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Grilling the Perfect Hamburger

bfickybficky Registered User regular
edited May 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Ok, they don't need to be perfect, but I'd like them to at least be above average.

My son's third birthday party is in two weeks, and we're planning on a hot dog & hamburger grill out. This will be in our backyard, so the equipment is set. I've got a 3 burner propane grill that seems to be adequate. My main concern is how to make tasty hamburgers on this grill.

I made some last night, and they were... ok, I guess. I bought a package of store brand ground beef (92/8, I think) from our grocery. The patties were preformed and were about a 1/4 pound each. I put some hamburger seasoning on each side and put them on the grill at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes per side. They seemed to be cooked through well enough (though my wife thought hers was a little too pink), but the taste wasn't anything to write home about.

I've got time for one or two more trial runs before the party, so I'm looking for recommendations on ingredients, grilling techniques, etc. I'm sure I could be picking better meat, but I'm not sure what to look for. I've heard more fat (85/15 or 80/20) may help, but what type of meat should I be looking for? Angus? I was lazy and bought the preformed patties yesterday, but I'm more than willing to form them myself. I'll probably stick with 1/4 pound size, since there will be kids at this party. Any seasonings? (I'm in Dallas, BTW.)

As for using my grill, it's not the most state of the art thing, but it does have an analog thermometer showing the temperature, and I can probably get it to within 50 degrees of a target. Higher temp for shorter time? Lower and longer?

Any other basic hamburger grilling advice? The manual I got when I became a man didn't include a "How to Grill a Mean Hamburger" chapter, although it seems every other guy knows how to. Maybe I missed it.

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    MoSiAcMoSiAc Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Get just ground beef in non preformed patties and add some ranch dressing packet powder then make the patty's with that mixed in well. it's crazy delicious. Don't add as much as the back of the package says to add though, it's way too much.

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    WalterWalter Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    MoSiAc wrote: »
    Get just ground beef in non preformed patties and add some ranch dressing packet powder then make the patty's with that mixed in well. it's crazy delicious. Don't add as much as the back of the package says to add though, it's way too much.

    ^ This is how my dad used to make them and they were awesome. Don't get super lean ground beef or really fatty ground beef. I'm not sure which proportion tastes best, maybe somebody else will know.

    Walter on
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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    well the first problem is you have way too lean a meat. you want 85:15 max or if you go leaner go with ground sirloin.

    views on teh contents of burgers vary. i usually do some finely minced mushroom and garlic with some salt and pepper. sometimes i throw in some finely minced onion as well.

    i make my patties by hand and eyeball it on size. if you are grilling for kiddies you should probably make them smaller. try to get a uniform thickness. once the meat is on the grill don't move it for 3-4 minutes. it will release on its own.

    as far as cooking times. i just grill on high or somewhere like 450-500. i don't really care as i don't cook based on time. I cook for roughly 4 minutes flip, repeat. and then flip again if its too rare, then add any cheese etc.

    mts on
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    FrazFraz Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I'd bet those pre-formed patties weren't the freshest.

    A few things that have worked for me:

    1. Use beef that's freshly ground and something quality like sirloin. Buy grass fed if you can find/afford it.
    2. I mixed the ground beef with some Dijon mustard a and a bit of olive oil and salt, but there's not reason why you can't just form the patties on their own and let the quality meat speak for itself. Just make sure you press the patties very gently. The softer you are when you press them together, the more tender they'll be.
    3.And don't forget to let them cool in the fridge for an hour before grilling and make sure they are cool right up until you throw them on the grill.

    Some nice toppings like cooked or caramelized onions would be great. Also good buns help.

    Fraz on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    The ranch dressing powder trick makes delicious burgers, by the way. I can confirm this.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    For a regular size hamburger bun, you want the patty to be the size of a CD, due to shrinkage. 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. I actually have a metal ring I use to shape the patties, but in a pinch, try using a tupperwear container, basically anything that's round with a flat base. It means you can really pack the meat tightly too, so it won't fall apart. Also, form the patties when the meat is room temperature, otherwise they don't hold together as well.

    As for meat preference, everyone has their own. If I'm adding a bunch of seasoning to the meat, I'll usually go with 85% lean. If I just want the meat to stand on its own as tasty meat, then I'll get the 92 or 93% lean.

