Saturday, May 27, 2023

ABRAMS Dinner Party Spotlight: The Great American Burger Book...Featuring The Smoked Burger from Houston #TheGreatAmericanBurgerBook #abramsdinnerparty #burgers #smokedmeat #TexasFood #summerfood

This year's ABRAMS Dinner Party blogging group posts are quickly winding down as Summer approaches. But? Today's featured 
ABRAMS Publishing cookbook is perfect to have on hand as burger season heats up! George Motz's encyclopedic The Great American Burger Book: How to Make Authentic Regional Hamburgers at Home shows readers how to recreate regional burgers at home. This expanded and updated edition features iconic burger flavors and cooking techniques like Minnesota's cheesy Jucy Lucy, Wisconsin's Butter Burger, and California's Classic Patty Melt. There's even a chapter devoted to international burgers! I opted to focus today on a Texas classic: The Smoked Burger from Guy's Market, a butcher shop in Houston. This burger is smoky and simply adorned...the beef and flavorful smoke definitely take center stage. This is definitely the burger you want to add to your Memorial Day grilling menu!

This burger forgoes traditional burger toppings like mustard, pickles, lettuce, onion, and tomato. The Smoke Burger instead features toppings typically served with smoked or chopped brisket sandwiches here in Texas: tangy BBQ sauce, sliced dill pickle, and onions. I also offered sliced cheddar cheese for those who wanted to add it to the mix. For this recipe, the beef used AND the smoking technique are key to achieving the best flavor. I used 85/15 ground Angus chuck that was smoked with a combination of charcoal and post oak wood. Soft potato buns were a perfect addition to cradle this burger. One note: instead of using the homemade BBQ sauce recommended by Motz, we opted for a favorite bottled sauce to save a bit of time.

The Smoked Burger
from The Great American Burger Book
Equipment Needed:
  • Kettle grill 
  • Hardwood smoking chips -- hickory, cherry, etc. We used post oak
  • Charcoal 
  • Charcoal chimney for igniting charcoal
  • Long metal tongs for gently flipping burgers
For FIVE burgers:
  • 2 lbs. freshly ground chuck (80/20 or 85/15)
  • Salt for seasoning
  • 5 soft buns -- we used potato buns
For topping:
  • Dill pickle chips
  • Sliced Vidalia or Walla Walla sweet yellow onions (can be sauteed, but thinly sliced raw onion is traditional here in Texas
  • BBQ sauce -- homemade OR your favorite bottled brand
Step 1: Divide meat into five 6-ounce patties that are approximately 3/4-inch thick. Refrigerate patties until you're ready to put them on the grill. Prepare smoker in your kettle grill, pushing the hot coals to one side of the grill. Position the grate so you can access the coals -- if necessary -- while the burgers smoke.

Step 2: When the smoker is hot -- about 225℉ -- salt both sides of the burger patties. Be sure to salt the patties just before you place them inside the smoker. If you salt too soon, Motz says your burgers will stiffen.
Step 3: Place the seasoned burger patties on the side of the grill rack opposite the coals -- but not beyond the center of the grilling surface. Add a handful of damp wood chips to the hot coals, then immediately cover the grill. Close top and bottom vents slightly -- you will use the vents to control the temperature of your grill and keep the smoke inside. Maintain a temp of 225℉ -- if the heat runs hotter, simply close the vents a little more to lower the temp. Try not to open the grill too often as the burger smoke.

Step 4: Flip the burgers after they have smoked for approximately 25 minutes. Smoke the burgers for an additional 25-30 minutes. For those who want a cheeseburger, top patties with sliced cheese 5-10 minutes before you remove them from the smoker.
Place smoked burger patties on warm buns. Top with pickles, sliced onion, and about 2 TBS BBQ sauce. Serve immediately with chips or air-fried french fries on the side.

These smoky burgers were a huge hit with my family last weekend! The burgers come out juicy and smoky...the tangy pickles and BBQ sauce compliment and enhance the smoky flavor. When the ingredients are minimal and simple, quality definitely make sure to use the best-quality ingredients you can get your hands on.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Great American Burger Book as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party blogging group. All opinions shared are solely my own.

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