Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Perfect Burger

We made up some burgers this past weekend. I've got to say they were very good. They were loaded with fried onion rings, honey BBQ sauce and cheese. I thought I would post some tips on how to cook the purfect burger!

Step 1
Start with fresh ground chuck. Chuck is the most flavorful type of ground beef, and comes from a single cut of beef. Plain "ground beef" can include meat from all over the animal.

Step 2
Make sure the chuck has a fat content of at least 15 to 22 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.

Step 3
Chill the beef well before forming patties. Wash your hands well, then form the patties.

Step 4
Make each patty by forming about half a pound of ground chuck into a tight ball about the size of a baseball. Firmly press ball into a flat cake, first between your hands, then onto a clean cutting board.

Step 5
Use a spatula or other straight-edged tool to "pull in" the sides of the patty so that they remain together and tight.

Step 6
Form patties about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Make the diameter about 1/2 inch larger than the bun to allow for shrinkage.

Step 7
Build a hot fire in the grill. Lightly oil the bars with vegetable oil - pour oil onto a paper towel, then hold the towel with tongs to wipe the oil onto the grill bars.

Step 8
Season the burgers on both sides with salt and pepper. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper give the best flavor.

Step 9
Place the burgers on the grill over direct heat. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once. It is important to only flip over 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.

Step 10
Check doneness by peeking inside a patty with a spatula, or use an instant-read food thermometer inserted into the center of the patty. (See Tips for recommended temperature.)

Step 11
Serve on fresh buns with any toppings you prefer: cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, pickles and condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard.

What do you like on your burgers?

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