A palate-altering burger must possess three vital traits.
First, it must be barbecued. Obviously.
Second, it must have a chin-drippingly juicy interior and a satisfying crust.
Last, it must be simple. You can muck around with flavours when you top your burger, but first master the basics—choosing the beef and forming the patty. We spent weeks perfecting the craft. Here are the results.
STEP 1: DEPEND ON CHUCK
Every butcher we consulted for this story pointed us to 100 per cent ground chuck—specifically from a boneless blade roast. This is because the blade roast tends to be more marbled with delectable intramuscular fat than, say, a shoulder roast would. You’re going to need one kilogram of chuck blade roast to make eight burgers. Order accordingly.
STEP 2: GRIND IT OUT
Grinding your own meat lets you control what goes into your burger. You can have a butcher grind it, you can grind it yourself using a food processor, or—for the juiciest burger with the best bite—you can use a real grinder.
1. Cut the beef into 2cm cubes, place them on a baking sheet, and freeze them for 25 minutes. That way the meat won’t turn gummy in the grinder.
2. Fill a bowl with 2 tsp each of sea salt, ground black pepper and dried minced onion; these reinforce the beefy flavour.
3. Feed a few cubes through the grinder, followed by a pinch of the spices. Repeat. Burgers are best with the spices ground in.
STEP 3: SHAPE THE PATTIES
The key is minimal handling; too much packing yields a tough burger. Gently form the meat into a 150g ball (think tennis ball) and then flatten it to slightly wider than your bun. (It’ll shrink.) Do this shortly before grilling. Room-temp patties are juicier and contract less than cold ones.
STEP 4: GRILL WITH PATIENCE
Too many well-made burgers are ruined by being manhandled on the grill. The secret to a meaty burger with a good bite: doing nothing. Put the patties on a hot BBQ and then step back. Don’t press on them with a spatula. Don’t shuffle them around the grate. Don’t close the BBQ lid. Our repeated tests showed that the burger patties we flipped just once developed a better outer crust and juicier centre than burgers we flipped frequently.
1. Wipe the grate with an oiled paper towel. Place the meat over direct medium-high heat. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
2. After 5 minutes, flip. Wait 3 more, or until done to your specs.
3. A burger will tell you when it’s done. See the blood and juice seeping through the surface? Translation: “Eat me!”
STEP 5: PILE ON THE TOPPINGS
First, toast the buns to reinforce structural integrity. Next spread a protective fat layer on the bun (butter, mayo) to prevent sogginess. Finally, build within reason. Try to hit as many textures and flavours as possible. We like these combos.
|Salty||Bacon||Chopped cornichons||Potato chips||Pesto|
|Tangy||Red onion, dill pickle slices||Dijon mustard||n/a||Tomato slice|
|Sweet||Tomato sauce||Caramelised onions||BBQ sauce||n/a|
|Gooey||American cheese||Gruyere||Cheddar cheese||n/a|
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health.