Because we can’t bear the idea of you cooking a bad (or just shy of delicious) burger, we talked to a fourth-generation butcher about how best to cook a burger in your kitchen or backyard.
While any home cook can throw a patty in a skillet, it’s only the studied burger enthusiast who unlocks the real secrets.
Enter Jamie Schweid, executive vice president/co-butcher of Schweid & Sons, a purveyor of ground beef that was founded in the late 1800s on New York’s Lower East Side.
Here are some of the little-known burger tips he taught us:
1. Always lay the burger cheese-side down on the bun.
This way your bottom bun won’t get soggy, and your burger will taste better.
2. Don’t just toss the patty on the grill.
If cooking outdoors, use a grill mat or camp griddle to ensure a nice sear and keep your patty from sticking or losing its shape.
3. Forget that frying pans even exist.
If cooking on a stovetop, a cast iron skillet is the best way to get a restaurant-style crust on the patty’s exterior.
4. Fat is your friend.
For a juicy, delicious burger, opt for meat that has a 75/25 lean to fat ratio.
5. Always pre-heat and pre-oil your cooking surface.
Pro tip: Cook some bacon and use the fat as your oil!
6. Don’t bother with pulling down your hood.
Closing the lid on your grill does not aid in cooking the burger, only in melting the cheese (that is, if you’re putting the cheese on top, where it definitely should not be).
7. Your patty should weigh no more than eight ounces.
Any larger than that will jeopardize your ability to cook the burger to a perfect medium rare.
8. Cold hands form the best patties.
Try rubbing a piece of ice on your palms just before shaping. Wash your hands with soap and water before you get started.
9. NEVER put a burger on a non-toasted bun.
The juices will run out and ruin it. The only exception to this rule is sliders, which should be served on squishy or potato rolls, with cheese on the bottom, of course.
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