Who doesn’t love a good hamburger? Big, juicy beef covered with onion and tomatoes, smothered with ketchup and mustard, sandwiched by a soft bun. I’ve died and gone to heaven just thinking about it. I am lucky enough to have married a guy with a knack for grilling. We didn’t even know he had this gift until a couple years ago when we bought our first grill. I walked into Lowes with my father in law to buy a dryer duct, came out with a grill, and our life hasn’t been the same since. We used to love going to burger joints but now we don’t dare because most of the time we just end up disappointed. My CFO’s burgers are a delicacy, if you ask me.
So to share the burger love, we put together 5 steps to make the perfect burger.
1. Buy the Right Meat
Ground beef is ground beef, right? Wrong. What you want to look for specifically is ground chuck. Chuck is made from the shoulder of the beef and is about 18% fat and fat makes juicy burgers. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh ground chuck, I am totally envious of you. If you are like me, and don’t live around a good meat market, you are forced to buy the prepackaged ground beef, usually made from all parts of the cow. I usually go for 80/20 beef when we’re making burgers.
2. Season the Hamburger
The meat alone will make for a pretty plain burger. (Sorry, Ron Swanson.) At the very least, season your meat with coarse salt and black pepper. If you want to take it up a notch, which I highly recommend, you can add in finely chopped onion or a little garlic to give more flavor. And I like to add in a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce to really up the juicy ante.
Now for our family we enjoy thick burgers. Thick burgers keep in the juices and flavors. The ideal thickness is 3/4 inch. I also recommend indenting the burgers which helps to cook the burger more evenly in the middle. Plus the meat will naturally puff up a little on the grill from steam. Without indenting your burger won’t be as flat as it should be. Who knew indenting a burger made such a different to a burger?
As a word of caution do not go too thin when making a burger because you will lose a lot of fat and flavor and the patties burn easily. A burned burger leaves me feeling empty inside. No one should feel empty after eating a burger… keep your patties thick and you can thank me later.
This is where you really don’t want to mess up because from here on out, there’s no going back! I have three sub-tips for the grilling step.
Find the Right Heat
The recommended heat is between medium and high when grilling, leaning more on the high end. Fire is definitely licking the burner from time to time but it’s not a constant barrage of flames consuming the meat. Avoid grilling your hamburgers at this extreme. Your burgers will dry out fast.
Only Flip Once
This isn’t a best out of 7 coin toss. Don’t keep flipping and prodding your meat. If you keep flipping it than it will take the burger longer to cook and can potential cause the meat to break and fall apart. Patience is definitely a virtue when grilling or in other words ‘Be Calm and Grill On.’
Don’t Press Down
Never ever ever ever EVER press down on the meat. Why? Because you are squeezing the juices out of the patty while grilling.
5. Brush Flavor and Topping
During the last 1-2 minutes of cooking, we like to brush the burgers with a little barbecue sauce but this is up to you. When the sauce is brushed we let it sink in and then will add cheese on top so that it will melt.
As for topping choices the options are endless. Tomatoes, onions, lettuce, ketchup, and mustard are a staple in our house but to each there own. Sometimes we like to have a little fun and make a Hawaiian burger or throw some bacon on top. The sky is the limit.
And there it is…5 simple steps to help you grill a delicious hamburger.What are your tricks for a perfect burger?
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 6 slices of cheese (your choice, I go with cheddar)
- Barbecue sauce (optional)
- toppings of choice
- 6 hamburger buns
- In a bowl or on a cutting board, season the ground beef with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Be sure the seasonings are evenly distributed.
- Divide the meat into 6 patties. Shape the patties to 3/4 inch thickness and make an indentation in the middle of the patty with the back of a spoon or your thumb.
- Grill the patties at medium high heat for 8-12 minutes, flipping once, until cooked through.
- In the last 2 minutes of cooking, brush the patties with barbecue sauce (optional) and top with cheese and let the cheese melt.
- Remove the hamburgers from the grill.
- Dress with your favorite toppings on a bun.
As I mentioned grilling is a big part of my family. It has saved us in a lot of predicaments and has made some of the best dishes imaginable. Grilling is a magical way to make dishes in a unique setting where the fire literally roasts your food instead of an electric coil in the oven. Fire can really bring out flavors in most foods and creates a unique taste. That is my short plug and I recommend that everyone try to grill at some point.
If you have never grilled, begin now, and if you grill infrequently try something new. You will learn to love it as you give it more time. The type of grill and brand we use in our home is a Char-Broil Classic 4 Burner Gril and yes this is an affiliate link. Don’t feel like this is the only option either but look for something that will suit your needs.