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Building a Better Burger

With summer just around the corner, the time has finally come to break out the grill and start cooking up a few of your favorite dishes. What could be better than the sound of burgers sizzling on the grill? The sounds of the perfect burger sizzling and smoking just before it is ready to be served. However, if you were to ask a dozen different cooks what constitutes the perfect burger, you are likely to get 12 completely different answers.


It All Starts with the Basic Ingredients

If you are going to build a better burger, the most important trick is to start out with the right ingredients. Rather than buying premade burgers or cheap ground beef, try using ground chuck instead. The best blend is 80/20 that has been ground twice to ensure a perfect consistency and that there is just enough fat to keep the meat juicy as it cooks.

Among the many other very popular alternatives are ground buffalo, ostrich, turkey, and lamb. There are also a number of vegan alternatives that are quite tasty when done on the grill. Among the most popular are mushroom burgers and black bean burgers, both of which cook very well over the heat of a good bed of coals or your favorite gas grill.


Cooking Techniques

Everyone thinks they known how to create and grill a burger, but if that is the case why are so many hockey pucks served around the country? Seriously, no matter what meat you serve, start by making the patties by gently forming them to be slightly larger than the buns on which you will be serving them. Keep the meat loosely packed and use your thumb to create a small impression in the middle to keep the meat from plumping.


Season lightly with salt and pepper and grill over a high heat. Never press the burgers down with a spatula as you cook them as this squeezes all the flavorful juices out. You should only flip them once during the cooking process. Use the lid of your grill to kill any flare ups or a small squirt bottle of water. Once cooked allow your burgers to rest for a few minutes as this allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout.


Serving Them

Nothing says more about building a better burger than being able to serve them with the perfect selection of condiments and toppings. Start with a lightly toasted bun, add a range of cheeses such as American, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, and Provolone. Add in green leaf lettuce or Arugula, sliced red, sweet, yellow, or caramelized onions, and a range of pickles. Of course no burger would be complete without slices of tomato, you can use beefsteak or sundried.

Finally add a selection of your favorite condiments including ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, Thousand Island dressing, and barbecue sauce to complete the picture. For even more options consider bacon, mushrooms, slices of avocado, coleslaw, and even a fried egg. With all of this to choose from building a better burger has never been easier or better tasting.

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