I was talking about hamburgers with a friend recently, and when she said how can anybody mess up making a burger, it got me thinking. There are many ways to ruin a perfectly good burger. When I had my restaurant, our burgers were one of our best sellers. People would ask how I got them so juicy, and big. We used locally grown, organic black Angus beef that was delivered every other day, and I think that while this added to the flavor, one can achieve a fantastic burger with regular store bought ground beef. Here are several “rules” I follow, and my results are the same every time. Thick and juicy. I thought I would share them, since we are now officially in the grilling season.
Rule #1 – Always use a good lean- to – fat ratio. 80 / 20 is perfect. The fat provides optimal flavor.
Rule #2 – Do not over handle your meat. People tend to try to get the perfectly round patty, and do not realize that all they are creating is a tough, juice-less burger instead. All you need to do is grab a good sized handful, (about the size of a baseball) and press lightly into the palm of your hand, gently shaping into a disc about 3/4 inch thick. That’s it. It does not need to be a perfect circle.
Rule #3 – Salt. And a good amount of it. Salt both sides of the burger, about 1/2 tsp per side, and then more before serving. The salt allows the meat to get a good crust while cooking, either in a pan or on the grill.
Rule #4 – Never, ever press down on the burgers while they are cooking. You may think this will help it cook faster, but it does not and all your really doing is pressing all those beautiful juices and flavors right out of the burger. The only time they need to be touched is when you are flipping them. And this only needs to be done once. I cook my burgers 5 minutes per side. Do not overcook. 4-5 minutes per side at 375 – 400 degrees is plenty of time to insure your burger is cooked to perfection. (medium)
and last but not least….
Rule #5 – Let the burgers rest a few minutes before taking that first bite. This allows all of the juices to remain in the meat, and not all over your bun.
Follow these tips, and you will be the burger king or queen! (pun intended)