There’s an art to making a really good burger - one that’s properly seasoned, not overcooked, has a good bun to burger ratio, and just the right ingredients. Here are 6 basic tips to grilling and assembling the perfect All-American burger.
Tip 1: You Want Fat
Fat equals flavor, so be sure your meat has at least 20% fat. Not only will your burger be full of flavor but it will stay nice and juicy!
Tip 2: Season
You don't need to get fancy with seasonings. All that's required is salt and pepper, but don't skimp on either. You want your burger full of flavor, not lightly seasoned.
Tip 3: Be Gentle and Keep It Loose
Don’t overwork the meat. Gently mix in your seasonings then form your patties quickly, but don’t pack them too tightly or you’ll end up with a meat hockey puck. Form a loose ball about the size of a tennis ball. Loosely shape into a patty, then make a dent in the center of your patty. This will create a more uniformly shaped burger once cooked, as opposed to one that bulges in the center.
Tip 4: Grill It Fast and High
Use high heat on your grill and cook your patties as fast as possible with the lid open. Place patties on the hottest part of the grill and sear them for about 5-6 minutes (depending on thickness). Flip them just once and cook for another 3-4 minutes. DO NOT flatten the patties with your spatula, that will just squeeze out all those precious juices and lead to that hockey puck-like burger we mentioned above. Take the patties off the grill just before you think they’re done and let them rest for about 3-5 minutes (they’ll continue to cook off the grill) while you toast the buns.
Tip 5: The Perfect Bun
There’s nothing worse than a bun that’s too big for your burger and your mouth. If your bun is too tall, simply pinch out some of the bread from the top bun. We love brioche, French and potato buns which are all nice and soft, but a good ole sesame seed bun works great too. Regardless of your bun, throw them on the grill for about 30 seconds to get them nice and toasty before assembling your burgers.
Tip 6: The All-American Toppings
If it’s a classic American burger you’re going for then you need only a few basic ingredients. We’re not aiming for fancy ingredients like bacon jam and smoked paprika ketchup; those ingredients have their place on gourmet burgers. All you need for the All-American burger is American cheese, mayo, mustard, ketchup, pickles, sliced onions, sliced tomatoes and lettuce (preferably iceberg).
Serve them single or double with a side of French fries!