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Pair hamburgers with homemade rolls

By Staff | May 25, 2018

Use Yogurt Sauce on your burgers or as a dip for tasty fresh vegetables.


GRIT Magazine

The first hamburger as we know it (grilled ground beef patty on a bun) allegedly was made by Oscar Weber Bilby on July 4, 1891, in Oklahoma Territory. Oscar’s burgers were such a hit that he served them every Fourth of July after that, sometimes to as many as 125 friends and neighbors.

Some may quibble about the origin of the hamburger, and the first hot dog on a bun is even harder to pin down, but no one disputes the fact that hamburgers and hot dogs are two of America’s most popular foods. No summer cookout is complete without burgers and dogs on the grill!

Most people have no trouble choosing their favorite patties or hot dogs from among all the meat and vegetarian options.

Delicious condiments and toppings are easy to find. Where most hamburgers and hot dogs fall short is in the bun department. As K.C. Compton, Grit’s former executive editor, said after her encounter with a commercial hot dog bun, “How do you describe the texture of something completely without texture? Or the flavor of something completely lacking in flavor?”

Once you have a hamburger or hot dog on a homemade bun, there’s no going back. The texture and flavor are vastly superior. Take your cookout to new heights with an easy-to-make dough that can be shaped into hamburger, hot dog, slider or sandwich rolls worthy of any summer celebration.

24-hour hamburger or hot dog buns

Inspired by my own experiences with lackluster buns, I developed this recipe for a soft, flavorful bun that can hold up to the heat and moisture of the meat (or meat substitute) and accompaniments. It is so easy to make you may never buy another commercial bun. Yields 8 servings.

2 1/2 packed cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt. With dough whisk or wooden spoon, stir in water, egg and oil until blended. The dough will be very sticky. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours, or up to three days.

On the day the buns will be served, remove dough from refrigerator. On lightly-floured surface, knead dough gently for 1 to 2 minutes.

For hamburger buns, divide dough into 8 3-ounce pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball. Place on greased baking sheet, and flatten gently into 3 1/2-inch disks.

For hot dog buns, divide dough into 8 3-ounce pieces. Roll each into a 5-inch-long cylinder. Place on greased baking sheet, and flatten slightly.

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. During last 15 to 20 minutes (depending on your oven), heat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove buns from baking sheet and place on wire rack to cool.

Hot dogs and toppings

Everyone has a favorite hot dog brand, whether pork, beef, chicken, turkey or vegetarian. One popular choice is a reduced-fat kosher beef frank. You can even get a free-raised uncured veal hot dog these days. For a gathering, grill a variety to suit all tastes.

While purists might insist on mustard only, the list of hot dog toppings is endless. Here are three you might try instead of, or in addition to, the standard mustard, ketchup and relish. Pimiento cheese is a southern classic that can transform a mere hot dog (or even a hamburger) into something special. Set up a hot dog bar near the grill and let guests choose from these three toppings as well as all your favorite condiments.

Sauted onions and bell peppers

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, halved vertically and sliced thin

2 medium red bell peppers, julienned

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

In large skillet, heat oil. Add onions and saute for 15 to 20 minutes, or until browned, stirring occasionally.

Add remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Sauerkraut and Swiss cheese (the reuben dog)

Yields 8 servings.

1 can (15 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and drained

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing, divided

1/2 pound Swiss cheese, thinly sliced or shredded, room temperature

In medium saucepan, heat sauerkraut and caraway seeds.

Spread 1 tablespoon dressing on warm bun, top with cooked hot dog, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut. If sandwiching the cheese between the hot sauerkraut and hot dog doesn’t melt the cheese, pop the completed sandwich into the oven or back on the grill for a few minutes.

Pimiento cheese

Yields about 1 1/2 cups.

1/2 pound sharp or medium cheddar cheese, shredded

1 jar (2 ounces) pimientos, drained and diced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chopped dill pickle

1 tablespoon dill pickle juice

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

In 1-quart bowl, stir together all ingredients until well-blended. Cover and chill for a few hours, or up to one week.

Hamburgers and


Ground chicken or turkey patties are best when other ingredients are incorporated. If you’re not careful, though, additions can quickly make the patties “meatloaf-y.” So chop vegetables very finely and use no more than 1 cup of additions to 4 cups (2 pounds) of ground meat.

Ground beef patties benefit from a bread-and-milk paste to help retain moisture. Dice 1 1/2 large slices high-quality white bread, crusts removed. With a fork, mash bread to a paste with 3 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon each salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Mix in 2 pounds lean ground beef. Form into 8 patties.

Offer at least three variations on the basic burger with standard condiments, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onion.

For a southern burger (8 servings) add 1 1/2 cups pimiento cheese.

To make a southwest burger (8 servings), add 1 cup guacamole, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup chunky salsa and 8 slices pepper jack cheese.

Pizza burger (8 servings) can be made by adding 1 cup zesty tomato sauce (see recipe below), sauted onions and bell peppers, 1 can (4 ounces) sliced ripe olives and 8 slices mozzarella cheese.

Greek burgers

Ground lamb patties can become “Greek” burgers with the addition of a few non-traditional burger accompaniments, including cucumber slices, baby spinach leaves, crumbled feta and yogurt sauce.

Yogurt sauce

Yields about 1 cup, or 8 servings.

1 cup Greek-style yogurt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 clove garlic, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon dried dill

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours, or up to 2 days. Before serving, drain off any liquid that has accumulated and give it a stir.

Adding a small cucumber, seeded and very finely chopped, makes this “tzatziki,” a traditional Greek sauce. Put the chopped cucumber in a paper towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible before adding.

In addition to commercial vegetarian patties available, you might offer vegetarian guests an eggplant Parmesan burger. Grill 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick 4-inch rounds of eggplant, and top with 2 tablespoons zesty tomato sauce (recipe follows), a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan, and a slice of mozzarella.

Zesty tomato sauce

Yields about 1 1/3 cups, or 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 clove garlic, minced

1 can (141/2 ounces) fire roasted crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon parsley

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In 1-quart saucepan, heat oil. Add onion; cook until soft, 2 to 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Simmer, loosely covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Sauce will be thick.

Excerpted from Grit, Celebrating Rural America Since 1882. To read more articles from Grit, please visit www.grt.com or call (866) 624-9388 to subscribe.

Copyright 2018 by Ogden Publications Inc.

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