When I grill burgers outside in the winter, I call them Eskimo burgers. I am lucky enough to have a little propane grill just outside the door so it is easy enough for one to shuttle back and forth between the warm kitchen and the chilly smoky patio.
Normally we make burgers using local grass-fed meat topped simply with a little cheddar and ketchup, but I just wasn't feeling it this time...I wanted some more pizzazz. So I went to twitter for advice. This is the beauty of twitter: Ask and ye shall receive responses in time to go to the grocery store before dinner. There were lots of helpful suggestions, like adding whisky (!), kofta spices, and Celia sent me a whole slew of toppings, including grilled radicchio, caramelized onions, arugula pesto, and even some things I had never heard of before (what is frico??). It was just what I needed to get out of my rut. Check out the recipe below to see what fixings we ended up with. What's your favorite way to make hamburgers?
I also picked up half a dozen Bluepoint oysters for an appetizer. I order oysters at restaurants, making me feel like the biggest yuppie ever, but it was the first time shucking them at home and it was a success, with a little dish of horseradish and lemon slices on the side. I see a lot more cheap, local oysters in our future since they sell them at the Grand Army farmers market for only $1 each.
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
2 tsp dried sage
2 tsp dried thyme
5 splashes of worcestershire sauce
1 shot whisky
Form into patties. (We usually get 3 patties per pound of meat). Grill over medium low heat for four to five minutes on each side. Top with slices of gruyere cheese about 1 minute before done (the more cheese the better). Set burgers aside (on a plate in the oven is a good way to keep them warm/out the way of dogs) and and grill thick slices of hearty bread until toasted. Assemble with toppings:
caramelized onions (sliced onions sauteed in olive oil over low heat for 20-30 minutes until soft and browned)
*Celia, do the rest of us a favor and share the whole burger inspiration list on your blog! The world will thank you.