When crafting a great burger, check the weather.
So goes the advice of Adam Perry Lang, owner of New York's Daisy May's BBQ USA restaurant, a classic rib shack known for its whole pig, pulled pork and beef ribs.
"Sometimes I love a burger that is rich in fat — 70-30 blend of protein to fat," he said in an email. "I like these on colder days when I need fat and heartiness. In the summertime, a leaner burger is appreciated. 90-10 can do the trick."
Whatever your blend, cook with care. He aims to create a moist, tender interior and a well-developed caramelized crust. He also favours a liberal amount of salt.
"I am a burger fanatic," he said. "My most memorable has to be the one I would get when I was eight years old spending our summers on the beach in Montauk. This was in front of Gurneys Inn. They called it the Gurney Burger and it was served on an English muffin. I have had others, but that was a burger memory."
For the AP's 20 Burgers of Summer series, Perry Lang offered up a basic burger — nearly a half-pounder — topped with caramelized onions spiked with chipotle chilies and Monterey Jack cheese.
GRIDDLED AND GRILLED MONTEREY JACK CHEESE BURGERS WITH SPICY CHIPOTLE CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND CILANTRO
- 2 1/2 pounds ground beef (80 per cent lean)
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
- 6 small to medium sweet white onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo
- 4 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf fresh parsley leaves
- 6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
- 6 hamburger buns
- In a large bowl, mix together the beef and water. Shape into 6 patties, about 2.5 cm thick.
- In a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp each of the salt and pepper. Use the blend to season the burgers, pressing it into the meat.
- Heat a grill to medium-high.
- Set a griddle pan on the grill and add half of the butter or oil. When the pan is hot, add the onions, season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and saute until the onions soften and start to brown. Add the pureed chipotle, scallions and cilantro.
- Push the onions to one side of the griddle. Heat the remaining butter or oil on the empty side and place the hamburgers on it. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Move the burgers to the grill and cook to desired doneness, flipping halfway through (2 minutes per side for medium-rare).
- Stir the parsley into the onions and spoon the onions onto the hamburgers. Lay a slice of cheese on top of each and continue cooking until it melts.
- Place a burger in each bun and serve.