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Kitchen Tip: How to Make Perfect Burgers

Perfect burger with knife in it
Kitchen Tip: How to Make Perfect Burgers

This post is a part of Heinen’s Kitchen Tips and Techniques series designed to give everyone the skills and confidence they need to make any recipe. Videos, photographs and descriptions were provided by Heinen’s partner, Chef Billy Parisi. 

Get outside and fire up those grills because I am going to show you how to make perfect, delicious burgers every single time.

Selecting The Meat

When it comes to making any burger, it all starts with the meat. Personally, I like a ratio of 80% lean to 20% fat. You may like 85% to 15% or 90% to 10%. When making your selection, remember this: the higher fat content means the burger will be more flavorful, but it also means that the fat will cook out causing the burger to shrink more. Keep all these things in mind before you cook anything!

Shaping The Patties

To start, I’m shaping 80/20 ground beef into a patty. I like my patties between 4 and 6 ounces, but feel free to make yours bigger if you prefer.

The trick with shaping patties is to make them flat. There’s nothing worse than having a big bun with a meatball-size patty in the center. Don’t worry if it looks too flat, it’s going to puff up and shrink in when it cooks. The goal is for the patty to cover the bun.

Next, press down in the center of the patties with your thumb. It should look like a little valley. Once you’ve created your indent, season the patties with salt and pepper on the top side.

How to Grill The Patty

Now it’s time to go outside to the hot grill. Before placing your patties on the grill, you want to ensure that it is between 450°F and 550°F. This will allow the burgers to cook to the desired internal temperature and get a nice char on the outside.

As soon as you lay the meat on the grill, place an ice cube in the center indent of each patty. This will help ensure that the burgers remain moist and tender because as it’s losing fat, the water on the top with help re-hydrate the meat.

Cook the patties for about 4 minutes per side, closing the door each time you flip to allow those smoky flavors to get into the burgers.

There you have it! You’ve officially made perfectly-shaped and beautifully-charred burgers on your grill! That wasn’t so hard.

But what it if you don’t have a grill or it’s raining and you can’ get outside? I’ve got you covered with this method for cooking burgers in a cast iron skillet or on a flattop grill.

How to Cook Your Patty on the Stove

The trick with this method it to make the patties even flatter than the ones made for the grill because they’re going to lose a lot of moisture and shrink up, so we want to make sure that they cover the bun when cooked.

It’s time to start cooking. Place a cast-iron skillet on your stove top over medium heat and add a little oil. Next, place the burgers in the skillet and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side. The goal is to get a nice brown sear on the outside the desired temperature in the middle.

Now it’s time to assemble!

How to Assemble The Burger

Start with a toasted bun on the bottom followed by lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced onion, sliced pickle. I like to add of these typical “toppings” to the bottom of the burger to help protect the bottom bun from the cooked patty. Your burger is juicy and no one wants a soggy bun, so placing the toppings on the bottom makes a great barrier.

Now add your cooked patty, your favorite cheese, the top bun and you are finished!

These two methods are fantastic for making burgers! If it’s hot outside and that grill is calling your name, fire it up! If it’s rainy, dreary or even Winter, get that cast iron skillet going and you will make beautiful burgers every single time.

How to Make Perfect Burgers

Chef Billy Parisi headshot
By Chef Billy Parisi
Chef Billy Parisi is a culinary school grad who spent 15 years in the restaurant industry as a line cook, sous chef and executive chef. Now he develops, photographs and films simple and delicious recipes that will make everyone feel like a chef in their own kitchen.

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