Foolproof Hamburgers

C'mon, you're no fool.

Good burgers need hight heat, around 500 F

There is nothing like a tasty burger.

There are four things I do to get perfect burgers every time, one is specific to hamburgers, the other three to any burger.

  1. Fat means flavour: I use lean ground beef which is supposed to be no more than 22% fat. Extra-lean makes for a dried up, inedible burger; I haven’t tried medium. You can ground your own, of course, if you’re truly obsessive. I’ve not gone there, yet.
  2. Breadcrumbs: just enough will do to help the burger keep it’s shape throughout cooking. Too little and your burger falls apart when you put it on the grill or when you flip it. Too much, and they’ll be dry, taste weird and feel weird in your mouth. I eyeball it, but it’s between 1/4 – 1/3 cup per pound of ground beef.
  3. Keep‘em cold: until put them on the grill, keep the patties cold. When making them, don’t linger: mix the ingredients with your hands until just mixed, shape them and then put them in the fridge. The cold will allow them to keep their shape throughout grilling.
  4. The divot. When shaping, put a divot on the top of each patty. The divot saves you from burger balls: when the burger is placed on the grill, the grill side will contract, pulling at the sides; the sides, turn, pull at the top side, because of surface tension. Without the divot, the contraction will make your burger round but misshapen (like balls).

The divot is one of the secrets for foolproof burgers.

Makes 4 burgers

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Combine the ingredients in a bowl with your hands. Shape into 4 patties. When shaping, make divot in the middle on one side (as pictured).

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Prep your grill for high heat. When it’s ready, oil the grill. I usually oil the meat rather than the grill, but with burgs, it’s just easier to oil the grill. Place the patties on the grill, cook until done, about 4 minutes a side, turning once when the divot is almost gone. If you’re melting cheese on your burger, put it on halfway through the second side.

If you’re toasting your buns, now’s the time to put them on. Watch them carefully! They burn quickly.

Serve with your favourite condiments.

Look at those grill marks!

Jason Kemp is a geek trapped in a cool guy's body. He hand crafts software for the web and mobile devices. He excels at user interface design, the deadlift and barbecue. He is @ageektrapped across the internet.

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