A great BBQ requires more than just good friends and lively music to be a success. Seriously, you know and I know that everyone is really coming for the food, right? So let’s all agree that this summer we won’t settle for throwing frozen meat-pucks on the grill, instead, let’s mix up our own one-of-kind gourmet hamburger patties. Sound like a lot of work? It’s not. Creating the perfect burger is much easier than you’d think, all you have to do is remember these three simple rules…
Rule 1) Not All Ground Meats are Created Equal:
When selecting ground meat at the grocery store, check the label on the outside of the package to find the lean meat/fat ratio. I look for 80% lean meat and 20% fat, because it makes for the most juicy and flavorful burgers. Now, with that being said, they will shrink down quite a bit so you need to make the patties bigger. Of course, if you want less fat and not as much shrinkage (allowing you to make more patties with the same amount of meat), I’d go with 90/10% ratio instead. Here’s a good rule of thumb on how much meat you’ll need: allow ½ pound of meat per person with an 80/20% ratio, and ¼ pound of meat per person with a 90/10% ratio. Also, and this is a big ALSO, consider using a combination of a few different ground meats to make your patties – again, this adds more flavor and depth to the burgers. (FYI, the beauties pictured above are made from equal parts ground beef, lamb, and bison.)
Rule 2) There’s an Actual Technique to Grilling the Perfect Burger:
You can’t just throw your burgers on the grill all willy-nilly, and, really, why would you want to? After lovingly seasoning your patties, you want to make sure that your burgers are cooked to perfection! To do that, prepare your grill (briquets or gas) for high heat (at least above 450°F), and cook the patties, uncovered, directly over the heat source. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then flip burgers (only once!) and cook for another 4-5 minutes for medium, or longer if you prefer less pink. That’s it. One flip and you’re done! And please, please, PLEASE don’t smash the meat into the grill like a savage. You’ll lose all the juicy goodness and end up with blackened, leathery lumps of meat. Seriously. Gross.
Rule 3) Ketchup and Mustard Don’t Go on Everything:
Sure ketchup and mustard taste good on the average burger, I mean, that’s what we all grew up on, right? Right. But is it okay to slather it on every burger you stuff into your face? No, it’s not. When you take the time to mix ground meat with chopped bacon, season it with garlic, and stuff it with a hunk of blue cheese, you don’t want to mess it up with ketchup and mustard, you want to top it with something that compliments all those rich flavors, something like….well, you’re just gonna have to wait until tomorrow to find out!