Bloomberg has a list of seven things you should never, ever grill. While some of them I agree with (pizza and filet mignon, for example), the last one on the list is an affront to everything that’s good and tasty in the world:
You’re grilling the wrong things. That burger there? If you want the best, juiciest, well-seared beef, take that patty off the grates, argues chef Daniel Herget, of Little Octopus in Nashville, Tennessee.
Reasoning: “Burgers should be cooked on a plancha, full stop. Grilling them allows the fat that renders off the meat to be lost, instead of helping to create a heavily caramelized crust on the outside of your beloved burger.”
Give me a break. Here’s a tip for you: Never take burger advice from a guy with “Little Octopus” after his name. His hipster Nashville restaurant serves weird stuff like grilled cactus leaf with red onion and fermented coconut, so what could he possibly know about a hearty 100% certified Angus beef burger? (Who eats cactus leaf anyway? Lizards in the desert, that’s who.)
I’ll let you in on the Bolyard family burger recipe: The secret is in the meat. It absolutely has to be fresh — frozen absolutely will not do. (We get ours from a local meat packing company; it doesn’t get much fresher.) Ground chuck (80 percent lean) is best for burgers (anything leaner and your burgers will be too dry. If you use ground beef, which has a higher fat content, your burgers will shrivel away to nothing).
The first step is to add some Worcestershire sauce to the meat (a trick I learned from the chef at Johnny’s Little Bar and Grill in Cleveland). I make my patties about 1/2 – 3/4″ thick and (this is important) press down in the middle with my thumb to make an indentation. This little trick ensures that you don’t get a raw spot in the middle when cooking. It’s important that you pack your burgers loosely. You’re not making hockey pucks here. Don’t fiddle with them. If you press them together too much they’ll be chewy and have an unpleasant texture. I season mine with kosher salt, a generous helping of cracked pepper, and a light dusting of Accent seasoning. And that’s it. No need to dress the meat up with fillers — you want the meat to be the star.
Next, I hand them off to my husband, who tosses them on the grill. (Our sons surprised him a new Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 450 grill for Father’s Day that he plans to take for a test-drive this week.) DO NOT SQUISH THEM DOWN WITH THE SPATULA. You always see people doing this on TV, but it’s the worst thing you can do for a burger because it squeezes all the good juices out of them, resulting in a dry burger. Give the burger a good sear on one side and then flip it when it’s about halfway done. You only need to flip it one time and then cook until it reaches the desired temperature (you can use a meat thermometer or eyeball it if you’re an experienced pro).Our first house had a little postage stamp lot and my husband used to mow while he was grilling burgers. He’d throw them on, mow the front yard, flip, then mow the backyard, and the burgers were finished —perfect every time. The man had it down to a science.
Our first house had a sweet little postage stamp lot and my husband used to mow while he was grilling burgers. He’d throw them on, mow the front yard, flip, then mow the backyard, and the burgers were finished —perfect every time. The man had it down to a science.
There’s no need for anyone to eat cactus leaves — ever. Unlike the lizards, we’ve got opposable thumbs (except maybe chameleons? I’ll have to think about that…). So fire up the grill this weekend and enjoy a delicious burger with all your favorite toppings! (And let me know any tips you have in the comments section.)