May 28, 2012.
This auspicious date means two things. First, it’s Memorial Day, an American holiday of remembrance, of reverence for those fallen soldiers who laid down their lives protecting our freedom. Additionally, Memorial Day Weekend represents the official opening of grilling season, and it’s a good thing, because May 28 is also National Burger Day.
Burgers are serious business, but if you find them daunting, I have plenty of advice for you. First, if you don’t eat meat, that’s okay. No one said it’s National You Must Eat Beef Day. Veggie burgers are still great on a grill, and you can get that good smoky BBQ flavor—even on a gas grill—by adding a foil pouch of hickory or apple wood chips (poke a few holes in it to let the smoke escape). So smoke. That’s my first tip.
Second, don’t destroy the meat by futzing with it too much. Season simply: salt, pepper, maybe a dash of garlic and onion powder. That’s it. You want to taste the meat, not the fluff (if you don’t, then you need to buy better meat).
Please don’t overwork the meat, either—just mix it until the seasoning is distributed evenly, then gently form patties, and make them thinner and bigger than you think you’ll need. They tighten up when they cook to the perfect bun size. If you like, add some finely diced onion and press it into the patty so it cooks in.
Third, don’t go overboard on toppings or you’ll end up with a slippery mess. If you really need all that stuff on your plate, just eat a salad on the side. Personally, I like to go fast food style and top with just cheese, thousand island and shredded iceberg. Sometimes I go classic American-style and add sliced pickles and tomatoes, too. If you want to splurge, use fancy brioche buns or somesuch. (Okay, I admit that I do love pork burgers with grilled pineapple but those are for special occasions. Bacon is also allowed.)
This year, be a good American and celebrate your national pride by eating grilled burgers on National Burger / Memorial Day!
More Memorable Burger Recipes
- Feta Stuffed Burgers
- Chile Burgers with Rajas
- Tex-Mex Veggie Burgers
- Veggie Burgers that Don’t Suck!
- Cheese-Stuffed Turkey Burgers