A Hamburger Today–Serious Eats Gift Guide

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Just in time for the end of Hanukkah, here's the A Hamburger Today Gift Guide: a timely list of burger-themed effluvia for your meat-loving friends and family. Start here and you're sure to find something for the hamburger lover in your life, whether they cook at home, outside, or not at all.

Meat Grinder

Buying already ground beef is an unpopular and potentially unsafe decision these days. Don't you want your loved ones grinding their own? Of course you do. The only question is... how much do you want to spend to help them do it? If your meatheart has a KitchenAid mixer, there's a nifty food grinding attachment that will do the trick. If your hamburger-honey has a stainless steel kitchen and nothing but the fanciest grinder will do, this Elite ProGrinder is calling your name. Some people favor cast iron, and others prefer something they can clean in the dishwasher. This one's manual, has a wooden handle and is called Porkert! PORKERT! You know your would-be grinder best, choose wisely! $9.99 to $500 on Amazon and Sausage Stuffer


Weber Baby Q

Everyone, and I mean everyone, who gets married these days gets one of these things. They rule! They're portable, they're little, and they pack a lot of heat. You can put it on a stand or in a bag! You can take it tailgating or take it on the bus. You can start your own street corner slider grilling empire! Don't let the married people have all the fun; everyone needs this grill. $129 (and up) from Amazon


Charcoal Starter

...Of course nothing compares to the taste of a charcoal grilled burger. And working with charcoal gets infinitely more pleasant when you get some help making it hot. I was about to suggest an electric starter wand when I was firmly put in my place. Evidently this kind doesn't need to be plugged in, lights all your coals at once, and is used by Bobby Flay. My dad uses the electric kind and he's got a few years' experience on Flay... but really, they're both great. Amazon suggests you buy both together for $25, and then everybody wins. Well, they do anyway. $13.14 and $12.48 from Amazon


Spatula

Those burgers aren't going to flip themselves, you know. A trusted ex-burger cook friend of mine is insisting you need something sturdy and strong with which to turn your patties. This particular model turns his, if you know what I mean. Weighing in at over half a pound and sturdy enough to scrape grease from your griddle, this is the spatula of champions. Of course if you're shopping for an indoor cook with sensitive pans, you may prefer a silicone model. Either way, wide and flat is ideal, as is minimal flipping. $4.99 from Lehman's, $12.99 from Amazon


Pickles

A great burger deserves great toppings. Tomatoes are out of season, cheese needs refrigeration, and your friends are going to look at you funny if you give them ketchup. Pickles, on the other hand, store nicely, come in attractive packaging, and make great gifts. Ricks Picks makes great pickles in New York, and will gladly ship them to you. Slices of Life (dill) and Bee 'N' Beez (sweet) are great cucumber pickles for topping burgers or simply snacking. Their Smokra is also sensational, although I don't recommend putting it on a burger. Then again, I'm going to go try just that then next time I make one. $10.99 from Rick's Picks


Soap

Know someone who eats, sleeps, and dreams burgers? Tell them to take a bath with one! This crafty burger soap is actual (burger) size and made up of buns, a patty, tomato, onion, pickles, cheese, and lettuce... all of which you can use to make yourself smell better. The onion slice is giving me particular trouble when I imagine using it to clean, but the whole thing is adorable. Use it to play a trick on your gullible friends. Ask me sometime about when I almost ate soap. $15.00 from Etsy


Books

I like reading about hamburgers almost as much as I like eating them, don't you?

Hamburgers and Fries: An American Story, by John T. Edge is on my personal list, as I, embarrassingly enough, haven't read it yet. This book follows the history and evolution of the hamburger around the world and through time, detailing the specific spots and burgers worth eating. Read a good chunk of it and I'm pretty sure you're going to want to order one for yourself as well as for me. $14.96, from Amazon

Burgers: 50 Recipes Celebrating an American Classic, by Rebecca Bent is a nifty little book compiling various burger recipes from such haunts as Mesa Grill and Corner Bistro (which seems awfully simple for a place with that kind of hype). Burger Encyclopedia it ain't, but the pictures are lovely and the recipes are good. $2.99, from Amazon


20071210-whathappenstoahamburger.jpgWhat Happens to a Hamburger?,by Paul Showers is the classic tale of food's journey through the human body in pictures. It's science! Perfect for curious little ones or anyone who needs more familiarity with the epiglottis. Originally published in 1970, it's been updated with snazzy retro illustrations. The book begins: "I like to eat." Hey, so do I! $5.99, from Amazon


Jumbo Hamburger Pillow

Where does a weary burger-lover rest their head to dream their burger dreams? On a burger pillow, of course. You knew that. Nothing better accessorizes that mustard couch. $36.00 from Lees Creations


Carbon Offset Credits

Taking a page from Slice's book, why not contribute some offset credits in honor of your loved ones' consumption habits? Cows produce manure which emits methane, a greenhouse gas that's 21 times more potent than carbon-monoxide when it comes to global warming. Purchasing verified emission reductions supports projects which allow farms to reduce methane and turn it into renewable energy. How cool is it to say you helped purchase a BioDigester? Very cool. There are many choices in the carbon offset market, but DrivingGreen is specifically concerned with livestock and agricultural pollution, so it's particularly relevant to the thoughtful burger consumer. $8.00 per metric ton from DrivingGreen


Other Suggestions

Tiny burger cookies are always a hit, and it's hard to go wrong with a gift certificate to someone's favorite place. A burger for your tree? For your dog? Burger jewelry, artwork, or stationery might just be the gifts you need. And there's really no better gift than going out (or staying in) and enjoying a hamburger with someone you love.

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