    Cook time is also kind of personal preference. For mine, I make the above mentioned burgers while the grill is heating, all 4 burners on full with the lid closed. It's usually showing over 500 degrees by the time I put them on. I lay the patties, then close the lid and walk away for 4 minutes, don't touch them at all. Then I open the lid, drop the heat to medium-low, flip them all, and let them sit for 5 minutes with the grill lid open. This will produce well done burgers in the center of the grill, and medium to medium-well around the outside. This works best with leaner meat, since fatty meat causes more flareups.

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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I take the ground beef out of the package, add about 1tbsp of Worcestershire sauce per pound, 2tsp of balsamic vinegar, some garlic powder, and then mix it all together by hand. Then I typically will separate it into patties (I have a kitchen scale so they all end up the same without having a HUGE one).

    I form them by hand, making sure to make them no more than 1cm in thickness. They will contract and a poorly formed patty will turn into a meatball.

    I personally then stick them in the oven until the grill is hot, so the cats don't eat them. I let all of my grill meat get to room temperature before I cook it so that the middle is warmer, which lends itself to more even cooking in my experience. I use 85/15.

    I then add some lowry's salt to each side after they're on the grill, and the grill is HOT. I have a charcoal grill so I don't know how hot it gets. And then after the first flip, I put the top on to smoke them. Not for flavor, although I'm sure it helps a little bit, but so that they can get cooked in the middle without burning to a crisp. On a gas grill you'd cook one side at like 450+ and then flip it, wait a minute, then drop the heat down to 300 and close the lid. Then up the heat before taking them off, flip and add cheese, then get the buns ready so the cheese can melt.

    I personally like to let the meat be mostly meat, with the worcestershire sauce and vinegar helping it stay moist and savory.

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    ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    This ranch dressing thing in burgers sounds alien and disgusting.
    I think I'm gonna try it.

    Shogun on
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    DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I generally just make decent sized patties (accounting for shrinkage), then sprinkle a little bit of garlic powder and black pepper on top before grilling.

    If I want to get fancy, I'll make a stuffed burger with cheese or bacon inside. Or cheese and bacon. Or peppers. There's lots of shit you can put in it. I've even seen mexican burgers with like black bean salsa in the middle. They were fucking amazing.

    e: To do this you create two slightly smaller patties, pressing your contents between like you're making a ravioli.

    DirtyDirtyVagrant on
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2010
    Try mixing in a little salmon (25-30%, maybe). It gives the burger a distinctive flavor and lightens it up slightly. A little chopper hot pepper and mushroom is usually good for bringing out the flavor of the patty.

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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    If your patties are thick enough, try searing them before cooking them.

    Turn your left most burner to high.
    Turn your other two burners to med-high.
    Put the patties on the high side for 1 minute on each side.
    Cook as usual on the med-high sides.

    I like my burgers/steaks/meats in general with a bit of a seared outside, as I find it adds to the flavour and texture.

    Figgy on
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    bfickybficky Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Wow, thanks for the replies. The ranch dressing idea seems popular, so I'll definitely try that. My wife is pretty picky when it comes to food, so I'll have to either make some non ranched burgers for her or convince her that they won't taste like a burger with salad dressing on top. Any other seasoning I should add with the ranch? Salt and pepper?

    I may also try a second idea, maybe the Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder one. I don't like mushrooms, so I'll leave those out of the meat and let others put them on top if they want.
    EggyToast wrote: »
    I let all of my grill meat get to room temperature before I cook it so that the middle is warmer, which lends itself to more even cooking in my experience.
    Fraz wrote: »
    And don't forget to let them cool in the fridge for an hour before grilling and make sure they are cool right up until you throw them on the grill.

    Hmm... The burgers I did last night were right on the border of frozen when I put them on the grill (I stupidly put them in the freezer instead of the fridge when I got home from the grocery about 3-4 hours before I started grilling). What's the argument for having them cold when putting them on the grill?

    Is everyone just using generic ground beef, or springing for the higher quality stuff? From my farmer's daughter wife, I know that angus and sirloin is comparing apples and oranges, but should be looking for one or both?

    As for the toppings, we've recently been going to lots of gourmet burger places where I can get some tricked up burgers (guacamole, chipotle and onion strings; teriyaki and pineapple; beans, salsa, and peppers; etc.). My idea is to have a ton of toppings available so that everyone can jazz up their burgers as much as they want. Having smaller burgers seems like a good idea for this as well, as people could have a second burger and go for different toppings. Of course, for the people that only want a single slice of American on it, I need the burger to taste fine by itself.

