB

Xavier Onassis said...

meesha, my commie comrade...anytime you want to drop by, I'll be happy to fix you a burger. I'm sure my hospitality bar can accomodate anything you would like to drink, so BYOB is not an issue.

kcmeesha said...

I may just consider this an invitation. :-)

Mark Smith said...

Im not going to go for thee obvious meat jokes. Fuck a flea market burger at one time would have been a bold statement, but they have gone down hill. The only thing I would suggest is that you get ahold of some Jack Daniels mustard, next time you play with your meat, sorry, for burgers. They have 2 or 3 varieties, its good stuff.

Trelvix said...

Damn man. You may have just picked up a meat stalker (and I ain't just talking about that one time in the rest area with that one guy who smelled like crayons).

If I lived within 2 hours of your home I just might invite myself over as well. At the very least I might have to mail you 5 bucks and beg for a container of that Old Bay seasoning.

Can't say I've ever seen the stuff but I take you at your word.

Fiery said...

omg am I ever drooling to get a taste of your meat. errr.. hamburger meat of course. The whole thing... toasted buns and all.


"The D" said...

I made it all the way to that second to last pic. Then I threw up! You did that on purpose didn't ya.

You owe me a laptop. Dude

Spyder said...

Nice looking meat! Not that I would eat it though!

Poodles said...

Nice patty! I can't wait to start grilling again. My grill is buried under snow right now.

KC Sponge said...

I like to cook my burgers with shredded cheese and crisp, crumbled bacon in the meat . . . but that does look like one good burger! And potato buns are perfection!

Anonymous said...

I'll remember that 4 minute rule.

Sounds delicious.

Xavier Onassis said...

MM - I'll give the JDM a try. Thatnks for the heads up.

Stink - You have a standing invitation. I also grill a pretty mean steak.

fiery - " I ever drooling to get a taste of your meat..." Hell, if I had a dime everytime I heard I'd have like 50 cents! 30 cents if we are just counting women.

the d - HA! I wasn't even thinking about how you would react to all of those lovely, crunchy, green PICKLES. If I had I would have more closeups of the pickly goodness.

spyder - my burgers are irresistable. You'll never eat tofu again.

poodles - I grill are year round. But I don't live in the arctic circle.

sponge - that sounds good too. If I were going to try that, I'd probably go with bleu cheese or gorgonzola and I'd use the thick, peppered bacon.

travel - let me know how you like it.

Spyder said...

XO- I don't eat tofu & I'll never touch your meat. But your buns are something else!

Nightmare said...

"purple onion?"

Dude, that is the second reason that you can't have a cooking show, regardless of the ACTUAL color, those are RED onions! NMuch like Blue berries are really purple too, Red onions are purple. and there are almost as many varities of the red as there are the yellow, or white.

It did look amazing, and with the exception of the naming of the onion, you're recipe is amazingly close to mine. Just another reason to have a Blogger BBQ in June. I am so looking forward to it!

Bea said...

Awesome! I will have to try one of your burgers one of these days. :-)

GB, RN said...

Some morning when I get off work, I should mosey over for a morning hamburger sans the onion. It's night time for me, so why not?

And a bloody mary to wash it down with.

I smell a blogger bbq with XO making the burgers.

Faith said...

Ooh! We can have it at my house! Yay!!!

Carla O'Callaghan said...

The fact that you wrote all about the hamburgers your daughter and her friends love makes me think I may actually consider making you the official guidance counseling for my love life.

Oh my god you're funny and have a soft spot for cooking for your daughter.

Nice work XO

Eartha Delights said...

Is there a reason you press the seasoning into the already-formed patty rather than mixing it into the beef before forming the patty (that's how I do it)?

Bud Simpson said...

Great post. You're ready for the next step. Grind your own. Your recipe and technique are top shelf, but what's in that Price Chopper package? (My dad cut meat for forty years - mostly Kroger. He wouldn't let meat shop ground beef in the house.) You grind it, you control the fat and lean content, and you can add seasoning mods right to the grind. I'm hoping that a grinder for my Kitchenaid mixer will be under the Father's Day tree this year. Mmm, gorgonzola.

Xavier Onassis said...

nightmare - HEY! I call 'em like I see 'em!

bea - I would be happy to fix burgers for you and Logtar. You introduced me to Columbian cuisine, I'd love to return the favor.

heather - You'll have to use the key under the mat and let yourself in...I work normal hours. But feel free to help yourself to a burger and bloody mary from my wares. You might have to substitute ketchup for tomato juice, but the celery and vodka should be here.

Thanks, keri! Not sure how making heart attcks on buns for teeneagers qualifies me to guide your love life, but I'm willing if you are!

tec - Probably not. LOL! Other than adding the worstershire prior to making the patty leads to a sloppy, messy patty creation process as well as a wet, malformed patty. But if you are just talking about the dry seasonings, I don't see any problem with that.

le grand - "Your recipe and technique are top shelf,..." Thank you very much! But I'm not confident enough to grind my own meat (unless that's a euphamism for masturbation). I'm content to let experienced butchers wearing chainmail gloves do the grunt work.

Note to self: Never get confused and masturbate while wearing chainmail gloves!

Mo said...

Sweet baby jesus I can't wait to make one of these bad boys this weekend. I think the cheese will be colby jack and there will be a substitution of mayo for mustard. Thank you for this tasty little gift.