Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Susan May Warren

What do all of these things have in common? I got up close and personal with each of them this weekend. Yes, Thursday my dear friend, Becky Yauger, and I set out from Texas (Can you say road-trip?!!) and journeyed to Mississippi for a long weekend with Susie May Warren at her Kiss and Tell Retreat. An entire weekend devoted entirely to writing romance. LOVE it! Susie is such a great teacher, not to mention an amazing writer, and my poor blond brain learned almost more than it could hold.
But, alas, all good things must come to an end, so that meant we had to make the 8+ hour journey back home again. And, of course, my family was so thrilled to see me. The first words uttered were, "What's for dinner?"
Seriously? I drive 8 hours and you expect me to fix dinner?
So after a sufficient amount of whining and complaining (mine, of course), I did just that. Nothing fancy, just hamburgers. Great tasting, juicy hamburgers, just the way they like 'em, that they never could have made themselves:-)
And while hamburgers are easy, there is an art. Here are some of my secrets.
You'll want to start with some 85/15 ground beef. Trust me here. I've made them from leaner beef, but they aren't as tender. And since I usually cook them on the grill, either outdoors or my George Foreman, most of the fat drains off anyway.
So here I have 3 pounds of ground beef. To that I add about a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. You can also add a bit of ground pepper, if you like.
Work that all together with your hands. (I actually use two hands, but one was taking the pic :-)
Now make your patties. Some folks prefer their patties thick, others like them thin. Around my house, I have people that like both varieties, so I do them every which way.
The patties are formed, so now comes my secret weapon--McCormick's Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning. My guys love that stuff. Sprinkle both sides of the raw patties.
Now it's time to cook them. Like I said, I generally use our gas grill or my George Foreman. Once in a while I'll cook them in a skillet, but that's rare. Whatever your preference, be sure the surface is good and hot when you put your burgers on to cook. This creates those nice, crispy edges. If you're using the grill, don't let the flames scorch the meat. Off set the patties away from the flame, if necessary, and only flip them once. Oh, and don't press them with your turning spatula. That just squishes out all the juices.
I recommend 4-7 minutes on the first side, flip, then another 4-7 minutes. Add a toasted bun and voila! Dinner is served. Tender and juicy. With no complaints from my men.
And I always make more than we need for one meal. That way, they can grab, heat, and eat whenever they want. Which means I have more time to write. And that's always a good thing.


  1. Now I want a burger and it's 1:20 AM!!

    So jealous of your weekend of writing! Not of the roadtrip. I hate the car. I get carsick really easily. But I'm feeling the need to up my writing skills and wish I could go to a weekend writing retreat.

    So glad you got the chance!

    1. Virginia, you'll just have to fly then. Car sickness is no fun. But the retreat was so worth the drive. It was just the kick in the pants I needed.

  2. Montreal Steak Seasoning! It's my favorite for burgers, too :) And you included my secret ingredient: Worcestershire Sauce!

    Mindy, we must be cooking twins separated at birth!

    But I've never used a George Foreman grill - do they make good burgers? Is it worth the investment? Are they easy to clean?

    I use a griddle when I can't use the outdoor grill, but I get complaints from my dish washers every time (not about the burgers, though. They never complain about the burgers!)

    And, like Virginia, I'm jealous of your writing retreat weekend. Sounds fabulous!

    1. Great minds think alike, Jan:-)

      The George Foreman is pretty good with most things. The only real downside is that, depending on which model you have, the cooking surface isn't that big. I have one of the larger ones and I can only do about 4 at a time. And I have the one with the removable grill plates, which makes clean up much easier. I forgot about the griddle/grill things for the stovetop though. I've been wanting one of those for a while, just not sure how it would perform on my glass cooktop. What type do you have? Do you have a cast iron one or a non-stick?

    2. We LOVE Montreal Steak seasoning around here as well for all beef! And it's great to use on ground turkey to make it taste more like beef. :)

      Mindy, glad you had a fantastic retreat!

    3. Mindy, my griddle is an electric one, so I use it on the counter rather than the stove top.

      It's great for pancakes, french toast, and even stir-fry in a pinch (I don't have a wok) - but burgers throw grease all over the place, so I've learned to put old newspaper on the counter. That makes the clean up a little easier.

    4. Missy, I'll have to try that one the ground turkey. I usually just add some beef bouillon granules, but I think you might be on to something.

    5. Oh...that kind of griddle. I have one of those at the ranch. Like you said, Jan, great for pancakes, grilled cheese, and I've even used it for bacon a time or two, but that can make for a mess. Newspapers? Great idea:-)

    6. Mindy, since we use it on burgers and steaks, it kind of fools our minds when we taste the turkey. (which, btw, I don't like ground!). :)

  3. how are you supposed to make sure they're DONE if you dont' squish on them with the spatula?! I've been bummed with the Foreman grills I've tried- not big enough for cooking - the appliance is huge but the one that does 4 burgers I barely got 2! (of course might explain me doing weight watchers now...with distorted serving sizes!)