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Brettster 08-04-2007 07:20 AM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
I bought this small outdoor grill at World Market:

http://tinyurl.com/2ypno9

Problem: I am TOTALLY USELESS at grilling.

I will accept absolutely any advice about grilling burgers and steaks
on this thing. I am waiting until the initial flames die down and the
coals are covered in white ash. The coals are pretty close to the
grill, so I thought it would be hot enough. But the meat is coming out
flavorless. Optimally, I would like the meat to be blackened on the
outside and medium-rare / pink in the middle. And flavorful! I am not
having any luck in achieving this effect (or any effect). What is the
best type of ground meat to use? Should I cook with the cover on? Do I
need to season and/or marinate the meat?

Please help. I am desperate.

Thanks!

Brett


Nick Cramer 08-04-2007 07:43 AM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
"Brettster" wrote:
I bought this small outdoor grill at World Market:

http://tinyurl.com/2ypno9

Problem: I am TOTALLY USELESS at grilling.

I will accept absolutely any advice about grilling burgers and steaks
on this thing. I am waiting until the initial flames die down and the
coals are covered in white ash. The coals are pretty close to the
grill, so I thought it would be hot enough. But the meat is coming out
flavorless. Optimally, I would like the meat to be blackened on the
outside and medium-rare / pink in the middle. And flavorful! I am not
having any luck in achieving this effect (or any effect). What is the
best type of ground meat to use? Should I cook with the cover on? Do I
need to season and/or marinate the meat?

Please help. I am desperate.


Brett, welcome to the zoo! Salt, pepper and garlic is good, plus some
minced onion in the burgers, if you like. For ground meat, fattier is mo'
betta. IMHO. Check out http://www.eaglequest.com/~bbq/ and for coals/lump
http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lumpindexpage.htm?bag. Good luck, have fun, report
back.

--
Nick. Support severely wounded and disabled Veterans and their families!

Thank a Veteran and Support Our Troops. You are not forgotten. Thanks ! ! !
~Semper Fi~

Edwin Pawlowski 08-04-2007 12:01 PM

Newbie needs HELP!
 

"Brettster" wrote in message
oups.com...
I bought this small outdoor grill at World Market:

http://tinyurl.com/2ypno9

Problem: I am TOTALLY USELESS at grilling.

I will accept absolutely any advice about grilling burgers and steaks
on this thing. I am waiting until the initial flames die down and the
coals are covered in white ash. The coals are pretty close to the
grill, so I thought it would be hot enough. But the meat is coming out
flavorless. Optimally, I would like the meat to be blackened on the
outside and medium-rare / pink in the middle. And flavorful! I am not
having any luck in achieving this effect (or any effect). What is the
best type of ground meat to use? Should I cook with the cover on? Do I
need to season and/or marinate the meat?


Try a few more coals, best is real lump charcoal as it can burn hotter,
easier to light with just paper, no stinky fluids.

Best ground beef is brisket that you grind yourself. Otherwise, chuck is
good, you want at least 15% to 20% fat for flavor and juiciness. Grill
cover of so as not to steam them. You may want to experiment and put it
partly over during the first part to keep some heat in.



[email protected] 08-04-2007 02:51 PM

Newbie needs HELP!
 

On 8-Apr-2007, Nick Cramer
wrote:

"Brettster" wrote:
I bought this small outdoor grill at World Market:

http://tinyurl.com/2ypno9

Problem: I am TOTALLY USELESS at grilling.

I will accept absolutely any advice about grilling
burgers and steaks
on this thing. I am waiting until the initial flames die
down and the
coals are covered in white ash. The coals are pretty
close to the
grill, so I thought it would be hot enough. But the meat
is coming out
flavorless. Optimally, I would like the meat to be
blackened on the
outside and medium-rare / pink in the middle. And
flavorful! I am not
having any luck in achieving this effect (or any
effect). What is the
best type of ground meat to use? Should I cook with the
cover on? Do I
need to season and/or marinate the meat?

