Rachael Ray offers some tips for cooking burgers in her cookbook, "The Book of Burger" (Atria, $14.99)
It's a collection of 200 recipes for burgers, sliders, side dishes, sloppies (as in Joes), hot dogs, sandwiches, sauces and toppings. These include a few burgers created by trophy-winning chefs from her annual Burger Bashes, such as Iron Chef Michael Symon and Bobby Flay.
Most of us think summer grilling and burgers belong together. But Ray prefers cooking hers indoors on a cast-iron skillet, with a little drizzle of her favorite catchphrase, "EVOO."
"Griddles and cast-iron skillets create a delicious crust on the meat, resulting in deeply flavored burgers, while outdoor grilling can hide flavors in char and smoke." she writes. ""By all means, if you like to get your char on, take my burgers for a walk outside."
Some of her tips: Before you form patties, bring the meat to room temperature and pat off excess liquid using a paper towel.
When you form patties, make the center of the patty thinner than the edges, because patties plump when you cook them.
Vary your rolls — brioche, Kaiser, ciabatta and so on. She likes slicing up loaves of white bread into half-inch thick slices for patty melts.
When using ground turkey, she prefers a white and dark meat blend that's heavier on the dark meat. If you use ground turkey breast, you'll need to compensate for the leanness with moisture from vegetables or adding fats like olive oil to keep the meat from drying out.
In the future, I intend to use this book to expand my own horizons, one burger at a time.