grilling

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Simple Ingredients Make the Perfect Burger: Palapa Burgers

Published June 6, 2013 by jenmatteson

With our parents, Nate and I went to Belize last year…like last year February 2012, sadly, not this past winter ūüė¶ ¬†I did quite a bit of research before we went to get in the know about the best places to go. ¬†The Palapa¬†Bar was highly recommended on Trip Advisor, not only for its excellent, friendly service, beautiful location, the fact that you can float in inner tubes in the ocean while drinks are lowered down to you in a bucket, and that you can leave your mark (if you can find a place to do so), but because of their burgers. ¬†For all reasons listed, we hit this place one of the first days we were there.

Palapa Bar, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Well, we ended up spending the majority of the day here. ¬†A quick recap of notable events: my mom got nice and toasted (and I don’t mean sunburned).My parents enjoying panty rippers at the Palapa Bar

I found a swimsuit twin,

My swim suit twin

we left several marks on the bar,

One of our marks on the bar

My mom's doing...still not sure what it says.

Our mark <3

we floated in inner tubes and had drinks lowered to us,

My dad enjoying his panty ripper in the tube

soaked up the sun,

Nate and I having fun in the sun at the Palapa Bar

and last but certainly not least, we had a burger. ¬†Usually I’d be skeptical and say it was just the atmosphere that made these burgers so delicious, but I must reject that theory. ¬†Why? Because we got the secret recipe from the owner and have made them at home.

Palapa Burgers

That’s right, it’s a very secret recipe that I am about to share with you. ¬†The ingredients are so simple, and there are so few, you might actually think it couldn’t be true. ¬†Well guess what? ¬†It is.

Palapa Burgers

Now, I’m certainly guilty of loading my ground beef with seasoning and onions and whatever else comes to mind before making my patties, but sometimes, you must adhere¬†to KISS (keep it simple sweetheart).¬†¬†Sometimes adding ingredients is necessary if you’re making a turkey or chicken burger, mostly because they don’t have a lot of flavor alone, nor is there enough fat to keep them juicy.¬† But sometimes, a plain and simple beef burger is where it’s at!

So, here it goes – I’m giving up the secret ingredients now. ¬†Ground beef (and not that lean crap that’s got no flavor; get the ¬†fatty stuff, like 80/20), salt and pepper. ¬†Yep, that’s it. ¬†Aren’t you sad you didn’t think of this? ¬†Don’t you feel stupid for looking up a burger recipe that is so simple? ¬†Well, don’t. ¬†I like people like you who keep me blogging about the stuff I’m blogging about. ¬†And you trust me to give you good info, and well, this is GREAT info. ¬†Best burger, hands down.

Palapa Burgers

Palapa Burgers

Source: Not at all adapted from The Palapa Bar
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
Kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.  Divide beef into four equal parts and shape into patties.  Transfer to plate and season top side generously with salt and pepper.

Here’s a hint: Do you ever suffer from a bloated burger?¬† You know, when it shrinks in diameter but plumps up in the middle, almost like a slightly flattened meatball?¬† Well, if you gently press your thumbs into the center of the patty before grilling it, this will prevent the bloated burger, thus making it pretty and fit on your bun (and in your mouth) much easier.

Press thumb into center of patty to prevent burger bloat

2. Once grill is heated, place patties on hottest part of the grill, seasoned side down.¬† Season the top side of the burgers.¬† Grill over medium-high heat until you begin to see “burger sweat”.¬† These are juices that accumulate on the top of the burger.¬† It’s hard to say how long based on how you like your burger cooked and the temp you are grilling at.¬† About 5-6 minutes should be efficient for a 1/4 pound burger cooked to medium.¬† It’s time to flip**.¬† Grill for 1-2 minutes less than you did the other side.¬† If you want cheese, add it in the last 1 minute of cooking.¬† Close the top and cook until cheese is melted.

