Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday burgerfest

My buddy Tom was in Goyang to help out with a sort of English-learning activity at a minor-league baseball game, so I had invited him and our mutual friend Patrick over for burgers stuffed with Gorgonzola and bacon. Here are some food photos from today's festival of burgers. Hover your cursor over each image to see the related caption.

A few remarks about tonight's dinner.

1. Broiling meat is a gamble if you don't know your broiler, and I still don't know my own broiler well enough to use it properly. I think the burgers I did broil went a wee bit overcooked—not enough to be tragic, but just enough to be slightly noticeable. I'll know better what to do next time around, I think.

2. The patties cooked amazingly well: there was very little shrinkage or cheese leakage, and the burgers were huge and hefty. Tom had started off thinking he might be able to down two burgers, but as it turned out, he could handle only one before he was stuffed. I had only a single burger, too; the remaining two huge patties have been placed in the freezer for later.

3. I accidentally doused Tom's shoes with bacon grease, ensuring that they would be fragrant during his bus ride home. The grease was sitting in a bowl on a high shelf, atop some plates. I needed a plate but forgot that the bowl atop the plates was full of grease; when I forcefully yanked the bowl off the plates, the grease sloshed out, most of it landing on poor Tom's shoes. Tom was very gracious about the fuckup, but I felt guilty. Tom claims he'd been planning to take his shoes in for a professional cleaning, anyway, so no worries.

4. The cut of beef that I received from the butcher was beautifully marbled. It might not have been galbi (short ribs), but it was damn close. As such, I decided not to take my usual approach to hamburger prep: normally, I flavor up my meat with salt, pepper, and herbs like basil, parsley, and oregano; I occasionally mix in a bit of garlic and onion powder (never actual onions!). I also add a bit of oil if I think the meat might be too lean. I almost never use an egg for binding, and these days I almost never add bread crumbs, having taken to heart Bobby Flay's scoffing remark about how we're supposed to be making burgers, not meatloaf. (There is, however, a reasonable school of thought that notes that adding some bread crumbs to your burgers is a good way to retain the meat's juices during cooking: the crumbs sponge up the fluids, making for a moister burger.) On Saturday, I used no herbs and no aromatics: all I added was a bit of salt, a shot of black pepper, and very little olive oil. The meat itself was left to carry its native flavor into the finished burger.

5. I forgot to mention that Patrick, the bastard, couldn't make it. Something about how he needed to eat dinner with his wife, whom he hadn't had time to dine with in ages. Meh. Wife, shmife, I say—burgers are far more important than marriage.

All in all, a great dinner. Tom repeatedly sang the meal's praises, despite his bacon-fat-sogged shoes. I, for one, was happy that the burgers turned out as well as they did: I had worried they would split open and essentially turn into double Whoppers. They didn't, thank Cthulhu.


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