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Kitchen Tip: How to Make Perfect Burgers

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This post is a part of Heinen’s Kitchen Tips and Techniques series designed to give everyone the skills and confidence they need to make any recipe. Videos, photographs and descriptions were provided by Heinen’s partner, Chef Billy Parisi. 

Get outside and fire up those grills because this burger making method is fool-proof!

What Meat to Use When Making Homemade Burgers

When it comes to making any burger, it all starts with the meat. I like a ratio of 80% lean to 20% fat, but  choose whatever you and your family like most, like 85% to 15% or 90% to 10%. When making your selection, remember that higher fat content results in more flavor, but it also means that the fat will cook out causing the burger to shrink.

How to Shape Burgers

The general size for burger patties is between 4 and 6 ounces, but the size can be adjusted based on your preference.

The trick to shaping patties is to make them flat. There’s nothing worse than having a big bun with a meatball-size patty in the center. Don’t worry if it looks too flat, it’s going to puff up and shrink in when it cooks. The goal is for the patty to cover the bun.

Next, press down in the center of the patties with your thumb to form a little valley, then season the patties with salt and pepper on the top side.

How to Grill Burgers

Before placing the patties on the grill, ensure that it is between 450°F and 550°F. This will allow the burgers to cook to the desired internal temperature and develop a nice char on the outside.

As soon as you lay the meat on the grill, place an ice cube in the center indent of each patty. This will help ensure that the burgers remain moist and tender because as it’s losing fat, the water on the top with help re-hydrate the meat.

Cook the patties for about 4 minutes per side, closing the door each time you flip to allow the smoky flavors to get into the burgers.

There you have it! You’ve officially made perfectly-shaped and beautifully-charred burgers on the grill! That wasn’t so hard.

But what it if you don’t have a grill, or it’s raining and you can’ get outside? I’ve got you covered with this method for cooking burgers in a cast iron skillet or on a flattop grill.

How to Cook Burgers on the Stove

The trick with this method it to make the patties even flatter than the ones made for the grill because they’re going to lose a lot of moisture and shrink up.

Place a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop over medium heat and add a little oil. Next, place the burgers in the skillet and cook for 2-2 1/2 minutes per side. The goal is to get a nice brown sear on the outside and reach the desired temperature in the middle.

Now it’s time to assemble!

How to Assemble a Burger

Start with a toasted bun on the bottom followed by lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced onion and sliced pickle. I like to add of these typical “toppings” to the bottom of the burger to help protect the bottom bun from the cooked patty. Burgers are juicy, and no one wants a soggy bun, so placing the toppings on the bottom makes a great barrier.

Next, add the cooked patty, your favorite cheese, the top bun and you are finished!

These two methods are fantastic for making burgers! If it’s hot outside and that grill is calling your name, fire it up! If it’s rainy, dreary or even winter, get that cast-iron skillet going and you will make beautiful burgers every single time.

How to Make Perfect Burgers

Kitchen Tip: How to Make Perfect Burgers

Kitchen Tip: How to Make Perfect Burgers

Chef Billy Parisi

By Chef Billy Parisi

Chef Billy Parisi is a culinary school grad who spent 15 years in the restaurant industry as a line cook, sous chef and executive chef. Now he develops, photographs and films simple and delicious recipes that will make everyone feel like a chef in their own kitchen.

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