Recipe File: Mini Hamburgers
Near the end of September, efsitz, one of our most active posters in the Community Forums, promoted her English Muffin Hamburgers. I haven't had homemade hamburgers in a while (I work next to an In-N-Out Burger, the best fast food on earth), so I decided to share my version of the English Muffin Hamburger. (efsitz uses the larger "sandwich size" English muffin from Thomas' English Muffins, but I chose to use the smaller muffin size.)
First, we'll need two English muffins. I've found that there are no English muffins like Thomas' English Muffins. The supermarket brand muffins just don't taste the same. The term English muffin is a misnomer as they are technically not muffins (and not from England). Instead they resemble crumpets (also a soft yeast dough shaped into rounds and cooked on a griddle). In any case, either make your own English muffins or buy Thomas' brand.
In addition to the English muffins, we'll also need about 1/2 lb. ground beef chuck. Ground beef chuck is excellent for making burgers because it is not too lean and not too fatty. If a burger is too lean, then the patty will be dry and bland to the taste. If a burger is too fatty, well, then it's to fatty. 20% fat seems to be the optimal amount of fat in ground beef to make an excellent burger. Technically, these two ingredients is enough for your hamburger.
Deciding how you want your hamburgers cooked is important. Sometimes you want a thick, juicy burger, and sometimes you want a multiple thin patty burger that's been cooked so the patties have a crisp shell and the inside is done but chewy. I felt the latter would work best on my English muffins.
I split my ground beef into four 1/8 lb. chuck patties and flattened them down into rounds that looked like they would fit the patty. (I did not make my patties large enough because they will shrink a bit while cooking. Flatten them down until they look like they're too big for the muffins.) Don't be too concerned with overworking the ground beef (which can be a problem with thick burger patties) since we're making thin patties.
You can grill or broil these burgers, but heating a pan was easiest for me. I heated an empty pan over medium-high heat until water sizzled and jumped when I tossed in a few drops. Then I transferred the patties over to the pan and started my timer. I was going for well done since these were thin patties, so five minutes on the first side.
The patties don't stick to the pan because some of the fat renders out. Once the first side is done, it should be quite easy to flip them over with a metal spatula. Five more minutes and the other side all also have a gorgeous and tasty crust.
About a minute before the second side is done, any toppings you desire should be placed on the patty. I put some Pepper Jack cheese (Monterey Jack cheese with Jalapeno chiles) on top of my burgers. I then realized that I had some bacon left over from the Bacon Test, Part I and broke some pieces off and placed them on the cheese.
Meanwhile, I had taken my English muffins and halved them with two forks. Using a knife produces a smoother finish on the muffin halves which doesn't toast as well or produce the famous nooks and crannies for sauce and dressing to fill. The muffins went into a toaster for a light toast and I topped one side with poor man's Russian dressing (equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise, adjust proportions to taste). Real Russian dressing should have grated onions and herbs in it. By the way, Russian dressing isn't from Russia... both English muffins and Russian dressing were invented in America by English and Russian immigrants.
I stacked two patties on top of each bottom half of an English muffin.
I slipped in a piece of romaine lettuce for a little crispy texture and plated the burgers with kosher pickles. Dinner in less than fifteen minutes.
Mini Hamburgers (serves 2 or one hearty eater)
|1/2 lb. (225 g) ground beef chuck||form into four patties||5 min. on medium-high||flip, cook 4 minutes||top, cook 1 minute||assemble|
|favorite toppings (cheese, bacon, etc.)|
|2 English muffins||split with forks||toast||spread|