    EDIT: For the actual grilling, I never even thought of the differences between grilling with the top up or down. Typically I just close the lid, but if this is wrong, let me know.

    bficky on
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    ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I generally just make decent sized patties (accounting for shrinkage), then sprinkle a little bit of garlic powder and black pepper on top before grilling.

    If I want to get fancy, I'll make a stuffed burger with cheese or bacon inside. Or cheese and bacon. Or peppers. There's lots of shit you can put in it. I've even seen mexican burgers with like black bean salsa in the middle. They were fucking amazing.

    e: To do this you create two slightly smaller patties, pressing your contents between like you're making a ravioli.

    I just learned about burgers like these. They are called inside-out burgers. I did mine with onion, pickles, and something else and it was pretty goddamn amazing. A bit messy, but worth it.

    Shogun on
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    CrossBusterCrossBuster Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I personally think that the perfect burger isn't grilled. A flat surface, like a cast iron skillet or griddle, is much better, in my opinion. With a grill, a lot of the fat and juice just drip into the fire, which dries out the meat a little.

    On a flat surface, the meat stays in constant contact with any fat that renders out of it, essentially frying the meat in its own fat. This gives the patty a crispy, flavorful crust that covers the entire surface. Also, some of the juice that comes out of the meat might get re-absorbed.

    As for meat, just go with 80/20 ground chuck. I think there's a discernible improvement in flavor if you spring for grass-fed beef. It's also a little better for you, and not much more expensive than other ground beef.

    When using really good beef, you shouldn't try to add a ton of different flavors. Just go with seasonings that will complement and intensify the flavor of the meat. I usually go with salt, freshly ground pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and a tiny bit of Siracha (if you use the right amount of Siracha, you barely taste it, but the pepper and garlic seem to turn up the flavor of the meat). All of the seasonings you add should be mixed in with the meat, and not sprinkled on the outside. You should do this well in advance of cooking the meat, to let the flavors meld. Also, meat should be at room temperature when you cook it.

    If you insist on grilling, make sure you touch the patties as little as possible when they're on the grill. And for god's sake, don't smash them with the spatula. Yeah, it might make them cook a little bit faster, but it also squeezes out a lot of juice, leaving your burgers dry and less flavorful.

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    FrazFraz Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    The reason I keep them cool is so they hold together better right up until they get to the grill because I press them together rather gently. Almost like I'm fluffing the meat together with a fork. You obviously don't want them to be frozen.

    Some people use eggs to hold them together, but we're not making meatballs here.

    Fraz on
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    Captain VashCaptain Vash Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I take 85% lean beef, as fresh as possible.

    flatten it out on a big cutting board, apply soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, onion powder, and chalula sauce, then instead of beating the meat up to mix in the flavorings I fold it over about 6 times like I was making a croissant.. Fold over, flatten out, fold over, flatten out.

    Then I tear off evenly sized chunks, usually around 1/3 lb, but 1/4lb would work fine as well, form them into wide flat patties, and cook on the first side until I can see blood coming through the top of the burger, flip and wait for blood, add cheese, begin toasting buns, when cheese is melted and buns are toasted, take off grill and serve.

    If I'm feeling fancy, I'll also take a whole sweet yellow onion, cut it into fine, but not too fine half rings, and reduce these in butter with vinaigrette until soft for a great burger topper. though the onions may not be younger child approved.

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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I usually mix in a combination of egg, chopped onion, minced garlic, Woshershire sauce (not sure of the spelling on that), bread crumbs, and seasoning salt. Makes a damn tasty burger.

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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    bficky wrote: »
    EggyToast wrote: »
    I let all of my grill meat get to room temperature before I cook it so that the middle is warmer, which lends itself to more even cooking in my experience.
    Fraz wrote: »
    And don't forget to let them cool in the fridge for an hour before grilling and make sure they are cool right up until you throw them on the grill.

    Hmm... The burgers I did last night were right on the border of frozen when I put them on the grill (I stupidly put them in the freezer instead of the fridge when I got home from the grocery about 3-4 hours before I started grilling). What's the argument for having them cold when putting them on the grill?

    With all meat, it is good to let it get to room temperature before grilling. The reason for this is that if the center of your meat is always going to be much cooler than the outside. If you grill straight out of the fridge, your center is going to cook a lot slower than the outside. In the case of cooking a well done burger, that means you'll likely be burning the outside or at least drying out the meat just to get the center cooked through.
    EDIT: For the actual grilling, I never even thought of the differences between grilling with the top up or down. Typically I just close the lid, but if this is wrong, let me know.
    [/quote]

    With the lid down, you get a more even heat distribution throughout. With the grill up, there isn't much ambient heat cooking the meat. You're just relying on the fire.

