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Grill A Better Burger

Tasty burgers aren’t just made, they are created with love. If you love hamburgers as much as I do, you know what I’m talking about. I have two simple criteria for tasty burgers – great flavor and juiciness. Here are a few of my best burger recipes with secrets for making tasty burgers every time:

Use 80% to 85% lean meat.

To achieve that full juicy potential in your burgers, look for beef labeled 80 to 85% lean. Leaner meat (90% lean beef or higher) will make your hamburgers dry out quickly and crumble.

Flavor the meat.

Here are a few ideas I’ve used over the years that will make basic burgers go from bland to bold in no time:

Flavored Burger Add to 1 pound of ground beef:
Plain Burger ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Savory Burgers ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Mesquite Burgers 1 tablespoon mesquite seasoning
Onion Burgers ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup finely chopped onions
Chili Burgers ½ teaspoon salt
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
Chipotle Burgers 2 (1 tablespoon) chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Spanish Burgers 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped stuffed green olives
1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
Taco Burgers 1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
Italian Burgers ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoons Italian seasoning

The Secret to Shaping Burgers.

 

When it comes to handling the burger, remember: less is more. The more you handle the meat, the tougher in texture the burger will be.

First, gently incorporate the seasonings into the meat. You can use a spoon, but I prefer my fingertips. Divide the meat into the number of burgers you would like to make. One pound of meat is equal to about 4 burgers. Next, begin shaping your burger by forming into a loose ball. Gently flatten the burger until it is about ½ inch thick.

A friend of mine who owns a restaurant taught me a trick to keep your burgers from ending up looking like round baseballs. After you form the patty, use your thumb to put an indent in the center. When the burger cooks, the center does not puff up and turn your burger into a ball.

Ready. Set. Grill.

Make sure your grill is hot, and place the burgers on the hottest part of the grill. Resist the urge to flatten the burgers with your spatula, because doing so will release all of the juices.  Flip your burgers only once, grilling each side for about 6 to 7 minutes. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F or until the meat is no longer pink in center.

Try our recipe for Spanish Burgers.

Topping It Off.

Burger toppings make a good burger great! If you only do one thing to top your burger, top it with a slice of American cheese about 2 to 3 minutes before the burger is done cooking. It is an easy way to add extra flavor. If you’re more adventurous, the possibilities for gourmet burger toppings are endless. Some of my favorite finishing touches are salsa, avocado or guacamole, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, grilled eggplant and bacon.

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    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.


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