3. Remove from the grill and do yourself a favor.  Let the burger rest for at least 5 minutes before shoving it down your pie hole.  This will allow the juices to redistribute, making it a flavor explosion in your mouth.  Serve with desired garnishments.

**Two important things about flipping burgers, and more broadly, meat in general. 

1.¬†If you cannot easily¬†get your spatula under it because the meat is sticking to the grates, than guess what?¬† It’s not time to flip.¬† Do not, I repeat, do not try flipping it anyway, otherwise your poor burger is going to fall apart.

2. Please note that meat needs, and should be, flipped only once.¬† Just once.¬† Two is too many.¬† None is not enough.¬† Once.¬† And stop playing with it on the grill for God’s sake.¬† It’s already dead and will not¬†play with you back.¬† Just let it do its¬†thing and enjoy the weather.¬† The more you move, play with, and flip your meat, the more dry and sucky it will be.¬† For real.

Recipe Swap: Rosemary Chicken Burgers with Garlic Rosemary Mayonnaise

Published April 26, 2013 by jenmatteson

Another round of Blogger’s Choice Recipe Swap, hosted by Sarah at a Taste of Home Cooking.¬† I was excited to be assigned a blog I have not yet visited, Jenna’s Cooking Journey, so I had a good timeWC-Recipe-Swap-badge-1 sifting through all of her recipes to find something tasty!¬† Of course, most dishes fit that parameter, but I wanted to find something that would be good to grill.¬† We had another snow storm over the past weekend, some areas getting up to 8″, and another one earlier this week, with an estimated 6-10″ of snow…in April.¬† The end of April.

Rosemary Chicken Burgers with Garlic Rosemary Mayonnaise

Seeing as though it’s not yet spring outside, I thought making something on the grill might make us feel like it’s spring inside.¬† I make a lot of turkey burgers at home, but I had yet to make a chicken burger¬† No real reason why, just hadn’t tried them, which is why Jenna’s chicken burgers with garlic rosemary mayonnaise was the perfect match!¬† I’ve never heard of putting mayonnaise in the burgers, but it really does make sense to add a little moisture and fat to the very lean chicken burger so you don’t end up with a hockey puck.¬† Sort of defeats the purpose, though, right?¬† I suppose I would say this is still on the healthy side though.

Rosemary Chicken Burgers with Garlic Rosemary Mayonnaise

Nate and I had a busy and active Sunday morning.¬† We headed to the gym for an hour and a¬†half, then we had some errands to run.¬† By the time we got home, I was famished, so I started in on these burgers right away.¬† Like I said previously, I was a bit skeptical of adding mayonnaise directly to the burgers, but thought it couldn’t hurt to try it.¬† The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of the mayonnaise in the burgers, but after adding only about 1/4 cup of the mayonnaise, I thought that was plenty.¬† The burgers actually were quite difficult to handle because they were so moist.¬† I decided grilling them probably wouldn’t work well, so I ended up using a skillet instead.

Rosemary Chicken Burgers with Garlic Rosemary Mayonnaise

The result was absolutely amazing!¬† The mayonnaise added a lot of moisture and the rosemary added so much flavor that I almost forgot I was eating a chicken burger.¬† Although it’s a burger and my initial thought was that it might make us feel more spring-y, the rosemary actually made it more hearty and would be a really great burger for the wintertime.¬† So I guess, technically, with all the snow we are still getting, it really was the perfect match!¬† The arugula added just a hint of spice and freshness.¬† I don’t usually buy¬†arugula and would have used spinach¬†instead, but I’m glad I sprung for the spicier green option.¬† The only thing I would change for next time is a tomato slice to bring more freshness and color to the plate.¬† Nate and I both loved them; he ate two in one sitting, and called the third one for his lunch on Monday.¬† It’s definitely a keeper!

