Here we are… July 4th! Time to celebrate America and traditional favorites. Gatherings with family and friends have never been more eagerly anticipated and enjoying those times with simple foods is what we have on our menu. This month, although not exactly a “recipe,” we offer you a new way to use country ham with your traditional burgers… together… just plain and simple.
What is more American than good ole juicy burgers? Not much. And we wouldn’t dare get too crazy in busying up an already perfect creation. Adding one little tweak and topping on your burger bar will surprise your hungry guests with an unexpected crunch. And hey, who says bacon always needs to be the pork to top your burgs? Move on over bacon… there’s a new twist in town! Biting into a smashburger, or any burger, and getting the unexpected salty crunch of Rays Country Ham might just send bacon back to your breakfast table!
Be sure to stock up on our country ham when buying. You won’t have to be concerned about expiration for a good while… unlike bacon, it’s pantry-stable saving refrigerator space… and you never know when you’ll have a hankering for one of these scrumptious burgers!
Makes 8 burgers
1 lb. package Rays Country Ham
2 pounds ground chuck, made into 8 burgers
8 burger buns (we love onion rolls)
your favorite burger toppings
Cut ham into pieces about the size of a burger. Make slices in pieces as needed so they will lay flat in the skillet and all areas will touch direct heat.
Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly oil pan and fry pieces of ham until crispy crunchy.
Cook your burgers just the way you love them… pan fried, grilled* or griddled.
Assemble your burgers as usual, tucking in slices of the crunchy ham as you pile on your favorite toppings. Offer the ham slices on your burger bar as you would bacon!
So what IS a smashburger?
Wevsee them everywhere these days and yet some of you may not be sure what makes a burger “smashed?” Well, it’s just that… a burger that has been smashed so more of the meat meets heat to give a nice “crust” to the burger. Think diner griddled burgers! The “scientific” name is The Maillard Reaction. The high heat contact gives a toasty and charred exterior to the burgs. But you need to smash in the first 30 seconds of them hitting the hot griddle or grill to preserve the juices. Smash with a big spatula, flat press or anything you can push down on easily. (We use the bottom of a mason jar.) It is also helpful to put a piece of parchment paper on the burger before smashing so your “smash tool” doesn’t stick to the burger!
* If grilling, you can’t “smash” burgers on grates so we prefer a griddle or a hot cast iron skillet to cook our burgers in on top of the grill grate.