The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

Mini Grill Camp '08 - Pt. 2 - Wed.

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The first cook was to be a spicy burger called Death-Defying Cajun Burgers from MASTERING THE GRILL. Like many of the burgers in this cookbook, these burgers use a filling sandwiched between two half thickness patties. This filling keeps the burgers moist and gives them extra flavor.

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The cajun rub used 10 spices, most of them hot or salty.

In this case the filling was butter, tomato paste and a spicy cajun influenced rub. The filling ingredients were mixed together thoroughly using a fork. Once blended I formed the mixture into a rectangular shaped mound which I could then divide up into 6 equal sized squares. The next step was making the patties. The yield was supposed to be six 1/3 pound patties. To do this I divided the meat into two large balls which I could use to gauge the size of each. Once I had them the same size I divided them in half again. For the last round I created 3 equal sized balls from each of the 4. Adding and subtracting a pinch here and there I got them evenly sized.

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The filling was made from a mix of butter, tomato paste and the cajun rub shown in the pictures above these. Once mixed I formed a rectangular shape that was easy to form into 6 equal portions.

It was time to make the patties. The trick is to get them the diameter you want with half the meat you normally have to play with. I often resort to putting the patty on a plate and flattening that last little bit out on the plate. If they aren’t spread out wide enough you don’t have enough meat to wrap around the filling. After putting the filling on a patty, it gets capped with the second patty. Initially I try to smoosh the edges together to fuse them. Then I pull the bottom patty up and over the edge of the top patty, not unlike curling your lower lip over your upper lip. Then I try to fuse this rolled lip back into the patty. The last step is to view the patty from all sides. Pay particular attention to the edges, but also look for little holes in the main body of the patty. Where you are starting out with two thinner patties, it is easy to get holes. All it takes is one hole and you will lose your filling which will also cause major flare ups.

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I used equal sized balls to gauge the size of the patties. The balls were formed into 12 patties. The filling is applied to one patty and another patty is used to sandwich the filling and cap it.

Once out on the grill it is fairly straight forward as long as you achieved a good seal. Now the first time I made this type of burger during last years Grill Camp, I didn’t get a good seal. I started having leaks almost right away. I was busy keeping the burgers moving to avoid flare ups. The second time I got a much better seal and it wasn’t until I flipped the burgers that they leaked. This time around I did a bit better. I still got leaks, but it was only in two patties and only in the last half of the time spent cooking the second side. Bottom line: It may take you a few tries to get a perfect seal but it is achievable.

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The key is to get a good seal. On the left we have the burgers cooking with an occasional flare up from dripping fat. On the right we have a flare up caused by the filling leaking.

While I was cooking the burgers, I was also toasting up the buns. This recipe called for high heat. I usually do the buns while the burgers are still on their first side. You are less likely to be distracted fighting flare ups early in the cook. On my grill under medium heat the buns take a minute or so to toast up. Under high heat the time is cut to 30 seconds or a little less. The other problem under high heat is you can go from nicely toasted to blackened cinders in the blink of an eye. Now these were called Cajun Burgers and cajun cooking often means blackened, but not for the rolls. So even though I have a 6 burner grill with lots of grill area, I often don’t use it all when toasting buns. I also only do 4-6 buns at a time. The buns go on the grill much faster than they come off. If you have too many buns on at once, you can end up burning some of them because you can’t pull them fast enough. Don’t ask how I know this.

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The finished burgers after a one minute rest. Don’t put the burgers on a bun until you are ready to eat.

So how did these burgers taste? Great. They were stealth spicy. When I first bit into them I expected to sense more heat from the cajun rub. By the time I finished the first burger, I realized my tongue had started tingling. For the first burger I didn’t use any condiments and it tasted pretty good on it’s own. For the second one, I added a light amount of Dijon mustard and this made a good thing great!. While I strongly recommend you purchase Mastering the Grill, even if you don’t you should try making some of these filled burgers. The types of fillings you can use are limited only by your imagination. In the next entry I will describe the best grilled tenderloin I have ever made.

  MINI GRILL CAMP ’08 - PT. 1-TUE Blog Entry


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