2009 - Volume #33, Issue #2, Page #27[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
How To Make A 200-Lb. Cheeseburger
"I thought about it for a couple years before we tried it," says the semi-retired corn and soybean grower. He'd heard about someone cooking a 75-lb. burger and decided it would be a fun challenge to cook a bigger one. He pulled it off the first time a few years ago with a 200-lb. burger, and then repeated the feat in 2008 with 230 lbs. of meat. More than 300 people attended the 2008 event, bringing a dish to pass, pitching in for the cost of the meat, and enjoying the party in Hess's yard.
Here's how he made his giant burger.
The first thing you need is an overhead chain hoist and two 4-ft. sq. cooking "grids" made from angle iron and expanded metal, with wood handles on the sides.
Cover one of the cooking grids with two layers of aluminum foil and cover it with a 4-in. thick layer of hamburger. Then cover the big patty with another two layers of foil and seal tightly. Bolt the second cooking grid over the top and hang the grid from the chain hoist about 3 ft. over the cook fire. Hess built an oak fire in a big metal firepit.
Cook for about eight hours, and flip the burger about halfway through, using a few good men and the hoist. Use a meat thermometer frequently to test for doneness. When the meat is nearly done, prepare the bun. Unless you have a very big oven, your best bet is to purchase one from a local bakery - at an estimated cost of about $100.
To slice the bun, Hess made a big knife out of aluminum bar stock, a band saw blade, and clamps. As the bun is cut he pulls a sheet of plastic into the slice to lift off the top half.
Remove burger from heat. Unbolt the top grid and remove the foil from that side of the burger. Replace the grid, flip the burger, and remove the foil from the other side. Layer on 18 lbs. of cheese slices and put the other half of the bun on top. Then start cutting it up into square burgers.
"Everybody brags on how good it is," says Hess. The slow cooking in the foil steam-cooks the meat and preserves moisture and flavor.
Hess plans to cook a big burger again in the future.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Edwin Hess, 22501 E. 1800th Rd., Chrisman, Ill. 61924 (ph 217 666-3486).
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