Burgers Revisited

Sometimes there is nothing better than a freshly grilled burger; juicy, savory, meaty goodness covered with your favor toppings, and all wrapped up in a freshly baked bun. Burgers are no longer just fast food… they’ve reached gourmet status, and we’re going to show you how to make them spectacular.

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What Meat is Best?


Beef

  • 80%(lean) to 20%(fat) is the best ratio. You need the fat to have a juicy burger, so don’t skimp on it!
     
  • Our recommendation… grind it yourself! If you don’t have a grinder, pick out a nice marbled piece of meat and ask your butcher to grind it for you. Chuck and short ribs work well! It only takes a few minutes longer, and the flavor is far superior! 
     
  • There are some things you should know when purchasing prepackaged ground meat. According to the USDA guidelines. “Beef fat may be added to hamburger, but not ground beef. A maximum of 30% fat is allowed in either hamburger or ground beef. Both hamburger and ground beef can have seasonings, but no water, phosphates, extenders, or binders added. Ground beef is usually not graded, so you will not get the best quality meat when it’s prepackaged. Also, prepackaged hamburger can be made of multiple animals and multiple cuts of meat, which can have a negative effect on the flavor.
     
  • If ground beef is produced at a USDA-inspected plant, it will have a USDA establishment number on the package -- "EST." followed by a number. If you don't see an "EST." number, ask the store about its source for ground beef.

 

Burgers Revisted


Other Meats

  • Ground bison
  • Ground turkey
  • Ground chicken
  • Ground pork
  • Ground lamb
  • Chopped bacon/beef blend
  • Sausage/beef blend
     
  • Remember, no matter what type of meat you choose, make sure there is sufficient fat -- at least 15%. Some of these choices tend to be very lean, so you may need to add some fat to make the burgers work.


Burger Construction

  • Start with cold meat when making your patty. This keeps the fat intact, and your burger will be juicier.
     
  • The optimal thickness for a burger is one inch. This allows the meat to sear well on the outside and cook all the way through without burning. If you make your burgers thicker than 1 inch, make sure you cook over a 2-zone fire.
     
  • Don’t overwork the meat, and try not to compress it when shaping the patty. This affects texture by causing the meat to overbind and tighten up, creating a meatloaf consistency.
     
  • Make sure the patty size fits the size of the bun you’re serving. Make it just a little wider, because there will be some shrinkage while it cooks.
     
  • Make a ½ inch deep indentation in the middle of each patty to keep the burger from puffing up while cooking.
     
  • Salt and pepper are usually all you need if you’re using good quality meat. Use it liberally to cover the outside of the burger just before you put it on the grill.


Burger Add Ins

  • If you’re going for a spicy burger, mix the seasonings into the meat before you shape the patty. Just be careful not to overwork the meat.
     
  • Stuff it with cheese -- blue, cheddar, or your favorite!
     
  • Inject the raw burger with brine or marinade, but don’t go too crazy with the spices. You want the flavor of the meat to shine through.
     
  • Inject the raw burger with butter… need we say more?


Burgers Revisted


Grilling the Burger

  • Prepare a 2-zone fire and preheat the grill to high. Use the indirect heat zone to help with flare-ups and to hold burgers that get done first. Some may cook faster than others due to variations in temperature across the grill grate.
     
  • Cook the burger hot and fast over direct high heat.
     
  • Flip burgers often to help them cook evenly throughout, but don’t press down on the meat! This pushes out juices and makes the burgers dry.
     
  • Cook the burger until it reaches 140℉ for medium or 160℉ for well done. The USDA recommends cooking ground meat to 160℉ to avoid foodborne illness. You should always check the internal temperature with a good quality
    instant read thermometer.
     
  • For extra flavor and caramelization, brush the burger with melted butter while grilling.
     
  • If you are using a sweet sauce to on the burger while cooking, add it during the last few minutes to keep it from burning. Sauces without sugar can be added earlier.


Buns

  • Fresh buns are a must, and homemade buns put burgers over the top. If you don’t have time to bake, purchase buns from your local bakery. The texture of the bun can make or break your burger!
     
  • Brush the cut side of the buns with soft butter and grill before serving, making sure they toast up to a beautiful golden brown.
     
  • Use fresh rye bread and make a patty melt.
     
  • Use warmed Naan and add hummus and tzatziki sauce for a Middle Eastern twist.
     
  • Use fresh baked brioche buns -- great texture.
     
  • Use fresh baked baguettes for a banh mi sandwich.
     
