From Blah to Bomb: A Guide to Making A Better Burger Step by step how-to for improving your burger
Every guy should know how to make a burger. A damn good burger at that. There’s a lot of information out there but most of it doesn’t make the cut. Through research, experimenting and eating a lot of burgers, here are the best tips for making a better burger.
That prepackaged ground beef isn’t good enough. Burger making is an art and you can’t be an artist without understanding your ingredients. Prepackaged ground beef is a mysterious mix of beef parts. Instead, choose to grind your own meat. Doing so allows you to incorporate superior cuts like short rib and chuck into your patties. Understanding your beef (opens in new window) will serve you well.
If you’re like most people and don’t have a grinder, there are two things you can do. First, you can go out and buy one. There are some cheap options and for my foodies, they are absolutely worth it. Alternatively, and definitely easier, you can have your butcher do the grunt work for you. Just make sure that either way you’re using a blend of cuts that have a good fat to meat ratio. Aim for 80/20.
Don’t Preseason Your Burger
Whether you have a crowd of guests or just trying to cut down on prep time, preseasoning probably sounds like a good idea. It’s not. In fact, it’s a surefire way to ruin the integrity of your burger. Seriously, DON’T PRESEASON YOUR MEAT!
Doing so will start to break down the fibers in the meat and leaves you with something more akin to a sausage patty than a thick, juicy burger.
Form is Function
Ever wonder why your patties keep turning out more like meatballs than burgers? It has to do with how you’re shaping them. After balling up your patty, dimple the center with your thumb. This prevents it from ballooning during cooking and flattens the patty so there’s a greater surface area for searing.
Skip the Grill
Burgers may seem like the ideal grilling food, but they are not. Let’s take a second to undo decades of men’s cooking tradition. The cast iron pan (opens in new window) is the far better choice. When grilling, he juices from the meat are wasted as they fall between the grill. In a cast iron pan, all that goodness stays right where it should be.
To cook, place a high heat oil like canola (not olive oil) in a ripping hot cast iron pan. Once the oil is smoking, throw the meat in. Let a crust develop before flipping. Only flip once.
Cook Your Burger Right
FDA be damned, one hundred and sixty-degree internal temperature is way too high for a burger. I’m sorry to all my well-done friends out there but medium to medium-rare is the only way a burger should be eaten. Pink, juicy perfection takes about a combined total of seven minutes.
All cheese is delicious. Not all cheeses are good on a burger. You want something that’ll melt quickly and uniformly. As much as the food snob in me hates to say it, American cheese will always be the best cheese for a burger.
Much like cheese, bread is delicious. However, fancy breads like brioche and challah that thirty-dollar burgers use, are not going to yield the best results. Yeah I know those are fighting words to chefs everywhere. Bread like those take away from the burger itself. Squishy buns like those white-sesame-studded buns you grew up with are go-to hamburger buns for a reason.
Sauce it Up
Ketchup is America’s favorite condiment so what I’m going to say next might offend a lot of people. Mayo is better on burgers. There, I said it. Ketchup’s sweet, acidity is out of place with seared, fatty ground beef and luscious cheese. Mayo brings that creamy element without overpowering any of the other flavors. It’s also just tangy enough to cut through the fat.
If you must have your ketchup, mix it in with a secret sauce (i.e mayo, ketchup, and relish).
Food for Thought
If you truly want to up your burger game, these tips will get you cooking like a pro.
What makes your burger better than the rest? Talk to us below!
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