What purebred, red-blooded American doesn’t like a perfectly cooked, juicy hamburger? OK, leave out the vegans, the vegetarians, the pescatarians, the aviatarians (did I just make that up?), and the poor souls with a generally flawed palate. Those who are leftover will most likely sink their teeth into a charbroiled meat patty sandwiched between two soft, toasted buns with the glee and delight of a five-year-old at Chuck E. Cheese. Yours truly included.
Last Saturday, Hubby and I bid adieu to our first grill. Purchased ten years ago, this grill far outlived its original life expectancy; it was a humble, reliable workhorse, and helped host many outdoor parties. Towards the end of its life, however, the burners had rusted through and collapsed in a brittle, rusty mass. We ditched the propane tank and filled the body of the grill with charcoal for a few more uses, finally giving in and purchasing a shiny new natural gas Weber last Sunday.
The farewell meal on our old Coleman may have been the best we ever cooked on it. I’d been to Richard’s Meat Market earlier in the day, and purchased a few house-made Polish sausage links. Turns out, what I thought were three Polish sausages turned out to be two Polish sausages and one “wild card” sausage – I’m not sure what the guy behind the counter grabbed, but it sure wasn’t a Polish sausage. No worries, though! I was already planning to use them with some leftover brats I had in the fridge.
You’re probably thinking, “Wow, fascinating. Grilling sausages. What’s she going to talk about next, boiling water?” Well, listen here, you! What I did was to take a grilling staple – in this case, fresh sausages – and transform them into another grilling staple – burgers. The Flyer’s own Todd Gill was recently inspired to do the same, only backwards. He instituted a now-famous Gill creation: Hamdoggers.
For my Bratburgs, I began by peeling off the sausage casings and placing all the meat in a bowl. With my hands, I gently mixed the meat together until it was incorporated, and divided it up evenly into patties. While the patties rested in the fridge, I got my burger accoutrements ready.
Adorning your burger can be a very personalized, intimate affair, so I’m not going to micromanage here, or bark orders about what you should put on it and how you should put it on. I will tell you, however, that around our house, bacon and cheese reign supreme. Tomato, lettuce (and pickle and onion for Hubby) are nice additions, sure; but seriously, it’s all about the bacon and cheese.
The bun plays another important role. While there are a bazillion choices out there to choose from, the vast majority of them are inherently the same: dry, fluffy white bread that turns to mush in a matter of nanoseconds. Give me something with substance, something with body! I chose ciabatta buns for our burgers, and was not disappointed. The outside was crisp, the inside was chewy, and I actually tasted the bread as a part of my burger, not just using it as a vehicle to get the meat in my face.
As the old Coleman cooled after its final mission, Hubby and I sat down to an epic burger experience, complete with homefries and spicy ketchup. I could try in vain to explain the burger’s flavor with fluffy adjectives, but I’ll spare you. They’re amazing. Truly, truly amazing. Enjoy!
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6 of your favorite fresh sausages
Burger toppings of your choice
A hot grill
Remove the casings from each sausage and discard the casing. Thoroughly mix the sausage meat together to combine, and pat into four patties.
Grill, adorn, and dig in.
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Laura Hobbs is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, see her author page or visit Flyer Foodie on Facebook.