How to make a great hamburger

Let's tackle one of the easiest things to make that can be a real crowd pleaser.  The Hamburger.  The downside to the hamburger is that people have been taught false things that only makes the hamburger worse.

All you need to make the purest, and I think best version, hamburger is 80/20 ground beef, salt, and pepper.  That's it.  What is 80/20 and why 80/20?  80/20 is referring the meat to fat ratio at grinding.  When the butcher ground the meat from the cut of beef he or she put 80% of meat and 20% of fat through the grinder.  Here's the thing about buying meat, fat equals taste and juiciness.  The less fat in the meat the dryer and less taste the hamburger will have.

Take the meat and use your hands to form hamburger patties.  The mistake a lot of people make is they try to doctor the meat before forming the patties.  The reality is that if you try to add things to the meat it's only going to draw moisture out of the beef faster when you cook it.  So resist the urge and just make patties of the beef.  One thing you can do to help the patties from shrinking on the grill is to create a small dimple in the middle of one side of the patty.

At this point, season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.

The reason you make the patties first and then salt and pepper liberally is that the salt and pepper will cause a crust to form on the beef on the grill.  This crust will seal more juice in the burger and keep it from escaping the meat.

Here's another mistake a lot of people make, they don't set their grill up properly.  Anytime you are grilling you should never have the same amount of heat across the whole grill.  When grilling you want space for hot zones and cool zones, so if the heat starts to get away from you or you have a flare up you can move what you're grilling to the cool zone.  I took a picture of my three zone fire towards the end of the process so I could show you.  Three zone means I stacked coals on the far left (hot zone), a single layer next to that, and to the right no coals at all (cool zone).

I do this on my gas grill too, by setting the far left on high, the middle on medium, and the right side on low or even off.

Once you have your meat on the grill there is one critical thing you should never do: DON'T EVER PRESS DOWN ON THE MEAT WITH A SPATULA!!!  When you press down on the meat you will push out all the juice of the hamburger, so you're hamburger will ALWAYS be dry.  Leave the hamburger alone, use your eyes to start cooking.  When the edges of the down side on the grill start to turn colors then you can flip.  Depending on the thickness of the patty you made and to what wellness you like it cooked it will probably be around four to eight minutes per side.

Once you have flipped your burger, you should see that crust that the salt and pepper created.  After that side cooks for about four minutes I'm going to add cheese to mine.  In this case, I'm using brie cheese.  I like brie on a burger because  it melts really well and the taste won't take over the hamburger.  You can get brie at aldi for $3 compared to larger chains that are going to charge you $6.

To melt the cheese evenly, I shut the lid of the grill so that it becomes like an oven.  Make sure you position the vent holes right over the hamburgers so it draws the smoke and heat right over the burgers.

It takes about a minute to melt the cheese.

Now here is the million dollar question in grilling.  How do you know when meat is done?  For the love of everything beefy, don't cut it.  Instead, use the poke test.  Yep, that's right, take you're finger and poke what your cooking.  Watch the master of grilling!

[youtube pg21EbxVn5k]

Here's me doing it.

When you feel the hamburger is done take the hamburgers off the grill and let them rest.  Never eat anything right off the grill.  You always want to let everything rest after grilling for at least five minutes.  If you cut into meat on the grill or right off the grill, you let all the juices leave whatever you're cooking.  You just did a lot of work to serve really dry food.  As the meat rests from cooking it will hold all those juices better.

What's the finale to great hamburger.  A toasted bun.

This takes no time at all, do NOT walk away from bread on the grill!

So there ya have it, I hope you are able to make the perfect burger!