Technique | The Perfect Burger
Summer is just around the corner, which means lots of backyard barbecues with friends and family. One of the go-to items from the grill is a juicy, perfect burger since they’re easy to cook and serve to a crowd. They’re a big hit with kids and adults and can be customized to suit any guests’ tastes. So, we thought we’d go over the best tools and techniques to deliver an unbeatable burger at your next cookout.
There are many different options for choosing the type of meat you’ll use to form your patties. You can stick with a classic all-beef patty, use ground pork, a mixture of both, or go with leaner meat like turkey. The one thing to note when choosing a leaner meat is that these patties tend to dry out if cooked too long since fat adds moisture and flavour to the burger.
If choosing to cook with all beef, you want to stay away from round or sirloin cuts, as they tend to be too lean, though they could be mixed with a fattier cut to balance it out. The ideal fat content is between 15 to 20 percent, making Beef Chuck meat an excellent choice for forming your burgers.
How you season your burgers is entirely a matter of choice. For a simple, traditional flavour, you’ll want to season with some salt, pepper, and a little onion and garlic powder. If you’re using a fatty cut of meat, keeping your added seasoning simple will let the natural flavours that come from the meat shine through. But again, it is all personal preference.
Now, if you want to kick things up a notch, you can start to experiment with different spices. A great way to add some more complex taste to your burger is by seasoning the meat with the Broil King Perfect Steak Spice or even the Perfect BBQ Rub. These blends contain several different perfectly balanced spices and will add even more savoury flavour to your patty. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and experiment with different flavour combinations. You might find something totally different that works really well together.
Once you’ve got your meat chosen and ground up, you’ll need to figure out how big you want to make your patties. This is where the Broil King Burger Press comes in handy. First, give your press a quick spray with some oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Grab a handful of ground meat and roll it into a ball in your palms. Place it on the press and use the three etched lines to determine the size of the patty. Then use the top half of the press to firmly push down and flatten the ball. The three cut-outs on the top correspond to the three etched lines on the bottom half of the press. You can add more meat or remove some depending on how dense of a burger you want to make.
Using a burger press is a great way to ensure you have consistently sized patties when cooking for a large group. That way, you don’t end up overcooking some of your burgers and undercooking others. The dimple in the top helps prevent your burgers from rising and rounding into balls as they cook.
There are several ways to cook a patty on the grill, but let’s start with the cooking grid method. You’ve only got one side to utilize if you’re using a stainless rod grid. However, if you have cast iron or cast stainless grids, you can utilize either the pointed side or the grooved side. The pointed side will give you those perfect sear marks you aim for with a steak. But flipping over your grids to use the grooved side helps keep some moisture in your burger, as the juices sit in the grooves and baste the meat as it cooks.
No matter which cooking grid you’re using, you want to cook your burgers over medium heat, flipping four times to get that sear mark cross-section. You’re trying to reach an internal temp of 150-160˚F without charring the outside. You can also move the burgers from direct to indirect heat if the outside is getting too crispy and you still need the internal temperature to climb higher. The warming rack on your grill is suitable for this, or simply move the patties to another grid without a burner turned on below it.
The other option for cooking a burger patty is to use a griddle. We have several options to fit any grill. The exact fit cast iron griddle replaces your cooking grids inside the cook box. The side burner griddle can turn your side burner into an additional flat top cooking surface. And there’s the narrow stainless griddle if you’re tight on space and only want to cook one or two burgers at a time.
You’ll follow a similar cooking method with the griddle, keeping an eye on the patties to make sure they don’t brown too quickly while the interior cooks. But with a griddle, you’ve got a much broader, even heating surface that acts as a barrier between your meat and the direct flame. This avoids flare-ups for a more controlled cook. You can also use a griddle to make smash burgers (a recent popular trend). Grab a super flipper and press down on your patty as it’s cooking for a super-thin burger. Keep in mind that the meat will cook much faster with a smash burger since you’re flattening the patty for more direct contact with the cooking surface.
The last considerations for your burger are, of course, the buns and toppings. The griddle is great for preparing sauteed onions, mushrooms, bacon, and more to go on your burger. You can also use it to give your buns an even golden toast. Alternatively, you can utilize your warming rack to heat them while your burgers cook below. Once you’ve got your buns, patties and toppings ready to go, it’s up to your guests to assemble and enjoy!