Thick, juicy burgers off the barbecue go hand in hand with summertime. Here are some pointers for grilling hamburgers.
Summer would not be complete without juicy burgers grilled on the barbecue. But if you find your hamburgers mediocre, here are some tips to make sure your patties come out so delicious, your neighbours will ask for repeat invites to your backyard barbecues.
Use the best grade of meat you can afford
If your budget allows, go to a butcher and have your beef freshly ground. Ideally you want a meat to fat ratio of about 80/20. Also try to get organic, grass-fed beef if you can. You can, of course, make tasty burgers from meat bought at the supermarket counter. Just don’t go for the leanest ground beef, though; fat gives the meat flavour, so medium ground beef will fare better than the lean version.
Handle the meat sparingly
Sometimes we get too caught up with making perfectly shaped burgers — rolling, balling and flattening the meat to get the right size and shape — but all this handling of the meat will make your burgers tough. Do be sure to indent the centre of the patty, though; when the burger cooks and expands, this small depression will ensure it ends up being a flat patty rather than a domed one.
Let the grill heat up fully
Before you place your burgers on the grill, make sure it’s at the right temperature. Having the grill at a high heat will sear the exterior of the patties and seal in the juices. Plus, the searing will give the outside a nice flavour and an appealing grilled colour too.
Leave your burgers untouched as they grill
For some reason, many of us think we should push down on the patty with our spatula while it’s grilling. Perhaps we once saw an ill-trained TV chef do it, or we simply feel the need to do something when standing in front of the barbecue. But pushing down on the patty will make all the tasty juices pour out of it, leaving you with a dry, tasteless puck.
Let the patties rest a couple of minutes
Before you bite into your burger, let it rest off the grill for a few minutes. If you eat it right away, the juice will come out on your first bite rather than leaving its delicious flavour throughout the patty.