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Author Notes: I used this recipe on my blog, Fine Art Daily, on a summer day when our constant house guests, Charles and Camilla, were particularly eager to contribute their help to our evening meal. Best Beloved and Tall Boy usually do our grilling, but this time we had to share the duties. —fineartdaily
pounds ground chuck (18% fat content) Ask your butcher to grind it fresh - you have important company!
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- A major lesson learned: it is best not to handle the meat too much or you will get a tough little hockey puck. Put the meat in a bowl and pull it away into small, manageable balls. Wet your hands when you form the hamburger patties - it helps to keep you from getting sticky and it is easier to form the shapes. Charles is frowning with concentration. He wants to master this skill before the Fourth. He grew up in an atmosphere that was rather strained - the one time the family had a cookout his mother invited the BBC to film it!
- Make the patties thinner in the center - about 3/4 of an inch at the edges and 1/2 an inch in the middle. They will shrink and even out while cooking. Keep the hamburgers cool in the fridge until you put them on the grill.
- Preheat the grill; making sure it is clean and well oiled. (The burgers won't stick - very important to Camilla. She likes everything tidy.) The coals should be hot - hold your hand about 1 or 2 inches above them for a couple of seconds to test. If you use a gas grill keep the hood down while cooking the burgers, but if cooking with charcoal, keep the lid off.
- Don't flip the burgers endlessly - this makes for tough dry hamburgers. Cook 2 minutes per side for rare, 3 for medium-rare, 4 for medium and 5 minutes for well done. Let the burgers rest for a couple of minutes before serving. This way they will finish cooking and will absorb their juices.
- Charles likes to have a nice Bass ale with his burger and salad. Camilla prefers a shandy (1/2 glass ale mixed with 1/2 glass lemonade or 7-Up).
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Beef Burgers