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Hail the Home Made Burger

by Scott Payne on 3 September 2009

burgerLast weekend was the belated celebration of my birthday. For more than two years, my wife and I had been reluctant to have people over because our apartment, while relatively spacious for the neighborhood, was cramped with all the crap we’d accumulated before we were married. So one of the criteria for our recent home buying experience was space to entertain.

Since having moved in just over two months ago, we have already made ample use of our bigger digs for hosting dinner parties and random gatherings. After spending some time floating down the local river here in Calgary in two rafts with some good friends, we agreed that we wanted to have folks over for a victory meal complete with snacks, dinner, and fresh and locally brewed libations.

The question, of course, was what to eat. I decided, given my current desire to dig into and explore my manhood more thoroughly, to go with one of the all-time favorite male meals: hamburgers.

As children we look at home made hamburgers with nothing shy of derision. But last Saturday reminded me why it is that making one’s own burger is the only way to go.

I’ve been to a number of different restaurants that claim to specialize in the burger and, indeed, some of them made a good one. But when the patty hits the grill, there remains no restaurant that can out-do the average Joe and the open grill of his personal barbecue.

The secret is, somewhat ironically, all in the patty.

All too often, though, burger makers spend all of their time amassing a wide variety of rare and exotic condiments while ignoring the main course.  To be sure, there is something to be said for picking out precisely the kind of cheese or mixing up a chipotle mayo if that floats your boat. Some folks like to craft their own barbecue sauce, which can be an art unto itself. And still others will tell you that it is all in the relish.

But none of it matters if you’re putting it on an uninspired hockey puck of a product purchased in bulk and frozen.  As the saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig…

Making your own patties from scratch,  however, opens you up to a whole new world of quality and taste.

In the patties that were made for our party, I included: two organic eggs (per batch), sea salt, freshly ground pepper, freshly chopped organic garlic, freshly chopped ginger, organic rolled oatmeal, organic hot sauce, and some organic salsa that was, admittedly, bought as I didn’t have time to make my own from scratch.

Those patties, grilled on a open flame and served up still sizzling from the barbecue, tasted unlike anything you can buy in any restaurant no matter how far and wide you chose to search.They made every condiment that we had spread out jump just a little bit more. And when combined with the local brew, there was no question in anyone’s mind that our victory meal from conquering the river befitted our glory.

About Scott Payne

Scott H. Payne is one of those oddities known as as a Canadian blogger in an American's blogosphere. Scott has been blogging for a year and a half at a variety of sites, but currently calls The League of Ordinary Gentlemen home. Scott lives in Calgary, Alberta with his wife Brandy, dog Oliver, and cat Jezebel (no, I didn't name her).

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Manly Thoughts
12 September 2009 at 09:10


1 John Burgess 5 September 2009 at 15:39

Ooooh…. including eggs takes these out of the realm of ‘hamburgers’ and into that of ‘meat patties’. Close cousins, perhaps, but not quite the same family.

Add seasonings all you like, even up to and including parsley, onion or garlic. Cilantro can be great!

But when you start adding fillers like oatmeal or binders like egg, you’re really talking about grilled, individualized portions of meatloaf.

Meatloaf is good; don’t get me wrong. But calling it a hamburger is, well, like putting lipstick on a cow.

2 john 18 September 2009 at 19:25

Dude. I’m sure I love you guys. Calgary – You’ve got the stampede. Alberta – You’ve got Corb Lund (I could go on for hours).

But burgers? Just like you don’t put beans in chili; you don’t piss into the wind – You don’t put oatmeal, organic or not, into your burgers. Period. Beef – it’s what’s for breakfast….and lunch…..and especially for dinner on the grill!!!!!

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