March 7, 2021

Umami Burger

After salty, sour, bitter and sweet, umami is considered our fifth sense of taste. Umami refers to the presence of glutamic acid, an amino acid with salty/savory characteristics. Its presence gives food more depth in flavour and character. Umami is present in many seafood products, Parmesan cheese, and meats - especially cured meats, like ham and bacon.

This burger uses lean grassfed ground meat, preferrably bison, but grassfed beef also works well. The low fat levels of the meat require a distinct cooking method else they quickly dry out.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 5 Big Burgers



Break the grassfed ground meat up into small chunks by hand; spread the chunks evenly over a baking sheet. Sprinkle the ground meat with salt and pepper. Drizzle the rendered bacon fat over the meat chunks.

Shape the seasoned ground meat into 5 patties measuring about 4 inches in diameter and little over and inch thick. Try not to handle the meat excessively while shaping it into burgers. Over-handling compacts the raw ground and can result in a cooked burger with increased density and a lack of tenderness.

Place the burger patties on a baking sheet or large plate. Cover burgers loosely with some plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the patties to set. Patties can always be made well in advance.

Preheat one side of the barbecue so that a medium-hot grill surface temperature of 475-500F is maintained on that side. The temperature can be checked using a grill surface thermometer or a laser thermometer. Even a regular coil-style oven thermometer can give relatively accurate grill surface temperature readings when the barbecue lid is closed. And when closed, the opposite side of the grill will have a grill surface temperature of approximately 325-350F.

NOTE: If using charcoal, the hot coals should be distributed on one side of the barbecue so that similar temperatures are maintained -- 475-500F on the medium-hot side & 325-350F on the cooler side.

Brush a very small amount of cooking oil on the top side of the burgers and then quickly grease the preheated medium-hot side of the grill with a rag or paper towel soaked with some cooking oil.

Place the burgers on the medium-hot side of the grill and close the lid. Cook for 4 minutes without disturbing. Flip the burgers, close the lid, and continue to cook on the same medium-hot side of the grill for another 3 minutes.

NOTE: Except when the burgers are being flipped over, the barbecue lid should remain closed.

Shift the burgers over to the cooler side of the grill, well away from the direct heat coming from the fire. Cook the burgers for another 6-7 minutes per side, or until an internal temperature of 155-156F is reached.

Best to check the temperature with an instant-read digital stick thermometer to be sure. Although not inexpensive, the THERMAPEN is tops in design and accuracy. Accurate readings within 1 degree Fahrenheit can be obtained in less than 3 seconds.

For a cheeseburger, top burgers with grated cheese or cheese slices one minute before they come off the grill.

After coming off the grill allow the burgers to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Within the first 5 minutes of resting the internal meat temperature for the burgers will reach 160F. They are well-done and are at their best when done to this temperature - succulent and flavorful. Enjoy.