Tag Archives: fail

“EPIC (Shrimp Burger) FAIL!”

28 Apr

Coming off of the week’s “Massive Butt Cook” – chronicled here earlier in the week – I was ready to get a grill fired up tonight. We had some buns left over from the BBQ sharing and I had a hankerin’ for some good hamburgers. When I suggested hamburgers for tonight’s dinner, Melissa countered with Shrimp Burgers. It was a good idea. After all, Meredith likes Shrimp Burgers and and Melissa eats shrimp as part of her vegetarian regime. Shrimp Burgers are healthier for us than the 80/20 Ground Chuck hamburgers that I prefer, and there is a saying I’ve heard somewhere that goes something like “Happy Wife! Happy Life!” So, Shrimp Burgers it was.

Now, here’s the problem: shrimp do not particularly like to be formed into patties! They require some cajoling, some binding and some luck to stay together on the grill. Whereas 80/20 ground chuck pretty much hangs in there for the duration of the cookeration, Shrimp Burgers are always a bit of a mystery. I have a basic recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Summer Grilling special edition from a couple of years ago, and on the surface, it seems simple: 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup mayo, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon zest, scallions, some parsley if its available. Toss the shrimp into the food processor, roughly chop, then transfer to a bowl, blend in other ingredients and form into patties. Yeah, so simple. And yet….

I knew I was in trouble when I formed up the patties and they didn’t stick to my hand like they normally do. Instead they were a bit moist – well, wet actually. I was hoping that they would “set up” a bit in the freezer before they went onto the grill, but I should have tossed them all back into the bowl, added some more bread crumbs and started over, but noooooooo…… that would have made too much sense.

Instead, I fired up the Kamado Joe – damn good cooker it is – and got the temp to 400 degrees, where I wanted it. The squash, zucchini and onion skewers went on and off the grill nicely, charring up on the edges just like they should. Seasoned with salt, pepper and Cavender’s Greek seasoning, they had a nice, satisfying spicy taste and a little carmelization and char to boot.

Then it was time for the shrimp burgers. I was able to get them onto my grill grate without any incident thanks, it appears, to the patties being about half frozen from hanging out in the freezer for about half an hour. So far so good. A little pause for some refreshment, and it was time to flip.

And the trouble began. The first patty I tried to flip started to fall apart as I picked it up. It was just too damned moist. I got it flipped and then waited a bit before trying to flip the others. The flip of those patties did NOT go well. While I was able to get them turned over without the patties coming completely apart, the “burgers” now looked more like “loose meat sandwich filling.” At this point, I probably should have cut my losses, shut down the Kamado Joe and loaded the family into the Smith Family Truckster and headed off to the nearest Mexican establishment, but no….we went forward.

The “patties” were eaten, and when the bun was topped with the “filling” (formerly known as shimp patties) along with a Pepper Place fresh tomato slice, some leaf lettuce, a slice of purple onion, and a dash of mayo, prepared horseradish and Alecia’s Tomato Chutney (my redneck version of tomato chutney aioli), they were indeed tasty.

However, the effort was, due to the disastrous nature of the “patties,” an epic fail” – as the current vernacular calls a calamity of the scale of this cook. I do like Shrimp Burgers, but the next time they are on the menu at our house, Melissa will have to do the honors of making the patties. I will man the grill.

As it stands now, I can’t let the weekend grilling end on that note. Tomorrow night will indeed involve firing up the Kamado Joe and cooking something that I can pull off successfully…..maybe those nice 80/20 ground chuck burgers will get cooked this weekend after all!