Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
As the weather warms up, burger eating is pretty much mandatory. If you’re not working a grill, you’ll probably be standing near someone wielding some patties and a metal spatula. But, I generally look to the professionals for my burgers. I asked the top burger judge I know, Josh Ozersky, for his top 10 burgers around the country. (For a list of the 25 best burgers around the country, look out for Food & Wine magazine’s August issue, which features picks from Josh, among others.)
And he only likes hamburgers with squishy, unseeded white buns and American cheese.
Take it away, Mr. Ozersky.
Editor's note: For more on Hannah Storm, don't miss "Sanjay Gupta, MD" on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday and 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday.
ESPN "SportsCenter" host Hannah Storm suffered severe burns as the result of a propane grill accident at her Connecticut home on December 11. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke with her recently. Here is an edited version of that interview.
CNN: Is it hard for you to just be by that grill where this all happened, psychologically?
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
A few things are sacred to a South African, and a braai is definitely near the top of that list. A braai (rhymes with fry) is the Saffas version of a barbecue – essentially cooking meat over an open flame. But to us, it goes way beyond that. Its cultural significance is such that braaing has its own day – National Braai Day.
September 24 was designated National Braai Day in 2005. It falls on the same day as Heritage Day – a public holiday that serves to promote “creative expression, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the land in which we live,” or in other words, all the things that make South Africa the exceptional place it is.
Vegetarians are (mostly) not here just to ruin your good time. Really. I swear. I was one, myself for seven years and all I wanted at a cookout was to hang out with my friends, and not have to worry that the omnivores would gobble up all the meat-free sides before I got to the table.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate the bounty of the season and make sure all my guests leave full and satisfied - no matter how they choose to chow down.
Here's the cruddy thing about ribs: you can spend hours upon hours lovingly seasoning, basting and smoking a rack to melting, knee-knocking perfection, and at least one of your guests is going to be sitting there thinking, "Well, if I had been manning the grill, I would have..."
Fine. They get to host next time. Meanwhile, rest assured that there are as many ways to prepare ribs are there are meat-loving lunatics with nothing better to do than to spend four or more hours slaving over a hot grill. You're not going to please everyone, but if you follow these basic guidelines (and add your own touches along the way), there's an awfully good chance you'll at least please yourself.
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.
Yes, it’s Labor Day. That most likely means you’re grilling, and while you could just have a burger, what the heck—you’ve labored! You’ve labored all year long! You’ve labored like crazy, gosh darn it! Buy yourself a big steak already. You deserve your share of the cow.
Now, the default pairing option for steaks is Cabernet Sauvignon; it pops up every time someone asks the question, the way those inflatable clown dolls do when you punch them (or who knows, maybe the way real clowns do when you punch them, too). But there are plenty of other great wines out there for steak, and one of the best of them is Australian Shiraz.
There’s more regional variety to Shiraz than a lot of people realize—cooler climate regions like Western Australia and Victoria tend to produce lighter-bodied, spicier wines, while warmer regions like the Barossa and McLaren Vale lean toward the traditional big, ripe, blackberry-rich styles—but either way you’re talking reds with substantial flavor and emphatic tannins. Which is to say, perfect for big slabs of grilled beef.
For a safer grill cleaning method:
Remove the grates - and any other removable elements - from the grill and use a lightly dampened sponge to remove grease, rust and baked-on food. For tougher spots, make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and work that in with a ball of crumpled heavy-duty foil until they've worn away. Rinse away any residue with water and a soft, non-wire brush and dry all parts thoroughly.
We've all seen, smelled, eaten and regretted some mighty bad grilling mishaps over the years, and it's always such a shame. The meat is juuust a little overdone, under-seasoned, inedibly dry, or even reeking of creepy chemicals. With just a few tweaks, dinner would have been a winner.
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Say arrividerci to the meaty monotony of summer grilling (Fire up the grill. Add burgers. Throw on hot dogs. Repeat.) with homemade, flame-kissed pizza.
Here to give you a slice of the action is Jeff Moogk, the Executive Chef at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill.
"When grilling your pizza, it is important to remember to have fun and enjoy yourself with the process and the ingredients. Each pizza recipe I included is listed in the order that the ingredients should be placed, leaving the garnish for when the pizza comes off of the grill," Moogk says.