Smoky Barbecue Burgers Makes The Cheapest Ground Beef As Flavorful As A More Expensive Cut. It Is Even Cheaper To Use Tofu And Make Burgers For Your Vegan Friends.
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Smoky Barbecue Burgers
Now that Labor Day is here, our opportunities to cook outdoors will be fading fast. Don’t let the last cookout happen without Smoky Beef or Tofu Barbecue Burgers. A simple rub permeates the meat with spices and the mop keeps the meat moist and delicious. As with most barbecued meat, low, slow cooking is the way to go here.
The fat in the meat is what makes a burger juicy. Save the expensive, 95% lean ground beef for another time, and indulge in the cheapest meat you can get. It will probably be an 80/20 mix of lean and fat. The rub mixes up quickly, and is made of spices you most likely already have in your pantry. After applying the rub to the meat, let the burgers rest in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook.
The mop requires one cup of beer. How you use up the rest of the opened bottle is up to you. The burgers are also delicious with just the rub.
I decided to try two things: (1) I cooked the burgers in the oven instead of the grill to see if this recipe would work year-round; and (2) I tried using the rub and mop with extra-firm tofu to see how a vegetarian version would turn out. Both were delicious. So, if you are planning a meal for a “mixed” group (meat-eaters and vegetarians) this is an easy way to make a meal for everyone. I cubed the tofu, but it would work fine in slabs that would fit better in a bun. If you are not cooking directly on a grill, put the burgers or tofu on a rack over a baking sheet so that the mop drains off during the cooking process. Lining the baking sheet with parchment paper makes clean-up fast and easy.
The meat burgers have chopped onion mixed into them but there is no easy way to do that with tofu without getting a crumbly mess that won’t hold together. Feel free to grill some onions as a topping.
Taste the burgers before you add toppings, even ketchup. They have a lot of flavor, so you may not need as much as you think.
What kind of bread should I use for these burgers?
I used whole-wheat hamburger buns, but use whatever you like best. These would also be fabulous on crusty french or sourdough rolls?
How do I get a smoky flavor without the grill?
I added a half-teaspoon of Liquid Smoke, a commercial product which is gluten-free and certified kosher. You can omit this if you are grilling.
Is it better to grill over gas or charcoal?
This is an extremely divisive question – almost as contentious as the cuff-down vs. toe-up debate among sock knitters. Both methods have their fans and detractors. Gas is very convenient and the only thing I want to cook with in the house, but I am firmly in the charcoal camp for outdoors. We had a gas grill once, and after I read the instruction manual I was terrified to turn it on. (Something about tubes and spiderwebs and explosions). Braver folks than me live happily with their fuel tanks, and love the convenience of turning a knob, but for me, nothing matches the flavor of hardwood charcoal lit by an electric starter (no smelly lighter fluid and as easy as the knob.)
How long should I cook the burgers?
Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. It is best to use a meat thermometer to check this. Be sure to thoroughly wash all plates and utensils that have touched the raw beef. When you take the burgers off the heat, put them on a clean plate, not the one that held the burgers before they were cooked. If you would like to use the mop as a sauce, boil it for at least ten minutes if it was already used for basting. The basting brush can transfer bacteria from the raw meat back into the mop. Plant-based burgers have none of these concerns.
Products used in making this recipe:
Bundle – 2 Items: Colgin Gourmet Liquid Smoke – Natural Mesquite and Natural Hickory Flavors (4 oz each)
Zenlogy 12×16 Unbleached Parchment Paper Baking Sheets (100 Pcs) – Exact Fit for Your Half Sheet Pans …
KITCHENATICS 100% Stainless Steel Wire Cooling and Roasting Rack Fits Quarter Sheet Size Baking Pan, Oven Safe, Commercial Quality, Heavy Duty for Cooking, Roasting, Drying, Grilling (8.5” X 12”)
Digital Meat Thermometer, Habor Meat Thermometer Instant Read Thermometer Candy Thermometer with Super Long Probe for Kitchen BBQ Grill Smoker Meat Cooking Fry Food Candy
Silicone Pastry Brush Set — 2 Pack — Heat Resistant Basting Brush Set Elegantly Designed + Dishwasher Safe — Large Black + Small Green Sizes Perfect For Baking, Grilling, Basting & Marinating
Smoky Barbecued Beef or Tofu Burgers
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 pounds ground beef 80/20-can sub 14 ounces of extra-firm tofu
- 1/2 onion chopped (for beef only)
- 1 cup beer
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4 onion chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoky Rub from above recipe
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke optional
Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons to use in Beer Mop.
Form beef into four patties and cover with rub all over. Alternatively, dip tofu slices into rub, coating on all sides Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
When you are ready to cook. preheat oven or grill to 250 degrees. If cooking indoors, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cover with a metal rack. (Outdoors, place directly on grill surface). Let patties sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Stir mop ingredients together in a small pan and warm over low heat.
Transfer patties to the grill or oven and cook for about one hour. Brush patties with mop approximately every 15 minutes. Meat should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Cook tofu to desired crispiness.
Serve with rolls and desired sandwich toppings.
This recipe was adapted from Smoke & Spice by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison