Summer comes with two of my favorite things: grilling and sweet corn. Certainly grilling can be done year round, however there's something about hanging out in the back yard, cooking over fire, and smelling the smoke in the warm air that's impossible to resist. This cheeseburger and corn on the cob recipe is one of my favorite summer meals and is quick enough to do on a weeknight. The best possible quality ground beef and the freshest sweet corn and tomatoes available from your local farmer's market or garden are essential for making the most of this meal.
- 1 lb Tyner Pond Farm grass-fed ground beef (or more depending on number of people)
- Tyner Pond Farm bacon, precooked
- Toppings of choice (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles)
- Wheat buns, or preference
- Favorite condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayo, etc.)
- Worcestershire (optional)
- Basic seasoning (blend of equal parts sea salt, ground pepper, garlic and onion powders)
- Cheese (classic yellow American and sharp white cheddar are favorites)
- Fresh corn on the cob
Clean grill drip pan and burner guard bars if using a gas grill. If using charcoal, empty ash and prepare charcoal fire in advance to allow coals to heat. These instructions use a gas grill, however it adapts well to charcoal as both items cook over direct heat.
1. Clean the corn by removing the outermost layer of loose husk and cutting off excess silk.
2. Fill a sink (a clean bucket works well when cooking outside) with cold water and add the corn. Let it soak for 20-30 minutes. This will help prevent burning.
3. While the corn soaks, set your thawed Tyner Pond Farm ground beef, still in the package, out to warm. This helps it cook more evenly as the center won't be cold when it hits the grill.
4. While the corn soaks and the ground beef sits, slice toppings. It will be too much of a distraction while cooking!
5. Light the grill and set to preheat to 450 450
6. Open the ground beef and slide onto a plate or cutting board. Remove the slip of paper that will be on one side. Using a fork and going with the grain, gently pull the meat apart. It should separate into strands that formed as it came through the grinder. If not, use fingers to separate the meat into small pieces spread thinly across the plate. The goal is to distribute the seasonings through the meat without having to mix it through by hand.
7. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the basic seasoning evenly over the meat. Add three or four dashes of Worcestershire. I particularly like to include this on the 100% grass-fed beef since the lower fat content means the burger benefits from a little extra moisture.
8. Pile the outer pieces of meat onto the middle. Run fingers through the meat a couple of times to distribute seasonings and combine it. Don't overwork it as handling the meat can make it tough.
9. Form the meat into a loaf and slice it in equal sizes for however many burgers you're making. I'm going all-in here and making half pounders so I cut it in half. Pick up one chunk of meat and give it a quick roll between your palms to form a ball. Depending on how well combined the meat is there may be cracks on the surface. These will only get worse when flattened into a patty and allow juices to escape. To remove, toss the ball between cupped hands a few times like a baseball, slightly turning it each time so it stays rounded and smoothes out as shown here.
10. Flatten the meat by pressing between the palms of your hands, rotating slightly, and repeating until an inch thick. Doing it this way reduces the cracks that can form along the edges of the patty. Finally, use your thumb to make a dimple in the middle of each to reduce plumping while cooking.
11. Cut buns in half and set out cheese. I like to break off each corner of the cheese and set it in the middle. The corners are just going to melt and drip off, so why not keep them on your burger?
12. Verify your grill is heated to 450o. The more the grill smokes while heating the more stuff that needs to cook off. When the smoke stops, the grates are ready for cleaning.
13. Use a wire brush to scour the grates clean. Next, layer a few paper towels and fold them over twice into a square, put a tablespoon of cooking oil on one side, and use an oven mitt to run the oiled towel over the grates. This lubricates and removes any remaining debris from the grates.
14. Shake excess water off the corn and place on the clean grill grates. Close the lid. Note the time.
15. Wait ten minutes. Turn the corn over and add the burgers. Be careful not to drop or toss the patties on the grill. That will cause the meat to go between the grates and be sliced off by the spatula. Close the lid and wait three minutes. Don’t peek! It's particularly important with grass-fed beef to stay nearby and keep an eye on the time to avoid overcooking.
16. At the three minute mark slide a metal spatula under each burger, rotate each patty a quarter way around and slide it (this is another reason to oil the grates) to a new spot. The new spot will be hotter and make for better grill marks. Avoid pressing on the patties or trying to flatten, as this will squeeze juices out and force meat between the grates.
17. Wait three more minutes and flip each patty. If cooking smaller burgers (or bigger for that matter), the way to know when to flip them is to watch for smoke. Cooking times will always vary so when the grill starts smoking moderately it means the patty is releasing juices and needs to be turned. Move the corn as needed so sides that are green face the heat and darkened parts face away. Close the grill lid.
18. After 4 minutes, or when the grill has started smoking again, add the cheese and bacon to each patty and close the lid. Wait two minutes for the cheese to melt. By now there should be ample sizzling meaning it’s time to come off. Once the cheese melts remove the burgers to a plate and let sit. Remove the corn as well.
19. If toasting the buns place each half cut-side down on clean spots of the grate and close the lid. This only takes a minute so be careful not to burn. Remove buns and turn off grill.
20. Shuck the corn while the burgers rest. I also like to cut each cob in half. Not only does this fit better on plates, it also caters to folks who want more than an ear but not two whole ears.
21. Add mustard, ketchup, etc. to toasted bun halves, load up on toppings, and build a burger. If you're like me and built a burger too tall, squish it a little and poke a wood skewer down the middle to help hold it all together. Season corn and grab a slice of watermelon.
Enjoy your dinner, summer, and the bounty of Indiana.
Read more about Why Switching to Local Was Easy for our customer, Scott Andrews.