Sometimes nothing beats a properly grilled burger, simply done, with fresh farmer’s market toppings and a toasted bun. Throw in a mashed potato or some homemade fries and/or a little salad, and you’ll have something good—and healthy! Burgers don’t have to be junk food.
Burgers are simple, so why do they sometimes go wrong? Here’s a few tips:
- Keep it dry: ground beef, like all meat, should be patted dry as much as possible before searing on the grill. It helps get it nice and brown.
- The right meat: use good quality ground chuck, 80% lean.
- Use good cheese and fresh, flavorful toppings.
- Keep it cold: ground meat likes to be kept cold. Refrigerate the meat and douse your hands in ice water before forming the patties.
- Heat the grill well: pre-heat and clean the grill well before cooking.
- Keep the lid down: this prevents flaring and evenly cooks the burgers.
- Don’t poke, don’t prod, and don’t squish the burgers during cooking.
This cheeseburger, an adaptation from several recipes, is our regular go-to burger because it’s easily made with stuff around the house. There are far fancier burgers out there, but this is a great starting point. Serve with a nice amber ale, lager, or red wine on the lighter side.
For four burgers.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80% lean)
- 1 teaspoon ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 mild jalapeno, deseeded and minced.
- 4 thin slices Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
- 4 hamburger buns
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 4 tomato slices
- In a bowl, gently combine the beef and seasoning ingredients. Shape into 4 patties, each about 3/4 inch thick.
- Grill the patties over direct high heat until medium, 8 minutes, turning once. During the last minute of grilling, place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt.
- Toast the hamburger buns, cut side down on the grill. Assemble the cheeseburgers with lettuce and tomato, and serve with condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayo and hot sauce.
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