    Figgy on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I just do 50/50 sirloin and chuck, processed or ground, and salt/pepper. If I'm going to go fancy it's going to be with the trimmings (cheese, jalapeno, guacamole, sliced heirloom tomatoes, sweet onion, whatever) and toast the buns after brushing with melted butter. Don't overprocess or over-handle, but hand-form the patties and press a dimple in the middle so it's slightly concave. No dimple may result in the burger bulging in the middle after it's cooked.

    The temp is right when I can hold my hand right above the grill surface for only 2 seconds, grill should be clean and lightly oiled just before you toss on the meat, flip 'em when blood/juice pools at the top, and I check for doneness by feel.

    That's just the way I do it and it's a pretty basic recipe/method, there are tons of ways to do 'em tastily. I've avoided directly doctoring the meat cause every time I try that my patties fall apart on the grill.

    My guess as to why your burgers were lackluster would be either not enough salt, or not enough fancy stuff (if that's your thing).

    Djeet on
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    CrossBusterCrossBuster Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Also, if you're going for a really good sear on the outside of the meat, you obviously want the cooking surface to lose as little heat as possible when you add the food to it. High, dry heat is essential.

    Obviously, using something really dense, like iron, as a cooking surface helps in this department. However, meat is also pretty dense, and a good amount of its mass comes from water. A big slab of meat will drop the temperature of whatever it comes in contact with, at least a little bit. You can mitigate this by letting the meat get to room temperature before cooking it, rather than putting it on the grill/in the pan while it's cold from the refrigerator.

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    bfickybficky Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    ...cook on the first side until I can see blood coming through the top of the burger, flip and wait for blood, add cheese, begin toasting buns, when cheese is melted and buns are toasted, take off grill and serve.

    The looking for blood is one of the tips my mom gave me, but I always forget to watch for that when the lid is down. To check if they're done, I normally cut into one burger to check the inside, meaning someone's burger looks like PacMan. I figured there's a better way to check for doneness (thought I'm sure a lot of it is by feel).

    The hamburger seasoning I used did have salt in it, but I have no idea in what proportion. I think I'll just add the ingredients myself instead of relying on the mix of the seasoning.

    bficky on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Shogun wrote: »
    This ranch dressing thing in burgers sounds alien and disgusting.
    I think I'm gonna try it.

    It's really, really good. It adds a zest (think similar to a cool-ranch dorito) taste to the burger. If you have enough meat, it's not really "BAM HERES SOME RANCH", but more of "Hey, did someone mix some cool ranch doritos into this burger?"

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2010
    Try a sharper cheese than American. I tend toward New York Style cheddar, but I'm a bit odd when it comes to cheese (unless you're British). Gruyère, mahon, Cabrales, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola should all give burgers a very interesting flavor.

    The Costco sells a very good crumbly Gorgonzola that I've found to be delicious, but I would admit that learning to slice it takes a while, as the slices tend to break easily.

    Capsaicin has been found to intensify flavors, so a little habanero (one should be enough) ground into the beef will bring out the flavor wonderfully.

    Kosher/halal beef tends to be better than not, but very few of the actual things that make it kosher actually make the meat better. The main benefit comes from the fact that the protocols needed to ensure that the meat is kosher allow quality-associated stuff to be done without much additional effort. Basically, if you can't find organic/grass fed, kosher/halal is the next best thing. Organic, grass fed, kosher beef is the best you can dream of.

    For a flat surface, brick ovens seem to make pizza well, so you could try putting bricks of a grate over a wood fire.

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    DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Out of curiosity, what's the difference between corn fed and grass fed beef?

    I live in Iowa. So I'm pretty sure I've never tasted grass fed beef ever.

    DirtyDirtyVagrant on
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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    bficky wrote: »
    ...cook on the first side until I can see blood coming through the top of the burger, flip and wait for blood, add cheese, begin toasting buns, when cheese is melted and buns are toasted, take off grill and serve.

    The looking for blood is one of the tips my mom gave me, but I always forget to watch for that when the lid is down. To check if they're done, I normally cut into one burger to check the inside, meaning someone's burger looks like PacMan. I figured there's a better way to check for doneness (thought I'm sure a lot of it is by feel).

    There are a few ways, but the most exact and scientific is with a meat thermometer. You can get "button thermometers" for a few bucks, which are small ones intended for steaks.

