Sunday dinner: Apple-cheddar burgers

The Wife’s birthday always falls on Memorial Day weekend, which means that its more of a four-day event than merely one 24-hour window. Friday night brought clams provencal with some friends. Saturday was steaks with The In-Laws. Today when I asked what she wanted for dinner, she said burgers. I’m okay with burgers, but I decided that I wasn’t going to let it stand on simple meat and heat. I wanted something a little more complex. I suggested getting some grass-fed beef and she said it didn’t need to be that fancy.

“I want grill food,” she said. She should know better.

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The apple-cheddar burger seems to be making its way around as the new hot thing to do with ground beef. I’ve seen recipes pop up on line from nearly every direction and they are all the same. Chop everything into small dice, mix it with the meat, form burgers and cook. I tried to marry some of my burger principles with it. I always use a lot of salt in the meat. The chemical reaction between the beef’s natural juices and the sodium deepens the flavor and makes for a juicier burger (it’s science). And, most importantly, cook them hot and quick. Get the grill to about 600 degrees, and get the patties on and off. If the burger cooks more than about eight minutes, you’ll end up with gray meat.

Apple-cheddar burgers
By Jared Paventi

  • 1 medium gala apple, peeled and finely diced
  • 10 oz. sharp cheddar
  • 2/3 lb. 85 to 90 percent lean ground beef
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Two whole wheat rolls, sliced

Take your block of cheese and cut about one-inch off the side. Cut two slices of cheese and set aside. Use a pairing knife to finely dice the remaining cheese.

Preheat your grill with all burners on high.

Mix the cheese and apples together with the meat in a large bowl. Using your hands, work the meat and cubes together so everything is meshed together thoroughly. Break the mixture into two even portions and form a tight ball with your hands. Gently press the burger between your hands and set on a plate. Repeat with the other portion of meat. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Once the thermometer on your grill reaches about 550 to 600 degrees, add the patties directly over the heat on the same side of the grill. Reduce the heat of the burners on the burger side to medium and leave the other burners on full blast.

After five minutes, turn the burgers. Add the slices of cheese and place the rolls on the elevated rack. Close the lid and let cook 3-4 minutes more. Serve hot.

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