Burgers are the quintessential menu item for the backyard grill. Getting great results every time is easy if you follow these tips.
- Start with fresh ground chuck. Chuck is the most flavorful type of ground beef.
- Make sure the chuck has a fat content of at least 20 percent to ensure juiciness. If you prefer your burgers well done, ask your butcher for a higher fat content. This will allow you to cook them more without drying them out.
- Chill the beef well before forming patties.
- To make a patty divide a pound of ground chuck equally into 4 portions; form into a tight ball.
- Firmly press ball into a flat cake about 1" thick, first between your hands, then onto a clean cutting board.
- Season the burgers on both sides with salt and pepper. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper give the best flavor.
- Place the burgers on the grill over direct heat. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once. Do not press down on the burgers with the spatula during cooking - this only squeezes out the juices, encourages flame-ups and dries out the burger.
- Check doneness by taking a cut into a patty or using an instant-read food thermometer inserted into the center of the patty, it should register 160 degrees.
- Serve on fresh buns with any toppings you prefer: cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, pickles and condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard.
- 1 lb fresh ground chuck (20% fat)
- hamburger buns
A few words on food safety:
When making the patties, start with clean hands and clean tools, and wash up carefully when finished. Beware of allowing raw meat, or anything raw meat has touched, to come into contact with other surfaces. The USDA recommends that all ground meat be cooked to at least medium, to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. If you prefer your burgers medium-rare, go to extra lengths to ensure that your meat is fresh and from a trustworthy source.