    An internal temp of 160F is what you want for ground beef.

    Figgy on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Generally, when you stop seeing blood and oil coming out of the burger, that's a good indication that it's done. Though, the best way is to cut it open, just sacrifice your own.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    Generally, when you stop seeing blood and oil coming out of the burger, that's a good indication that it's done. Though, the best way is to cut it open, just sacrifice your own.

    No, that's just the easiest way, but it's actually the worst.

    For one, you ruin the burger you cut (juices escape), and just because one of the burgers on the grill is cooked, doesn't mean they all are. This is especially true when you're cooking hand-made patties that aren't necessarily all the exact same, manufactured thickness. Some grills also have hot/cold spots, which would make some patties cook faster than others.

    The best way is to use a thermometer.

    Figgy on
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    Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Out of curiosity, what's the difference between corn fed and grass fed beef?

    I live in Iowa. So I'm pretty sure I've never tasted grass fed beef ever.

    Cows do not naturally eat corn, they are built to eat grass. Corn is an extremely nutrient dense feed, and allows a farmer to fatten a cow to a higher weight in a shorter amount of time. Corn will also change the bacteria dynamics in the stomach, allowing for increased risk of infection in the processing facility (E. coli anyone?) . Grass fed cows are generally healthier, instead of extremely confined feed lots, they are pastured, and are given much more free room to move, allowing for more exercise. This is not to say that there aren't grass fed cows that are fed in confined feed lots, but it is usually less common then the corn feed lots.

    The important part is knowing where your cattle come from.

    A nice article about corn and grass fed cattle by NPR: here

    Forbe! on
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    springing for fancy meat: Personally I don't think it's worth it because it's ground up and you put toppings on it. Think of it like steak. You buy a flank steak because it's cheap and works well with rubs, marinades, and so on. You don't do that to a filet mignon because you're paying more money to taste the flavor of the meat. So just get the cheap stuff.

    If the meat is leaner than 90, your burgers will taste more dry simply because there's less fat in them. I use 85 because with 80, so much fat renders out that it causes flare-ups.

    checking for doneness: you just gotta know. I do my sear then flip & "bake" method because it reduces the temperature and lets the other side cook more thoroughly without sucking all the moisture out, and the inside of the burger is cooked w/o being dry.

    If your burger is cold, the inside will be pink or your burger will be rubbery because it was overcooked. If your burger is too think, you end up with a meatball and the inside will be pink. I've heard mixed things about whether a burger should have any pinkness, but enough people dislike pink ground beef that it's worthwhile to cook enough.

    Since the heat isn't completely even on charcoal, I tend to move the position of my burgers when I flip them so they end up in different places. But you only need to flip twice -- once to sear, then to sear & bake, and then one final time to put the cheese on (since the cheese should go on the "dry" side).

    If you want a good salty burger, use Lowry's.

    This comes up enough with friends that I should really just take some videos or photos of my process. I made burgers twice this weekend and everyone loved them, asking "so what did you do? my burgers never turn out like this." And I don't really do anything fancy; most of the trick is in the cooking. I've found that putting a lot of stuff into burgers doesn't seem to really do enough to the flavor. Anything subtle is going to be overpowered by the condiments.

    But yeah, since you've got a thing coming up, don't go too fancy for learning how to do it. Here's the important things for your process:

    a) get 85/15 beef
    b) put it in a mixing bowl
    c) add some seasonings if you want, at least worcestershire sauce
    d) knead and mix the meat so that it looks like a solid mass, rather than stringy bits.
    e) separate the giant mass into separate, equivalent balls
    f) loosely pack the balls, then gently squish them. Rotate them in your palm and run your thumb along the edge to make a nice smooth edge. You want them to look like homemade versions of those pre-made patties.

    then for cooking:
    a) plop on a hot grill, salt one side with whatever.
    b) after a few minutes, the edge should be a little gray. If you can lift it with a spatula/flipper and it's firm enough to flip, and a little "crispy" in spots, you're good -- flip it.
    c) decide whether you care about pink middles. if you don't care about pink middles:
    -- sear for the same amount of time or so, same criteria to check for done. Flip, add cheese, done.
    if you care about pink middles:
    -- sear for 1 minute to let it "set" then close lid, turn grill down to about 300-350. Let cook for about 5 minutes, lift lid to check (lift a burger up to look at the bottom). If it's just plain gray, let it go a little more. If it's a little "crispy" then you're good. Up heat to very hot again. Let burger sit for a minute or so, then flip, add cheese, done.

