What kind of summer celebration would it be without a juicy cheeseburger in your hand? Learning how to make the best burgers is a key to making a lot of people very happy. I’ve compiled years of learning different tips and tricks into this post to help make your burgers the best. No over-the-top ingredients, just a few simple techniques.
THE BEST BURGERS
There is nothing like biting into a juicy, tender cheeseburger where the meat is perfectly flavorful and all your favorite toppings are on it. I can’t tell you which toppings to choose but I can definitely help you make those burgers so delicious, the juices will be running down your hands.
That’s exactly what a great burger does, it explodes with juices and flavor with the first bite. There is no need to overload the meat with a ton of seasonings either. You can easily bring out the natural flavor of beef with simple salt and pepper and infuse enough flavor to make the burger shine.
Through many years, I’ve collected several tips and tricks from friends who are chefs and grill masters, from butchers, and simply enthusiasts who love good food. The best part is that every single tip is so simple that everyone can do it. All you need is a little patience and start prepping the burgers ahead of time.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED?
Ground Beef – choose 80/20 good quality ground beef. This will give the burger good amount of fat to make it tender and juicy.
Egg – I started adding egg a couple of years ago and I did notice a difference in the texture. Added bonus is that the egg helps keep the meat from falling apart.
Salt and pepper – this is a simple seasoning but when you add it inside and on the outside of the beef patty, it makes the flavors sing.
Ground Brisket* – this is an optional ingredient but it will make such a difference. If you can get your hands on some ground brisket, mix in 1/4 lb of ground brisket with 3/4 lb of ground beef for an amazing burger texture.
*The only drawback to this ingredient is that it is hard to get. It might be easier to ask the butcher to grind a pound or two of brisket and separate it in portions. Use what you need in one batch and then freeze the rest. (It’s best to vacuum seal the meat before freezing when possible.)
TIPS AND TRICKS TO MAKE THE BURGERS
Season, season, season, inside and out! Season ground beef when mixing it with the egg and after your shape the patties. Season each patty on both sides with some more salt and pepper.
Refrigerate before cooking! The most important tip that most cooks emphasize is to cook cold burger patties. You don’t want to let the fat in the meat mixture melt before the burgers are cooking to have the juiciest texture. So it’s best to handle the meat as little as possible, shape the patties as quickly as possible, and refrigerate shaped patties for 2-4 hours before cooking.
Preheat the cooking surface first! Whether you’re cooking on stove-top or the grill, make sure to thoroughly preheat the cooking surface.
Make a little well in the patty. Use your fingers to make a well in each center, about half way deep. This truly does help to keep the centers from raising and bulging.
Do not disturb! Do not touch the patties after you place them on the cooking surface until ready to flip. Fight the urge to readjust or move them around.
Do not press! Ever! Please, please, do not press the burgers. It breaks my heart to see people squeezing all those wonderful meat juices out.
Let it rest! Take cooked burgers off the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before eating. This will give a chance for all the juices that have compressed during the cooking process to spread out and give you a nice juicy bite every time.
COOK THEM ON STOVE-TOP
Prepare the meat:
Combine ground beef, egg, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix. Mix it fast but mix it thoroughly. Shape the patties as quickly as you can and lay them out on a parchment paper covered metal tray.
Season each patty with some more salt and pepper on both sides and cover the tray with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before cooking. (If you need to, you can refrigerate overnight but make sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap air-tight.)
Before taking off the plastic wrap, use your fingers to make a well in each center, about half way deep.
Preheat a cooking pan over medium to medium high heat with a little oil. Add burger patties and cook for 5-7 minutes per side, depending on how well you want them. Note that these are 1/2 lb patties, they will take a couple minutes longer than thin burgers to cook.
Take cooked patties out of the heat and let them rest on a plate for about 5 minutes before servings. Tent them loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil to keep warm.
COOK THEM ON THE GRILL
Prepare the meat the same way as cooking them on the stove and refrigerate. Use your fingers to make a well in each center, about half way deep, before taking off the plastic wrap. Prepare coals and preheat the grill first so it’s hot and ready. If using gar grill, set it to medium-high temperature but leave a cooler zone to the side.
Spray each patty with some cooking spray before placing it on the grill. Place them over direct heat.
Once on the grill, do not touch them again until ready to flip. Grill for 4-6 minutes per side, depending on how well you want them. Cooked for 4 minutes per side will be closer to rare and 7 minutes per side will be closer to well done.
(If you want to read some more about grilled burgers, check out our sister site!)
Figuring out which toppings are best on the burger is tough because everyone lives different ingredients. My top 3 toppings that I always have are cheese, bacon, and pickles. But there are so many more options:
Vegetables – tomatoes, lettuce, onion, ad pickles are your classic choices.
Other meat – bacon, prosciutto, ham, pulled pork, and pulled brisket are always popular.
Fried stuff – this could include fried onions, onion haystack, egg, fries, caramelized onions, and even shrimp.
Sauces – there are the classics like ketchup, mayo, and mustard that never disappoint. You can also go with BBQ sauces, hot sauce, creamy special sauce, teriyaki sauce, whiskey sauce, and any sauce you personally love.
Cheese – American cheese is the classic for a true burger but you can shake things up with absolutely any cheese you love.
MORE BURGERS YOU MAY LOVE
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How To Make The Best Burgers
- 2 lbs 80/20 good quality ground beef
- 1 egg
- black pepper
- American cheese
- Soft hamburger buns
- Other toppings of choice
- Combine ground beef, egg, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix. Mix it fast but mix it thoroughly.
- Shape the patties as quickly as you can and lay them out on a parchment paper covered metal tray.
- Season each patty with some more salt and pepper on both sides and cover the tray with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before cooking. (If you need to, you can refrigerate overnight but make sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap air-tight.)
- Use your fingers to make a well in the center of each patty, about half way deep, before taking off the plastic wrap.
- Preheat a cooking pan over medium to medium high heat with a little oil. The pan should be hot when adding the burgers.
- Add burger patties and cook for 5-8 minutes per side, depending on how well you want them. Do not disturb the burgers while cooking.
- (Note that these are 1/2 lb patties, they will take a couple minutes longer than thin burgers to cook.)
- Take cooked patties out of the pan and let them rest on the plate for about 5 minutes before servings. Tent them loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil to keep warm.
- If adding cheese: place a slice of cheese on top of each patty 30-45 seconds before taking it off the pan. Toast the buns: to make the buns nice and toasty, preheat another pan, brush each bun with a little butter on the inside and place them in the pan buttered side down. Let them toast for a couple of minutes.