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Tips For Making Great Burgers

Updated on June 15, 2007

Who doesn't love a well-grilled burger in the summer? Well, I suppose vegetarians (but there are always veggie burgers, too -- who says burgers have to be made from beef?)

In order to get the best results when you grill your burger, here are a few tips.

1) If you're using hamburger, choose high-quality meat. If you choose cheaper cuts, you will taste the difference. I like to choose beef with a higher fat content because I feel it makes a juicier burger.

2) Don't forget to season the meat! Dried onion soup mix is an easy way to get a lot of flavor. Just gently mix it into the ground beef. You can also use simply salt, pepper, and some fresh parsley. My husbands like to add Worcestershire sauce. You could also get creative and add onions and peppers to the mixture (if you want a more subtle flavor, sautee your vegetables first), or shredded cheese, or really any kinds of spices you like.

3) Form the patty very gently. Don't manhandle your meat! Gently form a patty between your hands. Remember that the higher the fat content of your meat, the more your burger will shrink. To avoid a dome-shaped burger, after you've made the patty, use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of the burger.

4) Don't put them on the grill right away! Hamburger patties will benefit from spending an hour or more in the refrigerator. This helps the ingredients bind together and makes it less likely that your burger will fall apart.

5) Cook thick patties at a lower temperature, or else the outside will be burned and the inside will be raw.

6) Don't press down on your burgers. This will just release the juices and dry out your burger.

7) Cook your burger to the appropriate temperature. For beef, this is the guide:

Beef: Rare 140F/60C : Medium 160F/70C : Well Done 175F/80C

However, it can be difficult to accurately measure the internal temperature of a burger unless it is thick. Instead, go by the feel of the burger. The firmer the meat, the more well-done it is.

8) Let your burger rest for a minute before biting into it. Keep in mind that the beef will continue to cook for a few minutes after it comes off the grill.

Then, let your imagination go wild with toppings! Have fun with your burgers and enjoy this perennial summer favorite.


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