How do I cook the perfect burger?
Who doesn’t love a burger? I’m not talking about a cardboard-tasting fast-food burger here. I mean a lovely juicy burger perfectly grilled on a BBQ. It’s really quite easy to make and grill your own burgers and here I can tell you how to do it.
If it’s a beef burger that you want, make sure to buy the best beef that you can. Just because it gets minced up doesn’t mean that it decreases in flavour, so put your hand in your pocket and shell out on a decent piece of meat. In terms of fat content, stay away from the leaner meats, I insist that the best burgers are made from ground beef with a 20 to 25% fat content, these babies will really turn out to be juicy and rich. Less fat than this and your burger could turn out dry, and more and it might fall apart so be careful with the fat measurement. In fact, go to your butcher and ask for ground sirloin and brisket, or coarsely ground chuck roast.
When you are forming the burger patties try to remember 2 important rules. Always make sure that you keep the meat cold and avoid over-working it. Keep your beef in the fridge up until the time that you are ready to start making the patties, then put them back in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. Keeping the fat in the meat as cold as possible means that it will expand rapidly when subjected to the heat and flavour pockets will be created inside the burger.
Wet your hands to make sure that the ground meat doesn’t stick to your hands, then pack it into a ball (being careful not to add too much and over-pack it). Press the ball so that it forms a disk about 1 inch thick and 3 inches in width.
Before you put the burgers back into the fridge, push a small dent into the center of the burger. Making a dent helps the burger cook more consistently on the grill. If you plan to cook the patties inside in a frying pan, make a hole in the center of the burger instead.
To answer the age-old question of which cooking method is best for burgers I will tell you this; both methods have their pros and cons. Gas grills heat up more rapidly, and it’s simpler to regulate the heat by turning a knob. The disadvantage is that they’re inclined to develop hot spots, so you will have to move the patties around the grill to ensure that they all cook consistently. A charcoal grill will add a smokier taste to your burgers, but it will take longer to heat up and it’s more difficult to control the temperature. It’s also essential to check the internal temperature of the burger using a digital meat thermometer.
Tip: A digital meat thermometer is the best way to know the exact temperature of the burger. I recommend cooking ground beef to an internal temperature of 160°F (well done). If you grind your own meat, you may be able to safely cook your burgers to medium-rare or medium temperatures.
It’s of utmost importance that you check the cooked temperature of these patties as they cook if you don’t want them turning out black!
The equipment you need to cook an amazing burger is a grill with a set of grilling tools. Look for a set that contains a long-handled spatula so that you don’t have to expose your arms to the heat of the charcoal as you flip the patties furthest away.
If you really want to become a burger boss, buy yourself a meat grinder, they’re actually quite cheap. Mincing the meat, yourself permits you to control the size of the grind, as well as the cuts of meat that go into your ground beef.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the patties, don’t do this at an earlier time or the burger will dry out. Put the patties on the grill grates and cook (uncovered) for 3 to 5 minutes a side, depending on how you like them cooked. If you’re putting cheese on to make cheeseburgers, add it in the last minute of grilling and cover the grill to help it melt.
DO NOT press down on the burger during the grilling process. Pressing on the burger with the spatula will squeeze out all of the juices, and that is the tastiest bit! If you do this all of the previous work you have done in preparation will be wasted and your finished burgers will be sub-par. The best way to know when your burgers are done is to use a meat thermometer and test them. Here are the suggested cooking times for perfect one-inch-thick burger patties:
Medium-rare (warm, red center): 6 minutes, or 130 to 135°
Medium (warm, pink center): 7 to 8 minutes, or 140 to 145°
Medium-well (hot, slightly pink center): 9 minutes, or 150 to 155°
Well done (brown all the way through): 10 minutes, or 160 to 165°
All there is to do now is to put them in a bun with the ingredients you like and serve!
I sincerely hope you enjoy your delicious burgers!
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