Please help. I am desperate.


Brett, welcome to the zoo! Salt, pepper and garlic is
good, plus some
minced onion in the burgers, if you like. For ground meat,
fattier is mo'
betta. IMHO. Check out http://www.eaglequest.com/~bbq/ and
for coals/lump
http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lumpindexpage.htm?bag. Good luck,
have fun, report
back.

--
Nick.


Given your description of the fire, I can only guess at some
of the problems that might befall you.

1. Meat too lean. 80% is a good target.

2. Patties too thin. 3/4 inch thick and 1/3 lb is a good
target.

3. Tasteless translates to inadequate seasoning. Only you
know what you like. S & P with some garlic is good. Garlic
may burn, so watch it. Some seasoning including onion
and garlic mixed with the hamburger works well. Don't
forget about Worcestershire or even soy in the patties.

4. Cook burgers just like steaks. Turn once only. "DO NOT
MESS WITH THE PATTIES WHILE GRILLING". Manipulation
contributes to dryness.

5. Flareups should not be a problem if the fire is hot
enough
and the lid is down. If you're cooking on an open grill, all

bets are off. Maybe a spritzerr bottle to control flareups
while
avoiding spritzing the meat itself.
--
Brick(Youth is wasted on young people)

Nonnymus[_6_] 08-04-2007 08:00 PM

Newbie needs HELP!
 


Brettster wrote:
I bought this small outdoor grill at World Market:

http://tinyurl.com/2ypno9

Problem: I am TOTALLY USELESS at grilling.

I will accept absolutely any advice about grilling burgers and steaks
on this thing. I am waiting until the initial flames die down and the
coals are covered in white ash. The coals are pretty close to the
grill, so I thought it would be hot enough. But the meat is coming out
flavorless. Optimally, I would like the meat to be blackened on the
outside and medium-rare / pink in the middle. And flavorful! I am not
having any luck in achieving this effect (or any effect). What is the
best type of ground meat to use? Should I cook with the cover on? Do I
need to season and/or marinate the meat?

Please help. I am desperate.



Brett, let's start from the beginning. For a little grill like yours,
you need a lot of surface area to the charcoal. I used "lump" which is
chunks of wood that have been converted to charcoal. It has an
irregular shape and more surface area to catch quicker. If you use
briquettes, consider putting them in a bag and breaking them slightly
with a hammer to get more area.

On my first grill like yours, about 200 years or so back, I got some
1/4" hardware cloth and put it UNDER the briquettes so that they could
get some air from the bottom. That seemed to add to the heat they
emitted. Marbles or even 1" rock would work just as well, so long as
it's dry.

To get them going well, use a chimney. It's just a metal sleeve that
you put the charcoal or wood chunks in and light. With them stacked
inside, they light quicker and better. My first chimney was an old
gallon can with the top and bottom cut out and some hardware cloth
fastened to the bottom. I'd wad up newspaper and pour on some bacon
fat, light it, then loosely dump in the charcoal. When all is burning
and the coals are white, dump the charcoal out into your grill when
they're really cranking. Consider tossing in some damp wood chips about
the time you put the meat on to add some additional smoke to the heat.

If your grill has a damper underneath, be sure it's open to get more air
on the charcoal and help it burn hotter. Spray your grate with Pam to
help keep it cleaner.

For burgers, mush in a packet of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix to 2# of 20% or
15% fat hamburger. For fun, add a few squirts of Worcestershire Sauce on
occasion. Don't fool with the expensive ground round etc- go with plain
old hamburger for the best flavor. Let it set in a bowl in the
refrigerator for about 1-2 hours so it absorbs the soup mix flavor.
Make the patties about 1" thick and put them on cold. Cook to your
desired inner temperature, adding salt and pepper to taste. The biggest
mistake folks make is to overcook the meat.

