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Dinners

Real and Simple Two-Ingredient Homemade Bugers

Jan 16, 2013

Last week, I suggested you take your kids to the grocery store. I also recognized that this suggestion may make parents question both my intelligence and my sanity. If you didn't immediately write me off as a crackpot, you would have continued reading and seen my tips on how to make the process a success. The final tip was to have an end game - a specific dish to work toward. I brought the kids to the store with the purpose of going home and making burgers, so we visited the meat counter for ground beef and pork, the bakeshop for the perfect buns, the cheese counter for some Canadian cheddar, and the produce department for lettuce and tomatoes. It was a great trip around the outer aisles of the store (where all the real food tends to be). We had a lot of fun, and we had everything we needed.

Once we got home (with our bellies full of pizza; see last week's blog for that explanation!), we got down to business. Serious business. Serious burger business. I give you ...

Real and Simple Homemade Burgers (printer friendly pdf or scroll for steps) There are a number of ways to make your own burgers. You can fill them full of stuff like spices, eggs and breadcrumbs, but be careful, you could end up with meatloaf on a bun! I decided to make the easiest, simplest burgers I could. How easy? How simple? Here's what you need ...

  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork

That is all. The next time you go to the supermarket, check and see what's in most commercial burgers, then compare them to mine.

1. Combine beef and pork in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
2. Form the meat into uniform-sized balls. I like to make mine about the size of a tennis ball. This will give you approximately a five-ounce burger.
3. Flatten the burgers to a uniform thickness, about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick.
4. Season with salt and pepper just before grilling or broiling.
5. Garnish with your favourite toppings. I suggest cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, mustard and ketchup. I love making burgers this way because it shows the kids just how easily it can be done. No complicated ingredients and measurements, and these burgers are basically like playing with playdough. Meaty playdough, mind you, but playdough nonetheless. Mmm ...

The kids had a ball, and they ate pure meat, fresh lettuce, fresh tomatoes and cheese. How real is that! They were excited to eat what they had prepared, and we have two more rounds in the freezer ready to go for our next burger night. Come on, barbeque season!Again, mmm ...

Cheffer's Inside Scoop

  • Leaving out binders, such as eggs and breadcrumbs, allows for those who have allergies and sensitivities to enjoy the burgers, too.
  • For some reason, kids don't feel like they're eating vegetables if they're used as burger garnishes. I'm not suggesting you put broccoli on a burger, but Charlie wouldn't touch a tomato slice on its own. On a burger, no problem.
  • Using pork in your burger adds great flavour and some much-needed fat. You can use only beef, if you like, but you would maybe want to use regular- or medium-ground beef rather than lean. Don't be afraid of a little fat!

Patrick Engel has been cooking professionally for 15 years. After graduating from George Brown College in Toronto, and training in the kitchens of Rodney's Oyster House and Bymark Restaurant, Patrick relocated to Niagara's wine region, working at Inn on the Twenty, followed by six years as resident chef instructor at The Good Earth Cooking School. Patrick is currently the chef at Hospice Niagara's Stabler Centre and associate chef at The Garrison House in Niagara-on-the Lake. Patrick lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, with his wife, Marnie, and their two boys, Charlie (7) and Johnny (5).

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