Saturday, June 28, 2008

How to Grill a Good-for-You Burger

Beef is good for you--in moderation. It's packed with protein, zinc, iron, vitamin B-12, niacin, phosphorous and selenium.

If you find hamburgers are more a staple of your diet than an occasional treat, it's time to beef up the nutritional value of those burgers. Joyce McDowell from The Ohio State University Extension offers three creative and tasty ways to do just that.

1. Buy the leanest beef you can find.
Some stores sell 95 percent lean ground beef, which can considerably lower the amount of calories and fat in the final burger. For example, a 3.5-ounce burger made from 80 percent lean ground beef has 270 calories, with 160 calories from fat. But when that same size burger is made with 97 percent lean ground beef, it contains just 170 calories, with 63 calories from fat.

When using very lean beef for your burgers:

* Cook the meat slowly at lower temperatures to keep it from drying out too much.
* Be sure the inner part of the burger reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent food-borne illnesses, such as E. coli.
* Experiment with adding egg white and breadcrumbs to the lean ground beef to better help the burger hold together on the grill. These seasonings also add flavor.

2. Watch your portion sizes.
You may be surprised to learn that women only need 5.5 ounces from the meat and bean group daily, while men need just 6.5 ounces. It's easy to eat twice that with a single burger. Begin by making a burger as you typically do and weigh it. If you just have to have a big burger, then skip meat the rest of the day.

3. Pile on healthful toppings.
Dress up that naked burger, but choose condiments that are low in fat and sugar. Skip the cheese or use a non-fat cheese. Then top your burger with lettuce or romaine and a thick slice of tomato. Be sure to choose a bun made with whole-grains.
--From the Editors at Netscape

The Gourmand's Natural 24-Inch Hardwood Grill
The Gourmand's Natural 24-Inch Hardwood Grill
Described by the late James Beard as "brilliantly thought out and well-constructed," this is the natural hardwood grill with a cooking surface that can be raised or lowered 16", allowing you to begin cooking as soon as the fire is lit. Favored by Chef Beard at his summer cooking school, the grill's design is inspired by traditional grilling devices of southwest France and Turkey, as well as the grills used to prepare asado--the renowned barbecue of Argentina. A simple turn of the flywheel allows you to adjust the height of the cooking surface as the flames rise and fall, providing more control of cooking heat than gas grills. Its patented construction funnels air flow through the front of the unit and across the fire until it reaches the concave heat reflector that directs optimal heat to the grill's surface. This unique design creates high temperatures at the back of the grill (ideal for searing steaks), medium heat at the center, and low heat at the front (for gently cooking food). The grill is handmade from brushed 304-grade stainless steel (parts range from 9 to 14 gauge), and the grates and ash pans remove easily and fit in a dishwasher. A rotisserie spit allows you to cook whole game hens or chickens, wheeled legs provide mobility, and the grill requires only a minimal, 15 minute assembly. Intended for use with hardwood, the grill also accommodates charcoal. Made in the U.S. 39" H x 24" W x 19" D. (180 lbs.)

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