For steaks, try ribeye with good marbling and some untrimmed fat. I
crush up a couple cloves of garlic in the press and rub it into the
surface of the steak, then add on a little Olive oil to make it shiny.
I never add salt and pepper until the steak's on the grill, so that the
salt doesn't draw out moisture.

When the steak or hamburgers are done, let them "rest" for about 5-7
minute before serving. If doing cheeseburgers, use American cheese
slices before removing from the grill and when it softens, top with the
toasted bun.

Once you've mastered the basics like this, then you can experiment and
branch out.

--
---Nonnymus---

TINSTAAFL
There Is No Such Thing
As A Free Lunch

Brettster 09-04-2007 12:55 AM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
Progress Report!

If my initial barbecued burgers were overcooked and flavorless, I will
be charitable and give myself a "B" on my newest effort, thanks to the
invaluable help I received here. I reckon the two burgers I cooked for
myself today were a 75 percent improvement (and I have a good idea
what I have to do to improve further).

Here's what I did differently:

I upgraded from Kingsford's "Match Light" briquets to their "Mesquite"
line. I realize this isn't top-of-the-line stuff, but we're taking
baby steps here. I am not going to be lighting any newspapers on fire,
at least until I buy a little more homeowner's insurance.

I opened the vent at the bottom of the grill, where it had previously
been closed.

I made sure the briquets were as close to the grill as possible, to
maximize heat.

I made sure everything was squeaky-clean.

I "downgraded" from 7 percent fatty ground beef to the 15 percent. I
believe this made a huge positive difference, although I am not sure
my dietician would agree with me.

The burgers were thicker this time -- about 1 inch, as had been
recommended.

I applied powdered garlic, onion, and that "Crazy Mixed Up Salt"
stuff. I also added maybe 1/4 cup of real chopped onions to one of the
burgers, to amazing effect.

I flipped the meat once and didn't screw with it other than the one
turning.

Although I won't burn newspapers, I did add a few of the "Match Light"
briquets to the Mesquite, to make sure the fire kept going at the
beginning. I also did have to add some of that lighter fluid.

Wow. What a HUGE difference! The burgers were succulent and tasty. Ye
gods...I can't wait until next weekend.

Here were a couple of debits.

There was an almost negligible "sandy" type of cruchiness to the
burgers that might well have been because of the powdered onion and
garlic, but I wondered if it could also have been actual charcoal,
since the briquets were basically up against the grill.

I removed the burgers a teensy bit early, so they were a bit more rare
that I would have preferred. Still, I'd rather have them too rare than
overcooked. I guess I could buy one of those meat thermometers, but I
probably will try to time them from now on.

But that's all. They were tasty, almost magnificent. After a few more
"trial and error" attempts with ground beef, I will move on to steaks.

Again, THANK YOU to everybody who made these great recommendations. I
am really, really overjoyed about my progress, and I couldn't have
done it without you.

Brett in L.A.


Bill Funk 09-04-2007 02:12 AM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
On 8 Apr 2007 16:55:26 -0700, "Brettster"
wrote:

Again, THANK YOU to everybody who made these great recommendations. I
am really, really overjoyed about my progress, and I couldn't have
done it without you.


You've evidently done real well at learning!
I do a few different things to my burgers...
I always use 80% lean ground beef; leaner, as you've leaqrned, means
less flavor, as well as burgers that sometimes just fall apart.
I always add an egg; it helps the burgers stay together.
I don't really like American Cheese product; I like real cheese. Sharp
cheddar is great. Any cheddar is better than American cheese wannabe.
Well, my wife likes it.
Also, I find that adding shredded/crumbled cheese to the burger itself
is a good thing; a little bleu cheese adds a kick, and even feta
cheese is good.
The usual suspects (woostershire sauce(:)), soy sauce, etc) certainly
don't hurt.
I also will add some chopped garlic (so far, I've only found only diet
soda to not benefit form added garlic; I'm sure there are other
things) does wonders.
Garlic Festival (http://www.garlicfestival.com/) makes some very good
seasonings. If you can attend a Rennaisance Faire, they have a booth
(at least they do at the one near Phoenix).
Did I mention I like garlic?
Enjoy!

