This past weekend, I was involved in a production of "Shakespeare in the Park". After two months of solid rehearsing, it was finally time to mount the production. Despite poor weather, and moving the show to an alternate venue, the show went off without a hitch. After the second show, I had a handful of cast members over for a barbecue to celebrate our success.
I'm still a bit of a novice when it comes to barbecuing for a crowd, but was confident I could put together a decent production. With the help of my lovely girlfriend, who created some amazing appetizers and a scrumptious strawberry shortcake, we were able to put together a wonderful dinner party.
The main course was an easy choice, nothing can please a crowd like juicy burgers, served with a side of roasted potato skewers. I prepared the burgers the evening before, so I would have time to socialize with our guests.
When I cook burgers, I keep it simple. I don't add eggs, onions, bread crumbs, or any type of sauce. I want to eat burgers, not meatloaf sandwiches. I start with quality lean ground beef and add a pleasant mixture of the following savory spices: kosher salt, ground black pepper, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, garlic and onion powder. I also add brown sugar for just a hint of sweetness. Once I make the patties, I add more of the rub to the surface of each pattie to maximize the flavour. I stored the patties between layers of wax paper and plastic overnight.
In the morning, I sliced baby new potatoes and marinated them with white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, herbs de Provence and some extra rosemary.
When it was time to prepare for dinner, I started the fire and went back to my guests. I can't emphasize enough how important it is not to start grilling before the coals are ready. I've ruined meals trying to rush charcoal. After about forty-five minutes, I put the potatoes on skewers and placed them on the grill. If you're using wood skewers, you must soak them in water for at least thirty minutes.
The potatoes were on the grill for about twenty minutes and once you can pierce them with a fork, you know they're done. I put them in the oven to keep them warm. Then it was time for the main event; there's nothing like the sizzle you get from putting meat on a hot grill.
My patties were a little thick, so they needed about twenty minutes to reach F160. I topped each burger with a slice of marble cheese and served them to a happy crowd. The smoke along with the rub packs these burgers full of flavour.
It was an enjoyable meal filled with fantastic food and lots of laughs. Everyone left the table full and satisfied after a fantastic show and a delicious meal.
Here's what I used:
For every pound of ground beef use the following:
1/2 tsp chipoltle chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
ground black pepper