Make perfect hamburgers for the holiday weekend.
“Everyone knows how to make burger,” proclaimed my publisher (a man, via my publicist, a woman). We were in the midst of preparing a giveaway recipe and had reprinted my instructions for Perfect Grassfed Hamburgers.
“Um, no they don’t,” I replied (to her). It’s surprising, perhaps, but true.
Burgers may be common but to make them uncommonly good requires a bit of TLC. Presuming you’ve started with the best ground beef you can buy for your money (see Part I for details), here are 5 simple tips for making superlative burgers:
1. Handle them lightly while shaping. You can’t toughen the meat (it’s ground) but you can melt the fats from the heat of your hands, which compacts the meat when it you want to keep the texture loose
2. Dimple the middle. A depression of about 1/4-inch deep and the size of a quarter will prevent the dreaded burger ball.
3. Season well. Beef needs salt to bring out its best. Just before grilling salt both sides well. You will be glad.
4. Get the grill hot and stand by while cooking. This is the crucial moment when you don’t want to risk overcooking so that the burger will stay juicy. Sear both sides and then finish cooking over the coolest part of the grill. (Turn them into cheeseburgers over low heat, too.)
5. Find or make the best bun. Try this recipe for whole wheat hamburger buns that are as tender, tasty and memorable as the meat.
Practice these tips over Memorial Day and they will serve you through the Fourth of July all the way to Labor Day, our 3 top burger holidays.