Whether grilling in the backyard or while tailgating, people love a good hamburger. But the typical grilled burger often ends up tasteless and very unexciting. Why?
The main reason is that the meat simply is overcooked. After decades of just throwing the beef patties on the grille and overcooking them to cardboard like texture I have checked with friends and asked the question, “How hot do you get the grill and how long do you leave the burgers on that grill?”
I received many different answers and determined that everyone I talked with had no idea how long they should leave their burgers over the heat. Therefore, just like me, they ended up cooking their burgers to death disappointing family and guests.
I decided to experiment and found that it is easy to get that burger perfect. Here is how:
THE MEAT OF THE BURGER
The most important part of the hamburger is, of course, the meat. Obtain good ground meat consisting of approximately 80% lean and 20% fat. The favorites are sirloin and chuck. Divide into 8oz patties. Do not press the ground beef too tightly but just enough that it will not fall apart on the grill.
Spice up the meat. A little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper is all you need. Apply the spices to both sides of the patty.
Whether you use charcoal, hardwood, or gas, the grill needs to be very hot. Five hundred (500) degrees will do very nicely. The reason for a very hot grill is to sear the hamburger on both sides to keep the flavor and juices inside.
Place the hamburgers on the very hot and clean grill. Close the lid. Cook for four (4) minutes and flip them over and cook for about the same time on the flip side. (Note: Grilles are different and your time may differ, but not much.)
DO NOT PRESS THE MEAT
Most people believe they should press the meat. Don’t do it. Pressing will squeeze juices and flavors right out of the burgers. The end result will be dry, cardboard-like, tasteless hamburgers.
CHEESE ON THE BURGER
One basic rule for the cheese. Always use fresh real cheese. My favorite is Sharp Cheddar Cheese but experiment and try all kinds; such as, Goat Cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, Blue Cheese. There are many different kinds of cheeses on the market providing much room to experiment.
Put the cheese directly on the burger and move the burger off the direct heat and allow the cheese to melt. Permit the meat to rest a minute before placing it on the bun otherwise a soggy bun from the juices could result.
TOAST THE BUN
While the hamburgers are resting, toast the buns. Paint some melted butter on the face of the bun before placing on the grill. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different bun types other than the normal plain white bun.
The All-American hamburger should be crunchy on the outside and moist and favorable on the inside. Enjoy!
SOURCE: M. Hollingsworth, Raleigh, NC