So-Called "Top Chefs" Are Wrong About Grilling Burgers

America is under assault by forces who would seek to do us harm and undermine our way of life. People who hate our traditions and our national culture.

As we speak, those muckrakers over at the yellow journalism rag, Bloomberg, are fomenting unrest and trying to rain on our freedom parade.

They said we shouldn't. Grill. Our. Burgers.

Monsters! Communists! America haters! I've never been so disgusted in my entire life.

Summer just isn't summer without grilling and burgers.

They go together like fireworks and drunk guys shouting, "Hey y'all, watch this!" Together like emergency room visits and drunk guys with firework injuries.

Cooking ground beef over an open flame is practically an American institution. You know, baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, Chevrolet, and grilled hamburgers.

(I hope my Canadian readers, who just celebrated Canada Day on July 1st, also enjoy a tasty grilled burger and will happily join us in taking up spatulas against our oppressors.)

It started when Bloomberg interviewed three "top chefs" — I just rolled my eyes — who said that burgers should be fried on a griddle or a plancha, not placed on a metal rack over fire.

A plancha is a type of griddle only, you know, fancier somehow without adding any actual functionality. Hipsters prefer them to griddles, which should tell you everything you need to know.

And a "top chef" is presumably a chef who doesn't actually know how America works.

Apparently, one of Bloomberg's "top chefs" owns a fancy steak restaurant, which was impressive until he tried to bludgeon America's spirit with a plancha. Now, I can never believe anything he ever says again.

These so-called "chefs" claim burgers cooked on a grill lose a lot of their burger fat, which will cause them to dry out, giving you a hard hockey puck of beef.

Hard hockey pucks of beef are also part of the American tradition. It's not a proper summer picnic until people fight over who's going to get the last teeny-tiny burger, all cold and shriveled on an otherwise empty picnic table.

"Go ahead, you eat it."

"No, no, I couldn't eat another bite. You eat it."

"Give it to the dog."

"She spit it out."

"Fine, put it in the fridge. I'll eat it tomorrow."

Also, you only get dried out burgers if you don't know how to use a grill. That's clearly the case with these alleged "top chefs" who apparently weren't properly raised by their daddies.

It starts with the meat. You need ground beef with a high fat content, like 85/15 — 85% beef, 15% fat. Meat with this beef-to-fat ratio is less likely to dry out on a grill. Don't get that 93/7 nonsense. It's so low in fat that it will shrink up, dry out, and fall apart if you flip it more than once.

Next, don't smash your burger with your spatula. That's an amateur move. Most people flip their burgers and squeeze them with the spatula. That squeezes out the juice, which you need if you want a moist burger.

A one inch burger needs 14 minutes to cook over medium-high heat. Flip it once at seven minutes and leave it alone. You could also lift it and turn it 90 degrees to get the grill marks. Otherwise, leave it alone.

You can squeeze your burger if you use a griddle or plancha, because then the burger keeps frying in its grease, which keeps it moist. But you should only do that if you're going for thin patties with a nice crust on it.

Finally, learn how to tell how done a burger is by touch or with a meat thermometer — the interior temperature should be 160 degrees F.

Recently, my family and I were at a friend's for a barbecue* when I mentioned the Bloomberg article.

(*Note to Real Southerners: "A barbecue" is what we Northerners call a party where you cook food over an open flame. I know it's not "proper" barbecue like you all — excuse me, y'all — have mastered here in the South.)

The men were outside, gathered around the grill, watching our host carefully flip the various meats, and we were all providing helpful tips about how he was doing it wrong.

I stepped into the kitchen for a beer, where the wives were gathered, when I heard one of the wives mention that her husband, Keith, didn't believe in grilling burgers; he cooked them on a plancha she had purchased at some hoity-toity kitchen store.

I burst through the back door and shouted to the men, "KEITH FRIES HIS BURGERS!"

The men began screaming and hurling beer cans and lawn chairs at Keith, who ran through the yard, leapt over the fence, and ran the three blocks back to his house. I saw a 'FOR SALE' sign in front of their house two days later.

I'm writing this column on July 4th, the day Americans celebrate our country's birth 243 years ago. While many of us will disagree on a great many things, socially, politically, and even monetarily, I think most real, red-blooded Americans can agree on one thing:

A proper American (or Canadian) picnic just ain't a picnic until you've burnt the bejeezus out of ground beef over an open flame.

Happy birthday, North America!

Photo credit: (Creative Commons 0, Public Domain)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.