Barbecue season has arrived, so soon people will be bonding in the backyard over hamburgers and hot dogs. Backyard barbecue season begins in spring and continues through summer and, where the weather allows, into fall. Barbecues are a perfect summertime soiree, as they’re usually laid back affairs and make use of the pleasant weather.
While it’s fun to expand your culinary horizons over the open flame of a grill, it’s important that you never forget the basics, especially when entertaining crowds who are no doubt looking forward to grilled burgers. Giving the masses what they want is good hosting, but you can still try your hand at a little experimentation when serving burgers at your next backyard barbecue. The following recipe for “Herb Cheese-Stuffed Garlic Burgers” from Andrew Schloss’ and David Joachim’s “Mastering the Grill” (Chronicle Books) provides the best of both worlds.
Herb Cheese-Stuffed Garlic Burgers
(Makes 6 servings)
2 pounds ground beef chuck, 85 percent lean
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons herbed garlic cream cheese, such as Boursin
6 hamburger buns, split
Oil for coating grill grate
-Gas: Direct heat, medium-high 425 F to 450 F; clean, oiled grate
-Charcoal: Direct heat, light ash; 12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals); clean, oiled grate on the lowest setting
-Wood: Direct heat, light ash; 12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep; clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Using your hands, mix the beef, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well blended; do not overmix. Using a light touch, form into 12 patties no more than 1/2-inch thick.
3. Put a portion (about 11/2 teaspoons) of cream cheese in the center of each of the 6 patties; top with the remaining patties and press together, taking care to seal the edges well. Refrigerate the burgers until the grill is ready.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the burgers on the grill, cover, and cook for 9 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes, for medium-done (150 F, slightly pink). Add a minute per side for well-done (160 F).
5. To toast the buns, 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 buns. If the burgers will sit, even for a few minutes, keep the buns and burgers separate until just before eating.