  • English muffins add lots of texture.
     
  • Thick cut Texas Toast works great for an alternative, but make sure you toast it!


Burger Add Ons

  • Cheese -- any type, any combination. Put the cheese on the burger just before you take it off the grill so the cheese can melt. 
     
  • Classic Toppings: lettuce, onion, tomato, bacon, and pickles. 
     
  • Grill Beast Hacks: pineapple, grilled vegetables, kimchi, guacamole, caramelized onions, crispy shallots, sauteed mushrooms, chili, pimento cheese, sunny side up egg, hot peppers, relishes, sauteed green peppers, sauteed jalapeno peppers, pickled onions, grilled poblano peppers, fried green tomatoes, bacon jam, tomato jam, pepperoni, cole slaw, candied bacon, and fried onion rings. Be creative and let your taste buds be your guide.


Condiments

  • Classic Condiments: mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard.
     
  • Grill Beast Hacks: thousand island dressing, herbed mayonnaise, flavored mayonnaise (like Sriracha, wasabi, or garlic), ranch dressing, teriyaki sauce, flavored catsups (like chipotle or fire roasted tomato), buffalo wing sauce, steak sauce, flavored mustards, Italian dressing, horseradish sauce, barbecue sauce, Russian dressing, Korean barbecue sauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce, tzatziki sauce, pesto, chimichurri sauce, and hummus. Again, let your imagination guide you to your unique masterpiece.


Korean Barbecue Burgers with Kimchi Slaw and Marti’s Spicy Mayo

These burgers bring together fantastic flavors to take your burger experience to the next level.


What You’ll Need
1½ lbs freshly ground short ribs (or ground chuck)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Korean Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)
Kimchi Slaw (recipe follows)
Marti’s Chili Mayo (recipe follows)
4 large brioche buns, sliced


Keep the meat in the refrigerator until ready to make the patties. Divide the meat into four portions and gently roll into balls. Press the balls into 1 inch thick patties, being careful not to overwork the meat. Liberally cover both sides with salt and pepper. Press your thumb into the center of each patty and make a dent approximately ½ inch deep.

Set up the grill for two zone cooking and preheat it to high. Place the cold burgers on the grill with the indention facing upward. Grill the burgers for approximately 5 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reaches 155℉ on a good quality instant read thermometer.

Remove the burgers from the grill and brush heavily on both side with some warm barbecue sauce. Let the burgers rest. Lower the heat of the grill to medium low. Brush the cut sides of the buns lightly with softened butter, place the buns over medium low direct heat, and let them toast approximately 2 minutes, watching closely so they don’t burn. Serve the burgers with spicy mayo, Korean Barbecue Sauce, and kimchi slaw.


Korean Barbeque Sauce

¾ cup tamari or soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced or microplaned
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger -- use a microplane
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons chili paste
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
⅓ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 scallion, chopped, green part included
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
3 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water


In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, combine the tamari (or soy sauce), brown sugar, garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, mirin, chili paste, pepper, sesame oil, scallion, sesame seeds and pepper flakes with a whisk until well incorporated. Heat the sauce over medium heat until it comes to a slow boil. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bow. Once the sauce is boiling, stir in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to heat over medium heat until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly to keep it from scorching. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for one week. Before adding the sauce to the burgers, warm it.

Note from the Grill Beast: This Korean Barbecue Sauce is fantastic on almost anything! Use it on chicken, pork chops, and as a drizzle for Korean tacos. We even love it on fries.


Kimchi Slaw

3½ cups finely chopped Napa cabbage
1½ cups kimchi -- chopped
⅓ cup good quality mayonnaise
1 tablespoon agave
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 thinly sliced scallions
Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the cabbage and let it sit for at least 4 hours before serving. This slaw is great on burgers and as a topping for Korean Barbecue Tacos.


Marti’s Spicy Mayo

1 cup good quality mayo
½ cup chili sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 scallion, finely chopped, green part included
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons hot chili flakes (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon agave
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients together. This sauce is great on burgers, sandwiches, and as drizzle for Korean tacos.


Share Your Favorite Burgers!

We would love to hear all about your favorite burger creations! Join the Grill Beast VIP Facebook Group, and let us know what’s cooking at your house!  Go here to sign up for our Facebook VIP Group. Click “join” and be ready for some great interaction. This group is exclusive to VIP Members, so register to become a VIP if you haven't already by clicking here. We can’t wait to hear from you!