Whenever my mother-in-law visits, she requests that we go to her favorite burger place, which happens to be across town. Whenever we suggest trying a new place — a closer place — she asks if it will have a burger with sweet mesquite barbecue sauce on a toasted sourdough bun. To her that is the perfect burger. It’s worth driving across town for… maybe even flying into town for.
So what makes the perfect burger? I believe it’s a trifecta of the best ingredients, the right techniques and a hot grill. (I mean we can all agree the best burgers are grilled, right?) If you’re looking to build a better burger, here’s what you need to know.
Keep the ground meat very cold and handle it as little as possible.
Make the patties much bigger than you would normally (check out our premade burgers in the meat department for examples!) — as the burgers cook they will shrink up significantly. (This doesn’t apply to veggie burgers.)
Use your thumb to make a dent in the center of each patty. This helps the burger from becoming too round when it cooks.
Looking for a shortcut? Start with our grill-ready in-house made burgers. They shrink down to the perfect size.
If you're a fan of melty cheese, add a square to the center of an uncooked burger patty then fold the ground meat around it. The cheese will melt as the burger cooks but remain in the core.
Don't salt the burgers until right before they hit the grill. Salting too early will change the texture of the burgers making them springy instead of tender.
A grilled hamburger is summer casual at its best. It’s an essential summertime meal with minimal effort. Here’s how in four easy steps… no poking, prodding or guesswork required.
Be sure to prepare the grill — oil and clean the grill grates and get the fire nice and hot.
Arrange patties on the grates.
Cook about 4 to 6 minutes until browned on the bottom.
Flip with a spatula and continue to cook to your liking.
Sometimes a classic burger — sliced tomato, thin slices of red onion and lettuce — is just what I need. But other times, I want more. Goat cheese. Raita. Roasted red peppers. Miso ketchup. Chipotle-spiked mayo. Special sauce. Avocado salsa. Caramelized onions. Experimentation is my jam. Here are a few of my favorite combinations.
While some may argue there’s no hamburger like a beef hamburger, I beg to differ. Mushroom, seafood, beans, lentils, ground turkey, chicken or lamb — the delicious world of burgers is big enough for ’em all. Here are a few standouts:
Discover more ideas in our burger recipe collection.