by David Olson0
Top 10 Best Burger Practices
The modern Burger is as much a part of Americana as apple pie, baseball & gas-guzzling, ozone depleting 4×4 trucks. For nearly 200 years, the American burger has been cooked 1200 ways from Tuesday, topped with anything from nothing to everything, served from roadside diner to restaurant dinner, fast food stop to overly-pretentious steakhouses, date night to dude’s night, and everywhere in between. Today, burger culture is hotter than ever, divided between purists, moderates, progressives & those who have 0 political burger affiliations.
So, how is it that you, at home, can reap the benefits of two centuries of tried, tested & true burger best practices? How can you deliver consistent, fantastic, flame-seared, juicy, steakhouse burgers for friends, family & those fortunate enough to attend your backyard barbecue? Well, below I will share a wealth of secret tips & professional recommendations, as well as common pit falls to avoid.
Read on. Grill on. And, stay hungry!
1. The first rule of Burger Club is, “You can talk about burger club.” The second rule of Burger Club, “There are no hard & fast rules in burger club.” But, indisputable is that fact that buying quality meat is step numero uno in preparing & plating phenomenal, mouth-watering burgers. Conversely, investing in cheap, heavily processed meat from an unknown source is step number one in preparing embarrassingly dried-out, flavorless, grilled hockey pucks.
2. So, which type of meat should you choose for your masterpiece? Well, it depends on the occasion. Here are a few recommendations:
- a. Asking your girlfriend to marry you? If you expect her to say, “Yes” – Ground Private Reserve Bone-in Rib eye.
- b. Letting neighborhood know who’s the culinary boss? 50/20 Mix – Ground Brisket + Ground Short Ribs.
- c. Dude’s night backyard Brews & BBQ? 80/20 Ground Chuck.
- d. Trimming the fat (or cooking your burgers in cast iron)? 50/50 Mix – 80/20 Ground Chuck + 90/10 Ground Sirloin.
- e. Don’t like your friends anymore? Pre-packaged “hamburger” from your local grocery store.
3. How much meat should you buy? (Total # of burgers needed X 6 ounces raw meat) / 16 = appropriate lbs. of meat.
4. Burgers plump when cooked – Using thumb, gently depress a well into top-center of formed patties, allowing burgers to rise back to form when grilled. No one likes Burger Footballs.
5. Ensure grill grates scrubbed clean, well oiled & piping hot before laying meat down to cook. Burgers should really sizzle when they hit the grill grates!
6. Spatulas are used for flipping burgers – Never. Ever. Compress burgers. Baby kittens cry when you smash burgers.
7. Thin Burgers (4-5oz): Sear patties 3-4 minutes per side over direct, high heat. Then move to indirect heat until desired internal temperature achieved.
8. Thick Burgers (6-8oz): Employ the reverse sear grilling method – Lay patties over indirect heat until within 20 °F of desired internal temperature, flipping once half way through. Baste with oil or butter & move to direct, high heat, searing exterior 3-4 minutes per side.
9. I love you & I love medium-rare burgers. But, you are not Bobby Flay & I do not need a food borne illness. If I attend your outdoor cooking soiree, please use a nice digital read internal thermometer to gauge doneness of your burgers.
- a. Ground Red Meat – Internal Temperature Guide: Med-Rare: 130-135F. Medium: 140-145F. Med-Well: 150-155F. Well:+160F
10. Drink 1 beer before plating your burgers. Rest & tent burgers for 5 minutes after grilling & prior to serving – This time allows the natural juices the opportunity to redistribute through meat after cooking, avoiding all the flavor spilling out of your burger after the first bite!