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It's Labor Day, and we can only hope that means folks out there are laboring over a burger - or four.
If you've finished studying our compendium of grilling awesomeness and ready to take off the training wheels and put on the big boy apron, Josh Capon has a few more ways to beef up your burger repertoire.
Five Ways to Up Your Burger Ante: Josh Capon
Some people maintain that Labor Day officially marks the end of grilling season. Those people, for the most part, are wrong. Some folks maintain the flame in snowdrifts up to their thighs. Others are hauling out the hibachi for the first time this season because it's finally cool enough to cook outside without wilting like a hothouse gardenia.
So what we're saying is, so long as our spatula isn't actively frozen or melted to our hands, and monsoon spray does not prevent us from lighting a charcoal chimney, we're going to be outdoors, putting flame to food. Why don't you just come along and join us?
Catch up on the rest of our great cookout and picnic tips below, and if you run into a sticky grilling situation - we're here to help. Share your burning questions in the comments or Tweet us @eatocracy and we'll have your festivities back on track in no time.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to get our grub on, we listen up.
There’s something about a big burger blow out over the last weekend of summer, when you feel the need to grill as many burger patties as possible. Maybe, though, you’ve already hung up your grilling spatula for the season – maybe you feel like eating dressed up burgers without doing any work. These places are for you.
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
All National Cheeseburger Day coverage
There’s a useful wine-pairing bit of advice which runs, “It’s not the meat, it’s the sauce.” What that means is when you’ve got a chunk of protein in front of you –unless you prefer your meat à la Cro-Magnon, i.e. rare and dripping with blood - you’re most likely pairing wine to the sauce or condiments on it as much as the meat itself.
In other words, smother a chicken with mushroom-cream sauce, and you’ve got a whole different wine situation than if you take the bird, dip it in sriracha, and roast it on a bed of limes (Admittedly, I’ve never done that and it would probably taste god-awful, but you get the idea).
Eagle-eyed readers may note that we already celebrated National Cheeseburger Day in September, National Hamburger Day waaaayyyy back in December and others raise high the burger flag on May 28th. However, while there's a fleck of red tape residue on the process, there's not exactly a federal regulatory agency for food holidays, so we'll go with it as an excuse to get beefy.
The hamburger was invented many greasy, cheesy, meaty decades ago, but exactly when and by whom a matter of hot dispute. Time Magazine's Josh Ozersky asserts in his 2008 book, "The Hamburger: A History" that the modern day incarnation of the formed patty between two halves of a bun is "an American invention" with endless regional variations like the Connecticut steamed cheeseburger, Mississippi slugburger or Oklahoma onion burger.
All National Cheeseburger Day coverage
When you're called the best burger in the country, those are some pretty big shoes to fill.
When you're called the best burger in the world by the London Observer, those are gold-laced sneakers of Shaquille O'Neal proportions.
Memorial Day weekend is practically the opening ceremony of the summer grilling Olympics, and this year, it's time to go for gold with your own personal burger trainer.
The Vintage Cookbook Vault highlights recipes from my insane stash of books and pamphlets from the early 20th century onward. It's a semi-regular thing.
Well, ain't that a kick in the palate? Some of the country may be getting socked with snow, but the lack of a grill wouldn't have gotten in ol' Dino's way if he wanted a burger. No siree. And he didn't need no fancy-schmancy hardwood lump charcoal, grass-fed heirloom bison, artisanal mustard, or even a bun for that matter.
Per his recipe from The Celebrity Cookbook, edited by Ms Dinah Shore in 1996, this Rat Packer needed little more than a pan, a pinch of salt, and a shot of Kentucky's finest when he wanted to get his beef on.
Previously – You can haz America's best cheeseburger
Read how Farm Burger builds a better burger from the ground up and learn how you can replicate America's best cheeseburger in your very own kitchen