Learn the Do’s and Don’ts of Grilling Burgers for July 4th

Flickr: elNoel
Flickr: elNoel

Whether you’re a year-long griller or only get a few months of the year to cook al fresco, grilling reaches an all-time high during the peak of summer. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there’s no meal not made better by the charring abilities of the grill. Burgers and hot dogs are the go-to, and they seem simple enough — unless you’re the one manning the grill. For those standing at the grates, spatula in hand, you know all too well how challenging it can be to make a truly great burger.

Burgers are usually edible no matter what, because yum. But to make one that’s truly memorable, there are a few things you need to keep in mind, because it’s all too easy to make mistakes without even realizing it. There are eight very common ones, in fact, and it’s those mistakes that are getting in between you and burger greatness. This grilling season, don’t let them hold you back.

Right those wrongs, and eat better home-grilled burgers.

1. Don’t buy cheap, frozen or lean beef.

If feeding a crowd, we understand going for a bargain. But if grilling burgers for you and a select few, go for the good stuff. Get nice, preferably freshly ground beef, with at least 20 percent fat. Because remember, you can taste the difference between grass-fed beef and the conventional, grain-fed stuff.

2. Don’t over-work your burgers OR add a bunch of other stuff into the mix.

First, burgers are already perfect as they are. Adding onions, herbs or sauces to the meat is only detracting from their inherent greatness. Secondly, adding ingredients means having to overwork the meat, warming up the fat in the burger which emulsifies it and makes the meat rubbery. No one wants a rubbery burger, especially with onions and herbs in it. Instead, lightly shape the burgers, top with a little salt and leave it alone.

3. Don’t forget to put a divot in the middle.

It’s commonly thought that one should form a burger into a perfect patty, but this doesn’t account for the shrinking and expanding that happens to the meat as it cooks. Instead, shape the burger into a patty, then push a dimple into the center. This will create a perfectly flat burger when cooked making it so toppings stay in place when eating it. Those rounded burgers so common at backyard barbecues make topping burgers impossible.

4. Don’t let a little heat scare you.

Burgers like heat — high heat. It’s all about the sear on a perfect burger. Of course, if it seems like they’re starting to burn, turn it down. But if not, go with hot.

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SOURCE: The Huffington Post
Julie R. Thomson