Follow these simple steps and you’re guaranteed to get a juicy and delicious burger every time.
Regardless of the type of meat you choose, shoot for about an 80 to 20 ratio of lean to fat. This gives you just the right amount of juiciness and flavor.
You don’t need to add much to good-quality ground meat for a flavorful burger. When you do add your flavorings, add them all at once and don’t overmix the ground meat — this will help keep the patty from becoming too dense.
When you’re forming the burger patties, be gentle with your ground meat mixture. If you pack the meat too tightly, the density will make the patty seem tougher. Form your patty into a round that is the same size as your bun (it will shrink as it cooks) and then very gently press the middle of the patty to form a small dimple — this helps the patty retain an even thickness during the cooking process.
Salt can draw moisture out of the meat mixture, so don’t add it to the ground meat. Instead, season both sides of your burger patty just before cooking.
Don’t just season your patties with salt and pepper — season your grill or cast-iron cookware, too. Chef Jonathan Waxman suggests grilling up a few slices of bacon before you cook your burgers; that way, all of that salty flavor will make its way into your burgers. Just be sure to cook the bacon over indirect heat (cook it near — but not directly over — the flame) so that the fat doesn’t cause flare-ups.
Medium heat is best when it comes to burgers; if you cook your burger at too high a temperature, you’ll run the risk of drying it out.
If you formed your patty correctly, you’ll be less tempted to press on the burgers as they cook (since they won’t puff up as much in the center), but be sure you flip the burgers gently and do not press on them as they cook. If you do, you’ll lose lots of juices and flavor.
Sure, just about any cheese will be super delicious on top of a burger, but some melt more easily than others. Grate your cheese before topping your burgers for maximum melting potential.
Toasting your hamburger buns adds both flavor and texture to the burger. When your burgers are just about done cooking, toss the buns onto the grill and let them get golden brown.
The secret to amping up the flavor of any burger? Lightly butter the bun after you toast it. A hint of butter will help bring out the other flavors in the burger and leave people wondering what your secret ingredient is!