My Foodie Recipe: The perfect burger

Hamburger with lettuce, cheese, fries
Hamburger with lettuce, cheese, fries
Brent Hofacker via Shutterstock

Summer is upon us, and that means prime grilling season.

There are many great grilling options out there to keep you busy all summer long—starting with last week’s grilled peach cake recipe—but no lineup would be complete without a great burger.

But everybody’s tastes are different. So rather than give you a burger recipe, this week I’m going to provide you with five steps for cooking the perfect burger—ready to go with the ingredients of your choice.  

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1.  Aim for an 80-20 meat-to-fat ratio—which gives a good balance of moisture and flavor.

2.  Base your patty size on what cooking surface you use. A good rule of thumb is when you’re cooking on a griddle, use around 4 ounces of beef; on the grill, aim for a 6- to 8-ounce patty; and when pan searing, a 7-ounce patty holds up to the higher heat and won’t overcook because of the thickness.

3.  Use chilled meat and don’t overwork it. The two go together—chilled meat will help keep you from overworking it. One chef recommended grabbing a ball of meat about the size of a pool ball and gently flattening it out.

4.  Season the beef AFTER you form the patties. Mixing salt or seasonings into the middle of the patty can draw out moisture and make it dense like a hockey puck.

5.  Flip once, and only when the burger is ready to be flipped. A big mistake people make is pushing the burger around and trying to flip it before it’s ready. If you’re scraping at it trying to flip it, it’s not ready.  A good indicator is when you see the edges of the patty just starting to shrink in a little bit.

These tips came from a combination of online experts and chef friends of mine, so they are time-tested and approved.

Be sure to listen to this week’s four-minute episode of the My Foodie Podcast—and then enjoy!

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