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Award Winning Chef Offers Grilling Tips for the Perfect Burger

Image: tuscan olive burger (ARA) - The summer grilling season is in full swing as record numbers of Americans head to the back yard for food and fun in the sun. Always a favorite, burgers remain a top pick for cookout connoisseurs, but any would-be grill guru can tell you that creating a flavorful, juicy burger isn't always as easy as it looks. Fortunately, mastering the perfect burger is within reach of the average backyard chef.

Considered one of America's leading chefs, beef expert Richard Chamberlain suggests that one of the simplest ways to give your burgers a boost is by adding cheese. "Cheese adds a big burst of flavor while also helping maintain the moisture of the meat," says Chamberlain. "With natural sliced varieties like Chipotle Cheddar and Baby Swiss, I find that Sargento cheese is particularly convenient and adds great taste to burgers."

Follow these other simple techniques for creating the perfect burger from Chef Chamberlain to ensure that you and your guests will never have to take another tasteless, burnt-out bite.

What's Your Beef?
For moist, rich flavor, Chamberlain uses ground sirloin that is 80 percent lean. If you're looking for a leaner burger, select ground sirloin that is 95 percent lean, and increase moisture by adding one egg white and 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs for every pound of meat used. To keep burgers from crumbling during grilling, Chamberlain recommends chilling the meat well in advance, and using a ring mold to form a tight patty.

Spice It Up!
Seasoning is an important and often over-looked part of the grilling process. Chamberlain prefers the bolder tastes of kosher or sea salt, and fresh ground pepper to iodized salt and pre-ground pepper. Season both sides of the patty just before grilling for peak flavor.

Feel the Heat
Chef Chamberlain recommends using a grill with solid, heavy grates for superior heat retention. Keep burgers from sticking by lightly brushing the grill with oil or applying a non-stick cooking spray. Don't forget to preheat over medium to medium high heat.

Brown is Best
When you're finally ready to get down to business, Chamberlain indicates that the real key to flavor is browning, so resist the temptation to flip before the meat is properly browned! A professional meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of knowing when your burgers are ready to serve. The internal temperature should be 160 degrees F for a perfect burger.

Try your hand at Chef Chamberlain's recipe for Tuscan Olive burgers for a delicious Mediterranean twist on grilling.

Tuscan Olive Burger

Makes 4 Servings

1 1/2 pound ground beef sirloin
Kosher or sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Olive bread slices (optional, you can substitute hamburger buns)
8 slices Sargento Baby Swiss cheese

3/4 cup green olive tapenade
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon capers
Fresh ground pepper

1 6-ounce jar artichokes in olive oil
1 roasted red bell pepper (peeled, seeded and diced)
1 medium tomato (diced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
8 slices Sargento Baby Swiss cheese


1. For the olive tapenade mayonnaise: In a food processor, combine olives, lemon, mayonnaise and capers. Process until smooth. Chill.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine artichoke salad, olive oil and roasted peppers and mix well.

3. Pre heat grill at medium high heat. Mold ground beef into 4 to 6-ounce patties and season with salt and pepper. Place burgers on grill and cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Top each burger with 2 slices Sargento Swiss cheese and melt. Grill olive bread slices or hamburger buns lightly.

4. Spread 1 tablespoon tapenade mayonnaise over 4 slices of bread. Top with burgers. Top burgers with artichoke salad and serve.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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