How to Cook the Perfect Hamburger
Burgers are some of the most sumptuous fast foods. However, you cannot enjoy your burger if it's poorly grilled. A lot of people enjoy grilling burgers during warm summer nights as they catch up with their friends and family.
So, if you've been wondering how to upgrade your burger grilling game, you've come to the right place. This post is the ultimate guide on how to grill the perfect burger. That said, let's get down to the step to step guide.
Commence with a clean grill
Cleanliness is paramount when cooking, and this is no different when it comes to grilling. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is clean your grill. You can easily accomplish this with the right grilling tools. Experts recommend you start by scrubbing the grill grates.
You can accomplish this using a proper grill brush. The brush helps you get rid of any built-up residues from past foods. After this, ensure to oil your grill. This is easily done by dipping a paper towel (folded) in oil, then using grilling tongs to spread the oil over the grill grates.
Get some ground beef
To begin making your burger, you must get some tasty beef – specifically, ground beef. Connoisseurs mention that beef matters more than the seasoning you use. As a result, you must ensure to get quality beef that'll deliver a sweet and rich taste.
The best ground beef for beef burgers should have an 80/20 mix. That is 80 percent lean beef and 20 percent fat content. Excess fat could make your burger fall apart. That's why 20 – 25 percent of the fat is ideal to make your burger juicy. Additionally, the lesser fat content will make your burger come out dry.
Form the perfect patties
For your burgers to come out perfectly, you need to chill the meat. Ensure to keep it in your fridge until you're ready to cook. Keeping the meat cold is advisable because some heat could smear or melt the fat, eliminating the juiciness you desire.
Additionally, chilling the meat prevents the lean meat from binding with the fat. Remove the meat from the fridge when you're ready to form the patties. Do not overpack the meat on your hands when you're making the balls to avoid making dense burgers. Press the balls to form the patties, then place them back into the fridge until you're ready to grill.
Note that you should not overmix the meat, otherwise you'll break the binding, making the burger to crumble, dry out, or even lose flavor.
After you've made the perfect patties, it's time to season them. You should evenly sprinkle your seasoning over the patties using your hands. You don't even have to use too many spices, some kosher salt, and fresh black pepper will make the tastiest burgers.
However, you must ensure to season both sides of the patties. But do not add too much salt or pepper because it might affect the flavor.
Using a charcoal or gas grill
For years now, there's been a debate on which grill between gas and charcoal is best for grilling burgers. The truth is, both have their advantages and downsides. Notably, gas grills are easier to control and they heat up much faster than their counterparts. However, some spots heat up more than others, requiring you to move your burgers around the grill to ensure they cook evenly.
On the other hand, charcoal grills will take relatively longer to heat, but they emit some smoke that adds some flavor to your burgers. To make the best burger using a charcoal grill, you need to know how to adjust the vents to control the heat.
Overall, both types of grills are great for making delicious burgers. It is up to you to select the one that suits you best.
Heat your grill
After you've decided on the type of grill you want to use, you need to exercise some patience. How so? You need to wait for the grill to heat up. Placing your burgers on a cold grill will not yield the best result. Therefore, you need to let your grill heat up between 350 and 375 degrees. You can test the heat using a thermometer.
Grease it up
When waiting for the grill to heat up to appropriate temperatures, you need to grease your burgers. Use a brush to give your burgers some oil. It helps avoid them from sticking on the grates. Similarly, grease the grill grates to reduce the sticking as much as possible. While some people prefer using a cooking spray for this purpose, expert chefs advise against it because it may cause flare-ups.
Grilling your burgers
Now that you're done with the preparations, it's time to grill your burgers. Keep in mind that the time it takes to grill them depends on how well you want your meat to cook. Overall, here are the recommended grilling times.
- Rare – takes 4 minutes to cook at 125 degrees F
- Medium rare – takes 5 minutes to cook at 135 degrees F
- Medium – takes 6 to 7 minutes to cook at 145 degrees F
- Well-done – takes 8 to 9 minutes to cook at 160 degrees F
However, you must know that the time it takes to grill your burgers depends on the thickness of the patties and how hot your grill is.
Flip your burgers
When you place your patties on the grill, do not press them down. Doing so might result in loss of fat and flavor, creating dry burgers. You need to let your patties cook well on one side, and then flip them once. However, it's okay to frequently flip them until they cook evenly.
Grilling is an art, not a game. Therefore, do not flip the burgers anyhow. Flipping too soon doesn't allow the patties to cook properly. You want each face of the patties to have a browned crust. When they take this appearance, take your pieces of cheese and place them on the burgers to melt. It should take around a minute.
Use a thermometer
Connoisseurs advise that the browned color and crust don't guarantee that your burger is done. Therefore, you need to get a thermometer to prove this. Insert the thermometer into the center of the burger. If the burger is well done, the thermometer should read 160 degrees F.
Let the burgers rest
After your burgers are done, do not rush to place them between the buns. It is advisable to let them rest for about 5 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute evenly, creating a desirable feel. It also prevents the juices from spilling all over you when you take a bit.
Toast the bun
Get the bun that you prefer to complete your burger. Some people prefer the brioche bun, while others love whole wheat buns. But whichever your peak, you must toast them.
Notably, you need to butter your buns using a brush before placing them on the grill. Let them rest on the grill until the edges get toasted and lightly brown. You can prepare the buns when the patties have a minute left or do it later because you have to let them rest after removing them from the grill.
Flavoring your burger
Now that you know how to grill the perfect burger, you need to know how to work with the flavors. The flavors you choose mainly depend on your preferences.
You could blend different cuts of meat, then add herbs, cubes of cheese, anchovies, lemon zest, and mushrooms. Here is where you get creative because you want to get a flavor that you'll love. The objective is to ensure you have meaty and juicy patties.
Note that you can grind your meat even without a meat grinder. A food processor that has a metal blade will get the job done, but you need to ensure you've cut your meat into 1-inch pieces. You shouldn't process it too long to avoid mushiness.
Suitable grilling tools
When it comes to grilling burgers, you need to have the best grilling tools and accessories. They include:
- An instant-read thermometer
- Grill shield
- Double and flat skewers
- Grilling gloves
- Grill brush
- Starter cubes
- Grill lighters
With these tools in place, you are on your way to grilling the perfect burger on a warm summer evening. But you have to ensure to follow this step-by-step guide.