Covered with toppings or “naked” with nothing at all, grilling the perfect burger is the key to a successful cookout. Burgers are a staple at family gatherings and large celebrations alike. But, if you’ve ever had a terrible burger, you know that there’s a trick to getting it right.
Should you be using a certain type of meat for your burgers? How should they be cooked? What about toppings or storing them? As you see, there are a lot of factors to consider with burgers.
If you want to grill a perfect burger and avoid creating bad ones, don’t leave anything to chance. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.
Mistake #1 — Using Meat That’s Too Lean
It might seem like a good idea to use the leanest cut of meat for your burgers. After all, that would be a healthier choice. But it won’t be very tasty. The best burgers are juicy, which requires some fat content. And leaner meat is also lacking in flavor. For the best-tasting burger, choose a cut of beef that is 80% lean and 20% fat.
Mistake #2 — Overhandling Your Burgers
Hamburger meat isn’t that delicate. But it is possible to over handle it to the point that you destroy the texture of the meat, making it too tough. When creating your patties, gently mix them with your hands. Never use an electric mixer.
Mistake #3 — Letting Raw Patties Get Warm
If you enjoy your burgers with some pink still in the middle, avoid letting raw patties sit outside the fridge too long before cooking. Patties should be cold (not frozen) when placed on the grill to get the best results.
Mistake #4 — Getting Too Fancy With Your Seasonings
Everyone loves standard burgers. And it may be tempting to stuff them with all types of seasonings, sauces, and cheeses. Some of these creations might turn out fine. Others will be too salty. Instead, get more creative with your toppings, such as bleu cheese or ranch dressing.
Mistake #5 — Not Making a Dimple in the Burger
The last thing you want is for your burgers to dome up in the middle or shrink to half their original size after cooking. You can avoid this common mistake by making a dimple in the middle before cooking. Just use your fingers to press down into the center of the patty.
Mistake #6 — Not Preheating Your Grill
To get delicious hamburgers that you and your guests will love, give your grill time to heat up before you start cooking. The concept is the same whether you use a gas, electric, or charcoal grill. You need a warm surface and hot grates to cook a burger properly.
Mistake #7 — Tending Too Much
Stop messing with the burgers when they are on the grill. You’re not doing your burger any favors by moving it around, or turning it multiple times. Just place the burger on the grill and don’t touch it. Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes (depending on size and level of doneness) then flip only once to finish cooking, never pressing down on the burger. Your burger will come out much juicier this way!
Mistake #8 — Encouraging Grill Flare-Ups
Grill flare-ups might look cool, but they are terrible for your burger. Avoid flattening your burger with a spatula, which pushes out all the delicious juices and causes flare-ups. Instead, flip your burger sparingly and let the grill do its work.
Mistake #9 — Forgetting About the Buns
A good bun will carry your burger to the finish line. So don’t make your buns an afterthought. Consider options like pretzel, brioche, and potato buns to elevate your dining experience.
Mistake #10 — Letting Burgers Rest
Timing is everything when you’re cooking burgers. The most delicious ones are served fresh off the grill, so there are still warm juices that can run down your chin after taking a bite. That said, avoid the temptation to cook a ton of burgers, only to let them sit on a table waiting for mealtime. If they sit too long, your platter will hold all the juices that have leaked from your burgers.
Get the Best Cuts of Meat at Nick’s of Calvert
Now that you know how to grill the perfect burger by avoiding some common mistakes, it’s time to go shopping for the ideal cut of meat. Nick’s of Calvert is your local grocer that offers the highest quality products at the most affordable prices. Nick’s has been a staple in the community for over half a century.
Our full-service meat counter is the centerpiece of our store, providing the freshest cuts of meats for your next cookout. And if you need assistance with your selection, we’d be happy to help. Visit us today or give us a call at (410) 414-7105.