--
THIS IS A SIG LINE; NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY!
The White House gave John Kerry's
campaign nemesis Sam Fox, who funded
the Swift Boat Veterans, a recess
appointment to Belgium on Wednesday.
Nothing ever changes. John Kerry
insisted he was for the appointment
before he was against the appointment.

Brettster 09-04-2007 05:02 AM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
How does the addition of an egg change or enhance the flavor of the
beef? Or does it?

I guess I could experiment with this...but what would a coating of
ground pistachio and/or walnut do to the flavor of a barbecued burger?
Possibly with a jigger of Worcestershire sauce?





[email protected] 09-04-2007 06:30 AM

Newbie needs HELP!
 

On 8-Apr-2007, "Brettster" wrote:

Progress Report!

If my initial barbecued burgers were overcooked and
flavorless, I will
be charitable and give myself a "B" on my newest effort,
thanks to the
invaluable help I received here. I reckon the two burgers
I cooked for
myself today were a 75 percent improvement (and I have a
good idea
what I have to do to improve further).

Here's what I did differently:

I upgraded from Kingsford's "Match Light" briquets to
their "Mesquite"
line. I realize this isn't top-of-the-line stuff, but
we're taking
baby steps here. I am not going to be lighting any
newspapers on fire,
at least until I buy a little more homeowner's insurance.

I opened the vent at the bottom of the grill, where it had
previously
been closed.

I made sure the briquets were as close to the grill as
possible, to
maximize heat.

I made sure everything was squeaky-clean.

I "downgraded" from 7 percent fatty ground beef to the 15
percent. I
believe this made a huge positive difference, although I
am not sure
my dietician would agree with me.

The burgers were thicker this time -- about 1 inch, as had
been
recommended.

I applied powdered garlic, onion, and that "Crazy Mixed Up
Salt"
stuff. I also added maybe 1/4 cup of real chopped onions
to one of the
burgers, to amazing effect.

I flipped the meat once and didn't screw with it other
than the one
turning.

Although I won't burn newspapers, I did add a few of the
"Match Light"
briquets to the Mesquite, to make sure the fire kept going
at the
beginning. I also did have to add some of that lighter
fluid.

Wow. What a HUGE difference! The burgers were succulent
and tasty. Ye
gods...I can't wait until next weekend.

Here were a couple of debits.

There was an almost negligible "sandy" type of cruchiness
to the
burgers that might well have been because of the powdered
onion and
garlic, but I wondered if it could also have been actual
charcoal,
since the briquets were basically up against the grill.

I removed the burgers a teensy bit early, so they were a
bit more rare
that I would have preferred. Still, I'd rather have them
too rare than
overcooked. I guess I could buy one of those meat
thermometers, but I
probably will try to time them from now on.

But that's all. They were tasty, almost magnificent. After
a few more
"trial and error" attempts with ground beef, I will move
on to steaks.

Again, THANK YOU to everybody who made these great
recommendations. I
am really, really overjoyed about my progress, and I
couldn't have
done it without you.

Brett in L.A.


I enjoyed the progress report Brett. I'm glad we were able
to help you get past some of the early pitfalls.

--
Brick(Youth is wasted on young people)

Bill Funk 09-04-2007 03:19 PM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
On 8 Apr 2007 21:02:59 -0700, "Brettster"
wrote:

How does the addition of an egg change or enhance the flavor of the
beef? Or does it?


The egg acts as a binder; the burger stays together better.

I guess I could experiment with this...but what would a coating of
ground pistachio and/or walnut do to the flavor of a barbecued burger?
Possibly with a jigger of Worcestershire sauce?


I've never tried tried such myself; the thought never occured to me.
Anyone else?

