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Verses from my Kitchen: Beef Burger with Brie and Sweet Tomato Relish

November 18, 2010

Beef Burger with Brie and Sweet Tomato Relish

Most people wait until the early sprinkle of warm sun in May before they fire up the grill. Then of course there are those of us who decide to brave the elements and pull on a hooded coat and tackle the flames all fall and winter long. It's simple really. I love the great taste that come from the barbecue and the way it transforms meat into a caramelized mass of flavour. 

Each and every person I know swears that their burger recipe is the best and they prepare it accordingly. Each method is unique and tried and tested. Some prefer egg and breadcrumbs, some use shredded cheese, others instead offer up something entirely different. The taste tells the story.

After much trial and error I've come close to making my idea of the perfect burger, a meaty burger with juice to spare. The toppings will differ depending on my mood and the season and the event but the basis for my burger really doesn't change.

Most people don't know this but the truth is a great burger starts and ends with fat content. You need fat if you want a moist, juicy and tasty burger. That's the secret. And my secret is bacon fat. I prefer a lean cut of meat so I add the bacon fat to ensure I'm not left with a dry burger.

These are a few tips you need to know if you want to make the perfect burger:
  1. Handle the meat with care. Very lightly. This prevents the burger from falling apart.
  2. Always use fresh ground, never frozen.
  3. Grill the burgers on a higher heat and only turn once. Just once.
For my burger I start with lean ground beef and add in some fresh herbs, garlic, onions, and Worcestershire. I fry bacon until cooked and add that in along with the fat. I add in mustard, eggs, breadcrumbs and season liberally. I then mix it up gently to distribute the seasoning throughout and form patties in my hand as delicately as possible.

The toppings are entirely up to you but I love mixing and matching. On this night I decide to go with a tomato relish and thick slices of warm brie. The relish is mainly chopped vegetables flavoured with vinegars and seasonings and spices. The result is a savoury, delicious tasting sauce that's perfectly matched on top of a burger.

I usually prefer spice but this time went with a sweet relish that has so much flavour that it intensifies the taste of the burger itself. I use chopped tomatoes, onions, sugar, vinegar, kosher salt and cracked pepper. 

That first bite will lock you in. It's like a trip to heaven and back. A moist burger punched with flavour and topped with sweet relish that's both tangy and sweet, warm thick creamy slices of brie and a crunchy grilled bun.

Happy Eating!

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At November 25, 2010 at 8:00 AM , Blogger whozyerdanny said...

It takes a true Canadian to grill all year long...I'll see you outside!

At November 25, 2010 at 7:58 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thanks Danny! Grilling during the Canadian winter is not for the faint of heart!


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