Rosemary Chicken Burgers with Garlic Rosemary Mayonnaise

Rosemary Chicken Burgers with Garlic Rosemary Mayonnaise

Source: Adapted from Jenna’s Cooking Journey
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For the mayonnaise:
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the burgers:
1 lb lean ground chicken
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 hamburger buns (I used sandwich thins)
1 cup arugula

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for mayonnaise.  Add half the mayonnaise to a larger bowl, and refrigerate remaining mayonnaise.

2. To the larger bowl with 1/2 the mayonnaise, add ground chicken, salt, pepper and rosemary.  Gently combine with fingers, being careful to not over work the meat.  The mixture should be quite moist.  Divide into four equal parts and shape into patties.

3. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Spray with olive oil.  Gently place patties (I had to do them two at a time) in the skillet and cook over medium low heat for 8-10 minute.  Flip and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, about 8-10 more minutes.  Remove from pan and let rest.  Repeat with remaining patties.

4. Prepare buns with reserved garlic rosemary mayonnaise on tops and bottoms.  Divide arugula among the bottoms of the buns, place burger on top of the greens, add the top of the bun.  Enjoy!

Check out what everyone else made for the Blogger’s Choice Swap!

Beer Can Chicken

Published April 22, 2012 by jenmatteson

This is probably one of the easiest ways to cook a whole chicken and I will definitely be doing this again. ¬†Probably many times. ¬†The easiest way to get the entire chicken eaten is to have three hungry men, one girl, and one kitty. ¬†I’m always hesitant to make a whole chicken because you never know who likes what part of the chicken. ¬†I’m a fan of the chest, though I don’t mind the wings or thighs either. ¬†It didn’t seem to be a problem last night.

I had a bottled marinade that I got from my dad in one of his goodie boxes. ¬†We get all sorts of fun, sometimes interesting, stuff from him. ¬†Most are things I’d never buy, but since they’re free, I figured I’ll give them a try. ¬†This one was called Pirate’s Gold Inferno Hot Marinade. ¬†I marinated the chicken for about 6 hours before cooking in. ¬†A simple marinade of ¬†a little olive oil, garlic, and spices of your choice would work wonderfully instead. ¬†I’ve read that the beer does little to actually flavor the chicken, rather it just keeps it super moist, so I used a Coors Light. ¬†I’m skeptical and may try a more flavorful beer next time. ¬†Don’t forget to sample about half the beer before putting it on your grill ūüėČ ¬†Nate had a fancy stand that the beer can sit in and support the chicken, but you don’t need to have one. ¬†Just balance the chicken on it’s legs while resting on the beer can.

The entire chicken was eaten in probably less than 15 minutes. ¬†I gave Charlotte, my adorable kitty, the first taste. ¬†Big mistake! ¬†She wouldn’t shut up or leave me alone until I gave her more…and more…and more. ¬†Finally she just sat on my lap and tried to help herself. ¬†The boys gave the chicken rave reviews! ¬†It was so moist and juicy; it was unbelievable! ¬†The marinade made its way into the meat, and not just the crispy skin, which gave the chicken a great spicy kick. ¬†This would be an excellent choice for a casual grilling party, especially in the summertime when you are busy playing lawn games and/or enjoying adult bevies. ¬†You can set it and forget it!

Beer Can Chicken

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 3-4 lb whole chicken
marinade of your choice (optional but recommended)
1/2 can of beer
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Remove neck and giblets of chicken and discard.  Rinse with water, inside and out, and pat dry.  If you choose, marinade your chicken 4-24 hours in advance.

2. Holding a chicken leg in each hand, place bird cavity over 1/2 full can of beer.  Salt and pepper bird generously.

3. Place chicken-on-beer-can on the grill and cook over medium high indirect heat for 1 1/2 hours, until internal temperature of breast is 165 degrees and thigh is 180 degrees, or until juices run clear when stabbed with knife.  Let bird rest for 10 minutes before carving.

I just had to add this last picture because the bird’s butt is steaming and I have the sense of humor of a five-year old ūüėõ

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