All Hail the Almighty Burger: Everyone needs to learn how to grill burgers. Not only is it the most American of all foods, when done properly it is one of the most delicious foods you will ever eat. Widely available in every shape, size, and price range imaginable. The humble burger is the most versatile of all of the grilled meats. You can make a hamburger into a gourmet meal in a few easy steps.
It’s all about the meat: Remember when selecting ground beef, in most cases you do get what you pay for. Hamburger can be made from almost any cut of meat as long as it has the proper percentage of fat in it. One time I made burgers from Rib Eye. While they were excellent they still tasted like burgers. So we do not suggest wasting your money on high-end beef for burger making. A good ground chuck can turn out just as well.
A word on Turkey burgers: Yuck!
No seriously. We are well aware that everyone is trying to eat healthier these days. While turkey burgers are a healthier hamburger alternative, they lack some serious flavor. All the techniques listed will work with turkey as well. May we also suggest a 50/50 turkey to ground beef mixture for added flavor.
Mixing your meat: When prepping Hamburgers you may add just about anything into the meat before forming your patties. For spices we suggest a pinch per pound, liquids a tablespoon per pound of meat.
Here are a few basic mixing suggestions to get you started: Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper, Chili Powder, Chopped Onions, Barbecue Sauce, Ketchup, Mustard and Salsa. You are only limited by your imagination and your kitchen cabinets. Adding a liquid to the meat it makes for extra juicy hamburgers. Then we shape the meat into patties, packing them firmly between your hands. Form different sized patties for different sized appetites.
Grilling your Burgers:
The best way to Grill your hamburger creation is to sear it on both sides first. Then move it off of or away from the heat to cook the inside to taste. Cooking times will vary by patty size and your grill temperature. Cheap meat will shrink quickly (this is the fat burning off) when cooked.
The rule of thumb for burgers is that they are done when the juices run clear. However when you season your meat with the above techniques they may never run clear. The only true way to tell if a burger is fully cooked is with a meat thermometer.
Now that we know how to grill burgers. Here are some tips on how to up your burger grilling game.
Cheese Please: Cheeseburgers are a way of life. Simply place a slice of cheese (or sprinkle shredded) on the top of the patty before it is removed from the grill. Many types of cheeses go well on burgers; kids seem to prefer American, while more adult tastes may prefer Swiss or a Sharp Cheddar. A lot will depend on the type of toppings you plan on offering when you serve your hamburgers. Ex. Try a Swiss Cheeseburger with grilled mushrooms and onions.
A word on Buns:
Take a little time and effort to toast your buns; it’s definitely worth it. First melt some butter on your side-burner or in your microwave (Olive oil will work here as well). Brush the buns with the butter. Place buns directly on the grill grates for about 2 minutes, turn and remove after another 2 minutes.
Toppings: We are firm believers that a great burger requires nothing but a bun, there are not many who subscribe to our theory. Basic burger toppings that should be made available for guests are: Lettuce, Tomato (thinly sliced), Onions (thinly sliced), and Pickles.
Basic Condiments include: Ketchup, Mustard Yellow, Mustard Brown (Stadium Brand preferably), Mayonnaise, and Relish. If you are willing to go one step above the basics create a Burger bar. Here are a few more suggestions: Grilled Bacon, Grilled Onions, Hot Pepper Rings, Onion Rings, Chili and Grilled Mushrooms.
Got any tips or tricks on how to grill burgers? Leave them in our comment section.
aka Sultan of Sizzle
I have been blogging about and selling grilling tool for over 12 years. A Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member, award winning writer and have over 10 years experience in the food service industry.
“I have experienced some of the best food this country has to offer and nothing is better than the food that comes off my own grill!”
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