Note that this is the first of many guests posts to be written by my seriously awesome foodie friend Darryl.
It’s that time of year again…I find myself longing for the simplicity of a burger. However, my grill is covered with snow and out of propane. The thought of making a burger indoors at home used to be something I absolutely despised. My mom is a pretty good cook, but even as a kid, I couldn’t stand burgers made at home unless they were on a grill. The indoor ones always had this weird football shape, were tough, and virtually tasteless. This problem wasn’t just limited to my mom. Pretty much anyone I knew who made burgers at home and indoors, including myself, ended up with the same results. Yuck!
In my single days, I could avoid this problem by simply not making burgers at home. Now this is a regular request from my family, so I had to come up with something. Fortunately, one of my guilty pleasures is binge-watching cooking and restaurant rescue shows. From my extensive “research” and experimenting, I came up with an at home, indoor burger that was amazing and fit the bill of what my mom would call a “bar burger”. The term bar burger is used in my family to describe one of those big, thick, juicy burgers with the hard seared crust on a toasted bun that you would find a bar or pub-style restaurant and cost $10-15. Yum!
The recipe, below, probably seems pretty lengthy for a simple burger, but I promise it is worth reading and trying. The goofy little tricks like seasoning the meat with Worcestershire and soy sauce, minimally handling the meat, and making wells in the patties make all of the difference in the world. There is a HUGE difference between these and typical homemade burgers. They taste best on a lightly toasted bun, but are good enough to eat plain, without one!
Darryl's Fabulous Indoor Bar BurgersPrint Recipe
- 1 pound of ground chuck or ground sirloin (the sirloin will be a little less fatty, but it is my favorite for this recipe)
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Any other seasoning you like (I often add a ¼-½ teaspoon of steak seasoning, barbecue dry rub, or Cajun seasoning to add a little zip. Shredded cheese, bacon, or onions are other options. I would recommend not adding extra salt before cooking as the soy sauce adds saltiness)
Adjust oven rack to middle position, and preheat the oven to 350 ℉. Line a broiler pan or rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack on top on the pan.
While the oven is heating, put meat into a large bowl and gently break into roughly 1 inch pieces. Add Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, and any other seasonings. Gently combine together until just incorporated, much like you would toss a salad. Excessive mixing will make the meat tough. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
While the meat is sitting, heat a large, heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over high heat. You will not add any oil or fat to the pan, so it needs to be thoroughly heated to prevent the meat from sticking and to achieve the hallmark crust of a bar burger. Be sure to turn on your vent fan!!!
Form the meat into a loose loaf shape, and cut into 4 equal slices. Gently form the edges of each patty into a round shape and then create a shallow well in the center. This well helps to ensure even cooking and prevents your burger from looking like a weird, unappetizing football (the unfortunate hallmark of most homemade burgers). You should handle each patty no more than 10 seconds. Excessive handling will make the meat tough.
Check to see if your skillet if sufficiently heated by dripping a drop or two of water into the pan. If it sizzles, it’s ready! Add burgers to pan, and do not touch for 1-2 minutes. Check to see if there is a crust, if there is, flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes on the other side.
Immediately transfer the burgers to the wire rack inside the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 4 to 8 minutes to reach desired doneness.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving (just like you would do with a steak). This allows the juices to become re-absorbed by the meat...creating your super juicy burger!
Don’t forget to lightly toast the insides of your buns either in the pan in which you just seared the meat or under the broiler for a minute. It’s simple, perfect to do while the burgers are resting, and will truly finish off your bar-burger!
These burgers are super juicy and taste better than most fancy $10 burgers from a restaurant or bar. The Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and limited handling of the meat are the key to making these burgers subtly flavorful and tender.