    You should flip at the end even if there's no cheese so that the juice sitting on top goes into the grill instead of the eater's bun. The *meat* should be juicy, not the bun.

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Figgy wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Generally, when you stop seeing blood and oil coming out of the burger, that's a good indication that it's done. Though, the best way is to cut it open, just sacrifice your own.

    No, that's just the easiest way, but it's actually the worst.

    For one, you ruin the burger you cut (juices escape), and just because one of the burgers on the grill is cooked, doesn't mean they all are. This is especially true when you're cooking hand-made patties that aren't necessarily all the exact same, manufactured thickness. Some grills also have hot/cold spots, which would make some patties cook faster than others.

    The best way is to use a thermometer.

    Pft, I'll just eat my Jack-in-the-Box and be happy. D:

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Out of curiosity, what's the difference between corn fed and grass fed beef?

    I live in Iowa. So I'm pretty sure I've never tasted grass fed beef ever.

    Regular beef tastes sweeter and tends to have more marbling, and grass fed beef tastes a little ... grassier. Personally I prefer the taste of regular to grass-fed.

    Regular beef cattle are rapidly fattenned up in feed lots that incude corn in their feed.

    I've heard (from a source that had skin in the game so I'm skeptical) that grass-fed beef is supposed to have higher EFA (good fats) and various vitamins then regular beef cattle. Grass-fed raising is supposed to be a more susainable way of rasing beef cattle.

    Djeet on
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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    honestly though for the sake of this situation ( a party for a 3 year old) i would just go to costco and get frozen patties. they cook fast and a little kid is not going to know the difference. just sprinkle some seasoned salt on each side and people will love them.

    maybe make hamburgers for the parents but making real burgers for a lot of people sucks balls.

    mts on
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    eatmosushieatmosushi __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2010
    have you considered picking up a few veggie patties for the families that choose not to eat meat? Might not be an issue, but I'm sure someone will certainly appreciate it!

    eatmosushi on
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    TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I don't think it's been mentioned that the reason for salting is that it brings both water and water-soluble proteins to the surface of the meat rather than keeping them down inside the cells, which enhances both flavor and browning. If you're going to be cooking meat over a grill (or any fast or dry method) and you didn't brine/marinate it already, you'll want to salt it. Those water-soluble proteins enhance the Maillard reaction.

    I think there's at least one episode of Good Eats about making burgers. They shouldn't be too difficult to find. Look for "The Man Food Show" for sliders, and I think regular burgers are covered in "A Grind is a Terrible Thing to Waste." When in doubt, look to Alton Brown.

    Terrendos on
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    eatmosushieatmosushi __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2010
    am i nuts or does someone recall as grilling with coffee grounds being good?

    eatmosushi on
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    FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2010
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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    it seems to me that adding bread crumbs takes it from burger to meatloaf/ball.


    maybe i am just a purist. also cool-ranch burger sounds gross

    mts on
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    MoSiAcMoSiAc Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I thought the ranch stuff would be nasty at first too, but man it's like putting everything you love about burgers in a small powder and you really don't need anything else on it. I mean you can add stuff and make it double great but the powder alone makes a wonderful burger.

    MoSiAc on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    MoSiAc wrote: »
    I thought the ranch stuff would be nasty at first too, but man it's like putting everything you love about burgers in a small powder and you really don't need anything else on it. I mean you can add stuff and make it double great but the powder alone makes a wonderful burger.

    There are a ton of people who don't like the taste of ranch though, in which case, they'd probably not like the ranch burger. But, they still taste awesomely amazing.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I personally think that the perfect burger isn't grilled. A flat surface, like a cast iron skillet or griddle, is much better, in my opinion. With a grill, a lot of the fat and juice just drip into the fire, which dries out the meat a little.

    On a flat surface, the meat stays in constant contact with any fat that renders out of it, essentially frying the meat in its own fat. This gives the patty a crispy, flavorful crust that covers the entire surface. Also, some of the juice that comes out of the meat might get re-absorbed.
    A charcoal grill leaves you with both a nice sear and smoky deliciousness. If the meat is too dry you're either a) cooking it wrong, or b) using meat that is too lean.

    With regards to doneness, it's an experience thing for me. A thermometer might help when you're starting out, but after I had cooked enough of a given cut of meat I can check for doneness with a gentle squeeze of the tongs. If you're cooking on a griddle or in a pan you can gently press the top of the meat with your finger. The resistance it gives tells you how done it is.

    Barrakketh on
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