There’s nothing more American than celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks, a beer and a cheeseburger. Now imagine that cheeseburger took steroids and went to Hawaii – what could be more American than that? While I don’t condone steroids, I do condone delicious burgers, which is how I plan on celebrating this Independence Day.
First and foremost, a burger must be moist. The key to a juicy burger is choosing a cut with some fat in it, like ground chuck. Chuck is cut from the cow’s shoulder, which is muscular and has a nice balance of meat and fat. Since it comes from a large muscle, it contains connective tissue which partially melts when cooked, making the patty juicy and elastic. Chuck doesn’t have a very intense flavor, so ask your butcher to blend in a richer cut of ground beef like sirloin. Sirloin is cut from the top rear part of the cow where there is little muscle. This makes for extra tender and flavorful meat, which is an excellent complement to the chuck. No matter which you choose, using a blend of cuts will give your burger depth and complexity.
There are countless theories on what makes the perfect burger: the meat, the bun, the science of getting the Maillard flavors just right. All these factors are important, but to me what matters most is topping your burger with fresh ingredients you love. If you aren’t going to Hawaii this holiday weekend, bring the tropics to you with my latest favorite burger. This recipe was created to add tang and spice to the meat while preserving its flavor, and to test out different staples in the fridge. Grilling the pineapple draws out its sweetness while adding a smoky char (delicious on its own!), and the avocado mash is a great fresh substitute for salty ketchup. Replace French fries with grilled rosemary potatoes and you’ve got yourself a beefed up, sauced up cheeseburger that’s ready to kick back and watch some fireworks. Happy Fourth of July, everybody.
Tropical Fourth of July Burger Recipe
- 2 lb ground chuck/sirloin blend
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp habañero mustard
- 1/4 tsp regular mustard
- 1/2 tsp barbeque sauce
- Dash of Tabasco sauce
- Dash of olive oil
- 1/3 pound thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese
- 7-8 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 5 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed
- 7 pineapple rings, sliced 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick
- 7 potato rolls
- 1 tomato, sliced no thicker than 1/4 inch
- 2 avocados
- 3 tbsp barbeque sauce
To Make Potatoes:
Coat potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary, and grill for 6-7 minutes per side or until skin is crispy and golden brown.
To Make Burger:
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together ingredients besides cheese. Form beef into 7 palm-sized patties and season with additional salt and pepper to help create a crispy crust. Grill for 6-7 minutes, then flip. Grill for 5 minutes and add cheddar. Close grill and cook for 1-2 more minutes until cheese is melted. A medium-rare burger should have a browned crust on the outside and be juicy and pink on the inside.
Grill pineapple slices for 3 minutes per side. Meanwhile, mash avocados in a bowl and mix with barbeque sauce. Spread mash on toasted bun, top burger with pineapple and tomato and serve with grilled potatoes and a pickle