Updated: Sep 1, 2021
The basics of the best possible burger.
Everyone can appreciate having a handy collection of basic cooking skills. Whether you're learning to cook or are determined to eat more home-made meals, keeping it simple is where it's at. Basics like roasting a chicken, frying an omelette, whisking together a salad dressing and grilling the perfect burger are requisite for home cooks. After you get the hang of just a few useful techniques, you might enjoy taking time in the kitchen.
The best burgers are made from freshly ground, high-grade beef chuck. Spread the beef out flat and season with Qspice. If you have a secret ingredient like Worcestershire sauce or minced onion, add it now. Fold together gently; you don't want to overmix.
Then follow these essential tips:
1. Not the time to cut all the fat: Fat is actually a major component in adding flavour and moisture to burgers. I like lean ground beef which is typically 15% fat. Or mix 2/3 extra lean ground beef with 1/3 lean ground pork.
2. Shape them. Size matter with burgers. No one wants a burger that's smaller than the bun. So to make it a perfect fit, make your patties about an inch larger than the bun to allow for the inevitable shrinkage during cooking.
4. Make a shallow dimple. Pressing a teaspoon into the center of the formed patties to create a shallow indentation in the middle keeps them from doming. Then they
cook more evenly because they stay flat.
5. Chill them. Making the burger patties ahead of time and refrigerating them allows the fat to resolidify after handling with warm hands so they stay intact better while grilling.
6. Mist the burgers with olive oil before grilling. This seems excessive but it ensures the burgers won’t stick on the grill. And what’s more, they take on a nice sear, sealing in the juices.
7. Resist flattening burger! It's an all-too-common mistake people make. They feel like they need to push down on the burger with the back of a spatula probably because it's bulging in the center (they didn't make the dimple) and they think it will cook faster. This only squeezes out flavourful juices that keep the burger moist... so the opposite of what your burger needs.
8. Turn only once. Sear patties on a HOT grill undisturbed for about 3 minutes on one side then flip to fully cook on the opposite side. Constant turning will toughen and dry out the meat, and if you try to flip too soon, the burger will stick.
9. Check the internal temperature. The safest way is to use an instant read digital thermometer and ensure the internal temperature has reached 160F.
10. Allow burgers to rest before serving. Once the burgers are done, place them on a platter to ‘rest’ for about 5 minutes before serving. This allows the burgers to set and hold onto their juices inside.
Once you've mastered the basic burger patty, you can get creative with all the ways to top and dress your burger. If you want to opt out of the standard toasted hamburger bun, grilled eggplant slices, grilled portobello mushrooms and large lettuce leaves are tasty sandwiching alternatives. Ultimately, the choice is yours. As long as the patty is meaty, flavourful and juicy, you can't go wrong!