How To: Beef Up Your Burger Technique

created at: 06/01/2010

With Memorial Day behind us, it’s OFFICIALLY grilling season, and nothing tastes like summer more than a well-formed, well-seasoned, and well-grilled hamburger. Many purists would argue that ground beef, salt, pepper are all that should ever go into a burger, but with some many resources, techniques, and traditions available to us, why not supplement that classic juicy beef patty with a few new options? Especially some that are so flavorful, you can keep the ketchup bottle in the fridge.

New York Times writer and author Mark Bittman explores the art of the best at-home burger – including beef, lamb, and pork – that starts with buying quality cuts of meat, grinding them at home, then seasoning aggressively, and then cooking properly at his NYTimes blog The Minimalist. Mark treats these patties as one would a sausage, and the results sound incredible.

“All of the recipes that follow…have three things in common, and these will hold true for any of your own best improvisations: a fair amount of fat, a heavy hand with seasonings and a meat grinder or food processor…The grinding is simple. Whether you use a food processor or a grinder, keep the meat fairly coarse. You don’t want a purée but rather what used to be called chopped meat. If you’re using ingredients you want minced — garlic, for example — you’re better off preparing them separately, by hand or by machine, to get them small enough.

As for the seasonings and toppings, they can be taken in any direction you like. But if you still feel the need for ketchup, I suggest you are not adequately seasoning the meat itself. That’s all right; you can try again next time. You’ve got all summer.”

Made by Hand: Burgers Worth the Grind