It’s burger season! There’s nothing better than firing up the grill for the first time once the weather gets nice to whip up a batch of juicy Certified Hereford Beef burgers. If you are looking to take your burger skills to the next level, join Chef Tim for 10 tips to building your best burger.
1. The Beef
Our first burger tip is to always start with fresh Certified Hereford Beef chuck patties or ground Certified Hereford Beef. Chuck meat is the best meat to create the best burger because it typically has an 80% meat and 20% fat ratio, which adds a rich, beefy flavor to the meat.
2. Forming your patties
When you are forming your patties, do not press the ground chuck meat into tightly pressed patties. Gently fold your ground beef with a little steak seasoning and form into your desired size of patty. Let the patties refrigerate for 20 minutes before cooking. As a result, the fat will congeal and firm before cooking the burger on a hot 400°F grill or cast iron cooking surface.
Before placing your burgers on the grill, press your thumb slightly down in the middle of the burger to create a small pond. The burger will swell in the middle if you do not give the patty a press before cooking.
3. Grilling your burger
Another great burger tip is to make sure that your grill is at least 350-400°F before starting the grilling process. When cooking your burger on a grill, allow it to “caramelize” about 2-3 minutes before giving it a 45° turn with your spatula. Do not keep turning the burger, and NEVER EVER press down on the burger during the cooking process. Pressing down on the burger will push out all the juices that you want to keep in the burger. After that, grill for 2-3 more minutes until the burger has nice grill marks. Turn the burger over and repeat the process until you have reached the desired temperature of your burger.
The USDA recommends cooking burgers to 160°F internal temperature until well done to eliminate any bacteria that could be on the burger.
4. Choosing your bun
While the burger is cooking, it’s time to get your bread or bun of choice together. Do yourself a favor and toast your buns on the grill to give them some crunch and texture. After the bun has been slightly toasted, spread a little melted butter with steak seasoning across both parts of the bun to infuse extra flavor into the buns! Set your buns aside.
Rich and hearty breads like baguette breads add a unique crunch and texture for a better burger experience. My personal choice for a hamburger bun is a large toasted French brioche bun baked in butter, which adds a rich flavor to the burger dining experience. However, other bun options include French baguettes, pretzel buns, Texas toast, or your standard sesame seed bun. The options are endless when it comes to burger buns!
5. Let your patties rest
Once you remove the burgers from your grill, let them rest for 5 minutes before eating. This allows the juices to re-distribute throughout the burger patty. Make sure to place any juices back on top of the burger patty before serving.
6. Adding Toppings
When adding “extras” to your burger, choose premium vegetables like arugula for the lettuce. Arugula has a slight peppery taste and adds more flavor to your burger vs. standard lettuce.
7. Boost your flavor
When choosing your tomatoes, pick a gourmet-style beef steak tomato or the flavorful heirloom tomato. You can salt and pepper the tomato and add a drop of red wine vinegar and olive oil to the tomatoes for some extra juice and flavor as well.
8. The Juicy Lucy
This is one of my favorite burger tips. To add a delicious and unique twist to your burger, try a Juicy Lucy! Place your cheese inside two raw burger patties and seal with a pinch to create a Juicy Lucy burger. The cheesy-goo that comes out of the middle of the burger during the eating experience is a tradition of burger-aficionado’s in the upper Midwest.
9. Pickle time
Serve your Certified Hereford Beef gourmet burgers with spiced honey jalapeno pickle planks, or your Kosher pickles of choice. Add thin and crisp pepper bacon for additional flavor and texture.
10. Serving time
My last tip to build your best burger is to serve your gourmet burger with your desired choice of sides. Add an icy cold lager beer or cold beverage and you will be dining on the best burger in paradise. Use a bib and have lots of napkins available, too!