A Family Favorite – Shrimp Burgers

18 Dec

Missy suggested shrimp burgers for dinner tonight so I quickly abandoned my grilled smoke roasted pork loin in favor of what has become a family favorite in our house. 

Our shrimp burger recipe is from this past summer’s Cook’s Illustrated Summer Grilling periodical cookbook. The recipe in the magazine is well-stained from ingredients being spilled and dripped over the page each time we treat ourselves to these tasty seafood treats.

It’s simple enough: 1.5 pounds of raw, de-veined and peeled shrimp, a slice’s-worth of bread crumbs, quarter cup of mayonnaise, some lemon zest, a scallion, salt, pepper, cayenne, some parsley and you’re all set. Process the shrimp in a food processor or 8 or 9 pulses, until there are some chunks about the size of the tip of your little finger, but the shrimp is mostly chopped to a fine chop. The shrimp will be stickey – that’s good, because the burgers have to hold together on the grill and they’re going to need some help. Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl and in another bowl, combine the mayo, salt, pepper, cayenne, parsley and scallions. MIx the mayo mixture to an even paste and spoon it over the shrimp then add in the bread crumbs. Mix it all together and then make 4 even-sized shrimp burgers. The bread crumbs and mayo help hold the shrimp together as does making sure the burgers sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before grilling. 

I decided to cook some roasted asparagus along with the shrimp burgers. Melanie and I like asparagus: Meredith and Melissa do not, but I decided to cook some for Melanie and me anyway.

After the burgers were made and resting in the refrigerator, I fired up the Primo XL Oval, using the divided firebox with the coals on the left and the right side empty. While the shrimp were firming up and getting ready for the grill and the Primo was coming up to temp, I cleaned up from the preparation of the shrimp burgers and poured a little olive oil over the asparagus spears along with some salt, pepper and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning – our all-around favorite, go-to seasoning in our house.

The Primo, even with the split firebox and one side of the firebox empty of coals, didn’t take long to come up to 500 degrees. I slid the asparagus – on a small, rimmed baking sheet – onto the cool side of the grill. This was the beginning of a grilling mistake that turned into the unexpected treat of the night.

I waited a bit before putting the shrimp burgers on the grill so they would finish cooking about the same time as the oven-roasted Yukon Gold fries that Missy was cooking to go along with the burgers. After a while, I opened the Primo, tossed the asparagus spears around a bit and put the shrimp burgers on the hot side of the grill (which was, naturally, rock solid at 500 degrees), then shut the lid and closed the bottom vent to about half-open and closed the top vent by about the same amount. I relaxed with a diet coke and waited about 6 minutes and flipped the burgers.

Well, “flip” is something of a misnomer since it is not a flip in the quick and easy sense that a hamburger generally is flipped. I have to take great care that the burger doesn’t come apart when turning it. I’ve devised a two-handed technique that involves not one, but two fish spatulas. The technique involves getting a spatula under the burger, then putting the second spatula on top of the burger with the other hand, and then rotating the burger, resting between the spatulas, so that the burger is resting on top of what was the top spatula, which by now is the bottom spatula. The burger is then gently slid off of the spatula onto the grill.

When I completed the delicate flip, I noticed that the asparagus had been a bit “over-roasted” and was charred on the bottom and a little crispy. I took the baking sheet off of the grill and considered tossing the asparagus, but then I decided to pick up one of the spears and try it and to my complete surprise, it tasted great! The asparagus was crisp, almost like it had been fried, and had a smoky char to it that was very appealing. I snacked three of the spears right there by the grill! 

In a few more minutes, the shrimp burgers had hit 160 on my Thermapen so I spatula-ed the burgers off the grill and onto a platter and it was dinner time.

I like my shrimp burgers on a seeded bun with sliced purple onion, sliced tomato and a remoulade  sauce spread on the bun and served with french fries.  The burgers went fast and everybody wanted more. So we ended up with a successful cook of a family favorite on the newest member of the Grill Garden, and discovered a new tasty treat to boot. 


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