Nothing says summer and the 4th of July like the All-American favorite grill food, the hamburger.
When a burger is done right there is not a better comfort food on the planet. Consumer surveys report that 82% of Americans eat a hamburger once a week. I am sure there must be a hamburger monument somewhere. If fact, Americans are so dedicated to this food that the month of May is National Hamburger Month.
Picture the scene; gathered round the grill with friends or family carrying a man-size appetite. Your mouth waters watching the patty sizzle, smoke and get all juicy as fire meets beef. Then you scoop up the perfect char-grilled, smoky flavored, juicy-inside burger onto a bun. Yum!
With the 4th of July here upon us, let me share some of our hamburger tips.
- First of all, fat is flavor. Use a grind that is 20-25% fat.
- Freshly ground is better. Ask your butcher when the beef was ground or if you intend to go really radical grind your own. I choose chuck (24% fat).
- Keep the beef really cold.
- If you add ingredients to the beef use a spoon to stir so hands do not add heat.
- I like to keep the beef simple and go crazy with condiments. So I only add salt, pepper and a small amount of paprika. Taste varies but 1 teaspoon of kosher or coarse sea salt to every pound of meat seems to be about right for us. Do not over mix.
- Handle as little as possible when making the patties. I divide the beef into 1/3-1/2 lb balls and gently smash with plate. Gentle handling makes tender burgers.
- Use lump charcoal and no lighter fluid.
- When using lean meats, add a bit of chilled wine, minced onions, olives or blueberries to keep the patties moist and flavorful.
- Place patties directly over the heat source if you want them well charred on the outside and moist and juicy inside.
- Do Not press down on the patties with a spatula during cooking to keep in the juices.
- Avoid overcooking.
- Let the burgers rest under a foil tent for a few minutes for the juices to redistribute.
- Lightly grill you bun and add all sorts of fun stuff between the bun to suit your taste and personality.
Enjoy your 4th of July making memories along with the food and fun.