John’s Commander Burgers
Hello, everyone. This is John Robinson, commander of the Jupiter 2 expedition. Lost in space out here, we’ve had to face many hardships, but something that always helps you face up to the next day is a good, hearty, American hamburger.
This isn’t a hard-and-fast recipe as much as it is a couple of tips with my seasoning preference. As you back home in America approach Labor Day Weekend, I hope I can help you enjoy some really great burgers!
1 pound lean hamburger
Pepper (preferably freshly ground)
Condiments to taste
Two large, clean hands
Pepper mill (preferably)
Charcoal grill or electric griddle
Divide your hamburger up into 4 to 6 portions. Shape each portion into a patty about a half-inch thick. Turn it in your hands, flattening it to an even thickness and smoothing the edge. Sprinkle one side with your seasonings, a pinch or two of each, to your taste. Drop patty seasoned side down onto your griddle or grill, and season the top side too.
Now here’s the important part. No matter what you’ve ever seen, no matter how much you want to, DO NOT press the burger (it is now a burger, not just a patty!) down with your spatula! DO NOT! All that does is squeeze out all the juices and leave you with a hockey puck. Your burger will start to swell. When the top side starts to pull apart into cracks, flip it. When the juices start to run clear out of it, it’s done — close to well done. Adjust your cooking times by eye if you prefer it medium or rare.
But there’s the important secret — start with a patty thick and even, and don’t press it out while cooking.
Serve it up in the traditional way on a bun — I prefer to toast mine lightly on the griddle — and add whatever you like: ketchup, BBQ sauce, bacon, onion, grilled or raw (I like a slice of raw onion almost as thick as the burger!). Serve up outside at a picnic table with potato salad, cole slaw, watermelon, and iced tea. Better have a lot of napkins too. Have a great Labor Day holiday, folks!
A drop or two smoke-flavor seasoning if you are cooking on an electric griddle or a propane grill.
Cajun-style blackened seasoning in place of what’s recommended above.