It’s an American staple celebrated the world over. However, any aficionado will agree that not all burgers are created equal. Before you serve your next batch, make sure you’re doing everything you can to take your burgers to the next level.
Pay Attention to Ingredients
You can’t have a smashingly successful patty if what goes into it is substandard. Therefore, make sure to combine only the best meats; chefs often recommend chuck, brisket and short rib. If possible, use a food processor or electric meat grinder to grind your own since that’s the best way to know exactly what you are getting. Just cut your meat into one-inch pieces, freeze it for 15 minutes for added firmness and then pulse the meat to the desired consistency. Roll your finished product into a sausage-like tube, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. It can then be sliced into patties.
Make a Dent
Many professionals recommend making a thumb print in the center of each of your patties after you roll them out. This prevents the burger from shrinking or becoming puffed-up with a big central bulge.
Season Ahead of Time
All you really need is salt – more than you think – and pepper on the outside of your burger. Ideally, let your seasoned burgers sit for anywhere from two to 12 hours before cooking.
Don’t Press While Grilling
Avoid the temptation to push your burger down as it is being grilled or cooked in your skillet. Doing so causes the natural juices to flow out and results in a dried-out hockey puck of a burger.
Don’t Forget the Bun
The taste of the bun is the hidden secret of the perfect burger. Toast a brioche or challah roll on the grill, and don’t forget to add butter both before grilling and even another small amount afterwards. Your guests might not know why their burgers are so savory and delicious, but you will.
Burgers should be flipped frequently, once every 15 to 30 seconds. When you keep the meat moving on the grill, you can help to ensure even cooking throughout.
Test For Doneness
There are different ways to tell if your burgers are done, but professionals warn against the most obvious one: cutting into the burger to gauge its color. Instead, squeeze the sides of the burger. If you are looking for medium-rare, the meat will seem springy. You can also use a meat thermometer. A temperature of 130°F is perfect for a pink and warm burger; medium well is 150°F.
Melt Your Cheese
For many, the perfect burger absolutely must contain a topping of deliciously gooey cheese. A great way to make this happen without it melting all over your grill is to put a clump of freshly grated cheese on the center of your burger. Within a minute or so, it will melt and spread over the entire patty.
Don’t Serve it Right Away
After you have finished the burger, take it off of the griddle or grill, and let it rest for five minutes. This gives the juices time to reincorporate into the burger while allowing the patty to finish cooking on the inside.
Don’t Forget Excellent Toppings
Use fresh, crispy lettuce on the bottom of the bun to catch juices. Tomatoes, particularly meaty varieties such as San Marzano, add just the right flavor to round out the taste.
We only have one word of warning as you consider putting your ground beef recipes into practice to make the perfect burger. Follow our advice, and yours will become the go-to yard in your neighborhood. Be sure to buy lots of extra ingredients to keep everybody happy.