How to Make a Perfect Burger

Few things go together quite as well as hamburgers and summertime. Whether you are grilling in your backyard or firing up a picnic grill after a day on the lake, knowing how to make the perfect burger is essential. Once you’ve mastered a few simple steps, you will impress your fellow eaters all season. Here is how.

Choose Good Meat

The type of meat you use to make the burgers plays a tremendous role in how the burgers turn out. When you are shopping for the ground beef, look for meat that is marked 80/20: 80% lean, 20% fat. This gives you the very juicy burgers that are loaded with flavor. For a grill, this is extra important, since the fat drips down through the grates. Simple ground chuck works fine, but you can always use a combination of ground brisket or sirloin.

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Mix Gently

For a basic burger, you only need a few ingredients mixed with the meat: water, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. For four burgers, mix a teaspoon of Worcestershire, 1 cup of water, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a bowl. Then, gently combine two pounds of ground meat. The key here is to be gentle. Over mixing causes tough burgers. Divide the mixture into four balls, flatten into one-inch thick discs, and chill.

Preheat Your Grill

Just like when you cook with an oven inside, you need your grill to be preheated to the right temperature before you even think about putting the burgers on. This ensures they cook properly, rather than slowly which can give you raw insides and cooked outsides. Oil your grill’s grates and light your coals. Don’t worry about making an indirect heat side of the grill – you want the entire grill to produce high heat.

Place the burgers on the grill grate. Cook for about four minutes; they should be slightly charred. Turn the burgers over, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and cook for four minutes longer. Remove the burgers to a reserved plate. If you want to toast your buns, throw them on the grills now, then serve your perfectly grilled burgers!

Liz Childers writes about things you can do on your summer picnic for Picnic World.

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