Want to make the best burgers on the block?
Memorial Day weekend is almost here. And whether you love to celebrate with your family or just kick back in the backyard with a few friends, there’s nothing quite like the sizzle of burgers on the grill to make it feel like summertime.
In fact, here are 10 burger basics and best-kept secrets for your first cook-out of the season!
10 Ways to Make the Best Burgers
1. Go with 80/20 Ground Beef. Now I know this is hard for us who are typically “93% lean” shoppers. But when it comes to burgers, choosing beef with a slightly higher fat content is worth the splurge. It results in much juicier burgers - plus, they’ll hold together better, too.
2. Make a Thumbprint in Your Patties. Using your thumb, press down in the center of each burger patty to keep them from plumping up in the center. You’ll always end up with the exact shape you want once they’re done cooking!
3. Mix Up Your Meats. For extra flavor, try mixing 1 pound of ground beef with ½ pound of uncooked chopped bacon or ground chorizo. It can add the perfect touch of smoky-salty sweetness to your burgers.
And who says you have to stick with ground beef on burger night? Ground pork, turkey or black bean burgers can be amazing, too.
4. Don’t Skip the Seasonings. I love to season our burger patties with a little kosher salt and Garlic Pepper Seasoning. But some nights we go for bolder steakhouse flavor with Ultimate Steak Seasoning. Both are delicious!
5. Only Flip Once. I know, I know, but resist the urge. Wait until a slight crust forms on your patty, usually after about 4 minutes, and then flip. (If you do it sooner, the meat may fall apart and lose its shape.)
6. Get Cheesy. Havarti. Brie. Swiss. Pepper Jack. Smoked Cheddar. Have fun with it! Don’t be afraid to mix a couple different slices, too.
During the last minute of cooking, add your cheese of choice to your burgers. Carefully add a small splash of water, and close your grill or cover your pan for 30 seconds. The steam will help quickly and evenly melt the cheese every time!
7. Add a Little Crunch. Doesn’t it always seem like the best burgers have a tangle of different textures and flavors? Case in point: these delicious Smokehouse BBQ Burgers are topped with crispy, thick-cut peppered bacon and a sprinkle of onion strings.
Of course, you can always try other crispy toppings on your burgers like crunchy slaw, pickles, you name it – even a few potato chips.
8. Get Saucy. Forget ordinary ketchup and mustard. Turn your burgers up a notch with a dollop or drizzle of deliciousness. Our family’s all-time favorites are Smoky Bacon BBQ Sauce and Bayou Bourbon Glaze. For Buffalo-style burgers, we love Garlic Parmesan Wing Sauce with blue cheese crumbles, too!
9. Don’t Forget Fresh Veggies … Even Fruit! We all know the classics, from juicy tomatoes to grilled mushrooms. But try peppery arugula or mixed greens in place of traditional lettuce. Swap out mayo with heart-healthy avocado slices. And don’t forget zippy options like thinly sliced jalapenos and onions.
You can even top teriyaki burgers with grilled pineapple slices, or grate fresh apple into ground pork patties before cooking.
10. And Last But Not Least, Be Adventurous. This weekend I made these new Sweet Jalapeño Popper Burgers, inspired by a burger on the menu at our neighborhood brewery and pub.
Loaded with smoky bacon, sweet-tangy jalapeño jam and a schmear of cream cheese on soft brioche buns, these juicy burgers are absolutely delicious. You can add a few fresh sliced jalapeños if you like ‘em spicy!
Happy grilling, friends!