Everyone enjoys a juicy burger now and again, including vegans who alternate the patties with meat substitutes. But let’s focus on the classic beef hamburgers for this article. We all have our preferences regarding toppings, meat type, and doneness. And most people agree that medium-rare is the perfect temperature to cook a burger for the juiciest taste. But how do you do it, especially when using numerous cooking techniques? Let’s touch on the basics here.
Burger Nutrition Facts
Choosing the Ground Beef
A higher fat ratio in ground beef means more moisture and softness. But you’ll also have to deal with excess grease and the chances of a sticky burger. However, choosing a low-fat ratio means you get more meat for your buck. But you’ll end up with a tougher chew, and the ground beef will be harder to mold.
So, what’s the sweet spot, you ask? The answer is an 80/20 ground beef! This ratio gives you 80% beef and 20% fat, making it much better than the extra-lean 90/10 option. You have enough meat to enjoy in your delicious burgers and enough fat to add moisture and promote shape formation.
Seasoning the Beef
It’s easy to over-season ground beef, so keep your ingredients moderate. Also, avoid overmixing the meat, or the patties will break as they cook. When adding seasoning, ensure to fold the meat over the spices gently. And most burgers work best with a simple combination of ground pepper, minced onions and garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and salt.
Of course, you have the liberty to be creative with your burger’s flavor, so why not do so? Options you can try are soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, and wasabi for an umami hit. Or you can lift the flavor and aroma with herbs like thyme, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, or caraway. Some prefer fresh vegetables and spices in their ground beef, including chopped jalapenos, bell peppers, and chili peppers.
Forming the Patties
When forming the patties, it’s important to consider the size to ensure the doneness is uniform. Measure the seasoned ground beef into equal parts and form them so the edges are at least one-inch thick. Also, let the patties be about an inch larger than the buns, as they’ll shrink during cooking. You should also avoid over-handling the beef so it doesn’t lose binding. Instead, form the patties on a cold tray and make a small dimple at the center.
Cooking the Patties
You can cook patties to medium-rare using the stove, grill, or oven. Here’s how to go about it;
On the Stove- Heat oil in a skillet or pan over high heat till it shimmers, then place the patties and cook for two minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature hits 135F.
On the Grill- Oil the rack and heat the grill to 450F, then add the patties. Flip each burger after two minutes and cook until the internal temperature reaches 135F.
In the Oven- Place the patties on a rack or in a slightly deep pan. Then, preheat the oven to 425F and place the burgers. Cook them for 10 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for another five to 10 minutes. Set the burgers down when the internal temperature reaches 130F.
Tips to Note
- Always start your burgers on a clean grill. Remove gunk and grease from the rack before using.
- Use a meat thermometer for the best doneness time. This helps you prevent overcooking the patties.
- Never press the burgers with a spatula as they cook, or you’ll lose valuable moisture.
- If you’re adding melted toppings like cheese, put them on the patties one minute before the cooking is finished.
- Always rest the burgers for at least one minute before serving.
- Combine the ground beef while cold with the spices and seasonings, except butter. Then, fold the ground beef for 30 to 45 seconds till the mixture incorporates.
- Split the ground beef into six equal parts on a tray, and form each part into a patty of about four inches across and one-inch sides. Make a depression at the center of each patty, so they look somewhat like donuts. Leave them on the tray and cover with film, then keep in the fridge until cooking time.
- Prep the grill to 450 to 500F, which should be if you can hold your hand over the grate for one second. Then, lubricate the grates and butter the inside of the buns. Set the buns close to the grill so they get toasty.
- Cook the burgers on the grill over direct heat for two minutes on one side. Then, flip the patties and grill for another three minutes or until the inside temperature reaches 135F. This is the perfect zone for medium-rare.
- Transfer the patties and buns to a plate and let them rest for one minute. Then, arrange your burgers as desired and serve.
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