By Al Hebert
The Gas Station Gourmet

I don’t want to debate what should go into a hamburger patty. Recipes are diverse.
I want to share what I’ve discovered.

One day, I picked up food from a small convenience store in south Louisiana.
Sammy’s Country Store has highly seasoned Cajun meat, spicy sausage and boudin.

I brought Sammy’s hamburgers home. The kids loved them, “This is the best hamburger
I’ve ever eaten,” each declared.This was indeed, a truly great hamburger.

I traveled back to Sammy’s to see if they would share the secret. The secret is
that there really isn’t a secret unless it is utter simplicity. The patty was broiled
not fried. That’s healthy, but healthy doesn’t always translate into flavor.

Sammy explained that the meat was seasoned with his special blend of spices.
I suspect it’s a spin on Cajun seasoning with salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.
Every cook does it differently. There is a simple hint.

“Toasting buns is one thing we do that most people will not do at home,” he said.
When I put hamburger buns in a toaster set on bagel it does indeed make a difference.

I discovered another great burger hundreds of miles away in the oldest town in Texas,
Nacogdoches. Mr. Will’s is a convenience store that serves great ribs and outstanding pie.
The most popular item on the menu – the hamburger.

Owner, Will Rollins said, “A great hamburger is about using fresh ground beef, about 80-percent lean,
using fresh vegetables on it, never mash the hamburger and don’t season the meat.”
Flattening the patty with a spatula wrings the juices out and that is key to a flavorful burger.

So, basically, cook the patty and do nothing else. That’s easy.

I’ve had a lot of hamburgers in this great land. These are two examples that stand out.
Try something different next time you do burgers. Just cook them.

You may find the hamburger is simply delicious when prepared quite simply.

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