The cheeseburger is an American culinary icon, and anyone who fires up a grill needs a recipe that honors that status. A good cheeseburger is a pleasure, but a great cheeseburger is an experience, and these tips will show you how to make the best.
Choose the Best Meat & Make Good-Sized Patties
The fat-to-lean ratio of the meat is critical for a juicy burger; equal parts ground chuck and ground sirloin consistently deliver the best balance of flavor and fat. If you want a deeper, richer, beefier flavor, buy grass-fed beef. Gently shape the meat into patties just until they hold together, and make them thick enough so they will pick up a grill flavor without overcooking. They should weigh about 1/3 pound and measure 1 inch thick.
Prevent a “Swollen Belly”
Make an indentation in the center of each patty with your thumb. This prevents the “swollen belly” syndrome: burgers that are not as juicy as they should be and are puffed up and smaller than you intended.
Cool Down the Patties & Heat up the Fire
Chill your patties in the refrigerator – a half hour is good, and an hour is even better – before you grill them. They will hold together better over the fire and cook more evenly. A burger picks up caramelized flavor when it hits a sizzling-hot grill, so start with a hot fire. You can always adjust the heat afterward.
Don’t Press Burgers & Do Toast Buns
Never press down on a burger with a spatula when it is on the grill. All that does is push out all the flavorful juices. Give the buns a quick toasting on the grill – this simple step will help boost the burgers’ quality by a mile.
Don’t Overdo the Condiments
Let the cheese and the burger shine. Try a little mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup, a tomato slice and thinly sliced onions; caramelize them if you have the time.