That may be the best burger… ever!

By Cara Funk, executive chef, Eddington’s of Exeter

The truth of the matter is, there just isn’t such a thing as a best ever burger. Perhaps that’s what makes this summer dish so satisfying. There is always room for tweaking, and there is always another seasoning, herb and spice combination to explore.
Experience shows that having a basic recipe to start from, as well as having a few kitchen staples on hand, will allow the burger preparations to become a snap so you can get to the best part of your burger festivities: chowing down on your best burger ever. For your kitchen staples always have fresh herbs around; not only do they have a wonderful bouquet and are lovely to look at, but they can make any meal – not just burger – go from drab to fab. Herbs like basil, thyme, and oregano can add dimension to you dish. Have breadcrumbs and eggs around; these act as your binding for your patties.
For spices and seasonings: fresh pepper from a peppermill and sea salt are a must have for any kitchen. Keep paprika, garlic powder, curry, cumin, and steak spice in your cupboard. Have fresh garlic, shallots and red onion available and always keep bottles of olive oil, Worcestershire, Tabasco, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard around.

Here are a few grilling pointers that can help improve your next burger adventure.

Make sure the grill is the appropriate temperature
Medium low to medium, and keep the lid closed. A closed lid retains heat, shortening cooking time and keeping the burgers juicy.

Use beef that is no leaner than 80%
The fat is needed to keep the burger moist and flavorful.

Have the gentle touch
Overworking the mixture will produce a tough burger. Simply mix until combined.

Keep the patties 3/4 inch thick
To prevent the patties from swelling in the middle, make a small indent in the center.

Always clean and oil the grill
This keeps the burger from sticking and helps to make those picturesque grill marks we all love to see.

Leave it alone
Turn the burger only once and never, ever press the burger with the back of the spatula. The pressure will release all those flavorful juices.

Start with the basic burger recipe and add whatever creative concoction you can come up with. Remember it’s your best burger ever: Fire up the grill, it’s burger time!

Basic Beef Burger
By Cara Funk, executive chef at Eddington’s of Exeter –
Makes approx four patties

1-1/2 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/4-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. ref. ground beef
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
5 drops Tabasco sauce

Blend all ingredients together. Hand-form patties, barbecue and serve!

Oven Roasted Tomato and Balsamic Relish
By Cara Funk, executive chef, Eddington’s of Exeter –

2 cans of diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp minced garlic

Mix ingredients. Cook in 350’F oven for approx 45 minutes.

Grilled and Smoked Red Pepper Aioli
By Cara Funk, executive chef, Eddington’s of Exeter –

3 red peppers
3 drops liquid smoke (or 3 tbsp of smoky barbecue sauce)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups mayo

Blacken red peppers on barbecue. Remove from grill, place in bowl and cover with cling wrap (this allows skin to blister making it easy to peel off). Once cool, peel skins and remove core and stem. Puree peppers to a liquid state and add liquid smoke (or barbecue sauce), minced garlic and mayo.