--
THIS IS A SIG LINE; NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY!
The White House gave John Kerry's
campaign nemesis Sam Fox, who funded
the Swift Boat Veterans, a recess
appointment to Belgium on Wednesday.
Nothing ever changes. John Kerry
insisted he was for the appointment
before he was against the appointment.

Nonnymus[_7_] 09-04-2007 06:57 PM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
Brett, now you're getting to the real fun of barbecue. To my simple way
of thinking, the experimentation is 75% of the fun, while eating the
most successful of the experiments is the other 25%. grin

Brettster wrote:
How does the addition of an egg change or enhance the flavor of the
beef? Or does it?

I guess I could experiment with this...but what would a coating of
ground pistachio and/or walnut do to the flavor of a barbecued burger?
Possibly with a jigger of Worcestershire sauce?


Go slow on the Worcestershire sauce- it can really get overpowering
quickly, IMHO. Remember to always let cooked meat set for a few minutes
so it holds in the juices better when cut or bit.

--
---Nonnymus---

TINSTAAFL
There Is No Such Thing
As A Free Lunch

Nick Cramer 10-04-2007 12:11 AM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
Nonnymus wrote:
Brett, now you're getting to the real fun of barbecue. To my simple way
of thinking, the experimentation is 75% of the fun, while eating the
most successful of the experiments is the other 25%. grin

Brettster wrote:
How does the addition of an egg change or enhance the flavor of the
beef? Or does it?

I guess I could experiment with this...but what would a coating of
ground pistachio and/or walnut do to the flavor of a barbecued burger?
Possibly with a jigger of Worcestershire sauce?


Go slow on the Worcestershire sauce- it can really get overpowering
quickly, IMHO. Remember to always let cooked meat set for a few minutes
so it holds in the juices better when cut or bit.


Brett said he's in LA. The only place I'll eat burgers out is at the Tin
Horn Flats Cafe, 4103 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank. They're great! Since I like
mine blood rare, the cook always comes out and explains to me that gubmin
regs require the meat to be cooked to (some excessive number of degrees). I
tell her that I'll accept full liability for the results and if it's not
right I'll send it back after one bite and won't pay for it. She always
makes 'em for me the way I want. I sit in the outside back patio with my
pals from the Burbank Road Kings, enjoy my 'burger, a few Coronas and a
smoke. Life is good!!!

--
Nick. Support severely wounded and disabled Veterans and their families!

Thank a Veteran and Support Our Troops. You are not forgotten. Thanks ! ! !
~Semper Fi~

Brettster 10-04-2007 03:25 AM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
I will check out Tin Horn Flats Cafe. I find myself in Burbank fairly
regularly.

Brett


Nick Cramer 10-04-2007 03:32 AM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
"Brettster" wrote:
I will check out Tin Horn Flats Cafe. I find myself in Burbank fairly
regularly.


Brett,

KEWL! Throw out my SPAM to e-mail me. I'll send you my phone number so you
can let me know when yer goin' and I'll meet you there.

--
Nick. Support severely wounded and disabled Veterans and their families!

Thank a Veteran and Support Our Troops. You are not forgotten. Thanks ! ! !
~Semper Fi~

Speechless 10-04-2007 07:46 PM

Newbie needs HELP!
 
On Mon, 09 Apr 2007 10:57:44 -0700, Nonnymus
wrote:

Brett, now you're getting to the real fun of barbecue. To my simple way
of thinking, the experimentation is 75% of the fun, while eating the
most successful of the experiments is the other 25%. grin

Brettster wrote:
How does the addition of an egg change or enhance the flavor of the
beef? Or does it?

Egg is tasteless but keeps the burgers from falling apart. Acts like
"glue" to keep the ground meat stuck together.
Add 2 eggs per pound

For better taste, also add bread crumbs. The bread crumbs absorb and
retain some of the fat for flavor. Add 1/3 cup crumbs per pound

If using lean or extra lean ground meat, add 1/2 cup chopped celery
per pound as additional binding material in addition to egg.

Add chopped onion for flavor -- experiment for how much to add.



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