It’s not hard to make a great burger. Just remember a handful of best burger practices and you’re on your way.
1. Fat is your friend. A lean beef to fat ratio is a recipe for a dry burger. Use an 80/20 blend. Chuck is perfect. The Fresh Market has a great product. Claybrook Farms is amazing too.
2. You’re not making meatloaf so don’t mix seasonings, eggs, breadcrumbs or anything into your burger meat. In fact, the less you handle it, the better.
3. Make 6 – 8oz disk shape patties, slightly larger than the size of your bun. With your thumb make a divot in the middle of each patty. It will keep the burger from pulling together too much and your ending up with a hockey puck. Again, handle the meat as little as possible.
4. Grill them on a hot grill or skillet. Your choice. I prefer charcoal. Season the patties with kosher salt and pepper just before they go on. As you see the bottom edges begin to brown and pull away (approx 5 mins) from the grill, count to 20 and then flip them. Only flip once and NEVER push on the burger with your spatula. All you’re doing is squeezing out your flavor.
5. Add cheese once you’ve flipped the patties. Yellow American is perfect, Colby Jack is good, mild Cheddar, Mozzarella and Brie are some of my favorites too. Each achieves a different final taste. Use whatever you like, it’s your burger.
6. Use a good potato or fresh brioche bun and always toast it. Do not buy cheap store brand buns. Before you put your burger on the bun, smear a thin layer of mayo on the bottom toasted bun. It creates a grease barrier and prevents the burger bun from falling apart.
7. Build your burger with the toppings and condiments you like. Don’t listen to any “expert” telling you not to use one thing or the other. This is what makes your burger great to you. Be mindful of how you layer everything. Are you making something that will hold together or a grilled bovine slip-and-slide. Also remember that too much condiments combined with a runny egg is going to be a messy burger. Things like thick onion and thick bacon will tear your bun up, also leaving you a mess. Use what you want but be smart.
Enjoy your burger, remember what works and doesn’t and fix it or experiment more next time. Happy eating!