June 26, 2010

Saturday Grilling: Big Burger Barbecue

This weekend was a great weekend in regard to all things food related. It was great for picnicking, shopping at the market, cooking, grilling with friends, eating....eating some more.... it doesn't get any better than all of the above, really.

M and I had not yet broken in our little grill for the season. What a shame! I had my sights set on Saturday night for some huge, juicy grilled burgers. There is nothing like the smell of grill smoke, the sizzle of grease as it hits the fire, sitting around on a hot summer night with a couple of friends.

My day revolved around this BBQ plan. In the morning I whipped up some edamame dip. Later in the afternoon, my friend and I headed down to Reading Terminal Market to buy the freshest ground sirloin from Giunta's Prime Shop and to peruse the produce at Iovine Brothers.

Is two pounds of ground sirloin enough for four people? I worriedly asked the butcher. Logically, I knew it was the right amount for four giant and thick burgers. I am always worried about under-feeding people. Sure enough, our burgers were huge -- they barely fit on the bun and in our mouths.

Giunta's blend of fresh 85/15 meat produces the most fabulously light in texture, yet hugely juicy and flavorful burger. Seriously, this homemade burger contends with the best burgers I've had out at my favorite restaurants. Be prepared with multiple napkins, or just do as I do: give in to the juice running down your hands and chin and devour the burger without putting it down for even a second. Why risk that it falls apart or shifts around? Just go for the gold and zero in on attacking it. Eat whatever else is on your plate later.

My burger was packed with fresh chopped golden onions, and topped with Beemster Gouda Cheese and hot pickled peppers. No ketchup needed. What is necessary is to grill the hamburger buns so that they can firmly stand up to all the juicy goodness. There will be no soggy buns here! Perfection.

While at Iovine Brothers I picked up a whole fresh pineapple, which I sliced and cored. We threw these on the grill before putting the burgers on:

...And enjoyed juicy, slightly smoky grilled pineapple with our burgers. Grilling the fruit brings out all of the natural sweetness. They are hot, extra juicy, and really festive for a warm summer night.

While M grilled, the rest of us sat around enjoying cold beer, and munching on pita chips and crunchy bread dipped in edamame dip and my friend C's delicious homemade walnut spread.

When the food was ready, we had a serious eating party. Cheeseburgers galore; succulent grilled pineapple; a delicious carrot slaw with golden raisins, apples, pecans, and ginger; rice and beans.

Dessert? Yes, we had room! Earlier in the day I had made "cheesecake strawberry jello" which we topped with fresh sliced strawberries, rainbow sprinkles, and ate with a variety of Thin Mint and Shortbread Girl Scout Cookies.

I would say that even though it was our grill's first appearance of the season, it did a stellar job. I can't wait to break it out again as soon as I possibly can!

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