12 Ways to Make Your Burger Taste Even Better
Your burgers will be the star of every backyard cookout!
Nothing says “summer” better than a burger sizzling on the grill! (Learn how to host the best-ever summer grilling get-together here). And you definitely can’t go wrong with our top-rated burgers. Read on for ways to make ’em all even better, including a handful of unexpected ideas.
Pick the Right Meat
It seriously makes all the difference! Pick up a special blend (say, 50% chuck and 50% sirloin or something with bacon trimmings) to get a unique flavor and texture. You’ll want to avoid the pre-packaged stuff—stop by your butcher instead.
Pro tip: If you ask nicely, many butchers will ground your preferred cut of meat on the spot.
Look for the Perfect Ratio of Meat to Fat
For well-cooked burgers, go with 75% meat to 25% fat, because they’ll be cooked longer and you don’t want a tough burger. For most people, an 80% / 20% balance is just right.
Don’t Overwork the Mix
For a moist burger, don’t overhandle the meat before cooking. If you add seasonings to the beef, gently mix them in with two forks until just combined. Then shape into 4-in. round patties about 1/2-in. thick (beef plumps when it cook).
Add a Secret Ingredient
Even the right cuts of meat can get a touch dry. The best burgers have help from a secret ingredient (such as a dollop of mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream) that packs in moisture and flavor.
This All-American Cheeseburger uses lots of surprising things to stay juicy!
Drop in Some Peanut Butter
Another way to add some extra moisture to your burgers is to mix in a spoonful of peanut butter. Not only will this add some Georgia flavor, but the oil in the peanut butter will keep the patty super-succulent.
Don’t Salt Too Early
Do not add any salt to your ground beef mixture if you’re going to be forming your burgers ahead of time. Salt breaks down the beef protein causing the inside of your burger to become sticky and tough. Instead, add a liberal sprinkling of salt to the outside just before you cook them.
Hide a Surprise in the Middle
You might think it’s impossible to improve on grilled burgers, but hiding a tasty surprise in the middle of the patty makes ’em even better. Try some herb or garlic butter, a dab of homemade relish or some melted cheese.
Let it Be
Try not to press on burgers with a spatula while grilling. Doing so squeezes out the juices, decreasing flavor and increasing the chances of drying out the patties as well as causing flare-ups when cooked on a grill.
Add Ice Chips to the Patty
Really! Some expert chefs add ice chips to the meat mix. This technique only works when you’re grilling right away, but the steam formed over the hot coals will work wonders to lock in moisture.
Try adding ice chips to any of our very best burgers before cooking.
Add Some Herbs
Herbs are another fab way to add some zing. How about lamb burgers with mint or rosemary, or hamburgers with cilantro, lemongrass, chili and lime? These Herb & Cheese-Stuffed Burgers sound amazing.
Pro tip: Strong herbs work best because the flavors won’t get lost.
Spice Things Up
Spices create tongue-tingling magic with even the simplest burger recipe! Turn your barbecue into a Mexican fiesta by adding chili, cumin and cayenne to your mix. (Be sure to serve it with homemade guac.) You might also like these delicious Cajun-inspired burgers.
Think About the Toppings
Toppings can make or break a burger. We love homemade toppings like cranberry ketchup, mac n’ cheese or spicy barbecue sauce paired with everyday condiments like cheese slices and crisp lettuce.