Who among us has not got weak at the knees or drooled at the sight of a juicy, cheesy burger? I’m sure everyone has and if it was up to us, we would have been making them at home every day. But most of us believe it is just impossible to get it right due to previous failed attempts. In reality, making a perfect burger at home involves tiny simple steps that gradually build up to the mouth-watering sandwich we all love. So, let us go through these instructions and if followed correctly, you can be biting into a scrumptious burger in a few minutes.
How to Make a Perfect Burger
10. Keep it fresh
The basic rule every chef teaches is to use fresh ingredients and the same goes for a burger. Whether you are making a veg or non-veg burger, make sure the patty is made from the freshest ingredient. If you are mincing the meat at home, freeze it slightly before mincing. Do a double grind using a coarse grinding tool for an even cut. If you cannot grind the meat at home, ask your butcher to do it. Whatever be the outcome or ingredient, ensure that only the freshest possible food is used.
9. Mix and match
“The more the merrier” is a common phrase but when used in the culinary world, some of the best food is created. When creating a perfect burger, mixing ingredients can result in a delicious outcome. For example, when making a beef burger, mix beef mince with a bit of bacon or bone marrow for that extra hit of flavour. For a vegetarian burger, mix potato with peas for a green patty of yummy. Whatever your choice, make sure that the mixed ingredients complement each other in every way possible.
8. Fat is good
The thought of adding fat to food can sometimes be considered unhealthy by people but when it comes to fast food, a little bit of fat is necessary for enhancing the flavour. This can be done for non-veg burgers only. Add about 10-15 per cent of fat (bacon fat is the best) to the mince and mix in well. Don’t worry about the amount if it looks too much as most of it will melt while cooking. The fat gives the burger its moisture and makes it succulent when you bite into it.
7. Don’t over handle it
Remember that the ground meat is very fragile and can be easily ruined by excessive handling. It is important to keep the meat cool to lock in the taste. What is important is to make the patties beforehand and chill them before cooking. So divide the mix and make the patties about an inch thicker than the buns because when cooked, the patty will shrink down in size. Always remember to push the patties down at the middle as that is where the patties rise when cooked.
6. Keep them cool
As mentioned earlier, the patties need to remain cool before cooking them. This is to keep all the juices in so that the burger does not end up being dry. When the meat is left out in room temperature, it loses its moisture content and the blood drains out. Freezing the meat ensures that the blood, fat and juices remain locked inside the patty till it hits the grill.
The biggest mistake most people make when cooking a patty is that they season it while it is on the pan or grill. This does not allow the patty to absorb the seasoning. Seasoning before hitting the grill means the taste gets locked it immediately when introduced to the heat. The basic salt and pepper works wonders but always feel free to experiment with anything you like. Chilli flakes, oregano, dried mango or any herb goes well with a burgers taste.
4. Good Grilling
The best way to cook a patty is over a wood fire and grill. But if that is not possible, cooking it at home on the gas stove grill is good enough. Make sure the patties are kept in the fridge till the last minute. The grill needs to be hot. Place the patty on the grill and hear the sizzle. Using a spatula turn the patty over after 3 minutes or when it browns underneath. Continue to cook the patty for another 2-3 minutes or more depending on your preference. If you like cheese on your burger, add a couple of slices of good cheese about a minute before taking off the patty.
3. Do not press
This is a common mistake again made by people trying to cook a perfect burger. They tend to press down the patty onto the grill to try and make them cook faster but that is the worst thing you can do to a juicy patty. This squeezing, forces out the juices from the patty and dries it out. A good burger should ooze when you bite into it. So remember, pressing down on it will not help it cook any faster but it will ruin your burger experience.
2. Let it be
Another big mistake made by cooks around the world is to serve the burger as soon as it gets off the fire. The proper thing to do is to let it sit out for a minute or two so that the juices get soaked up by the meat again. When cooking anything, the heat pushes the moisture out. So when left to cool a bit, the moisture gets absorbed by the meat again. Take this minute to toast the buns. It takes less than a minute to get it toasted so the food you serve will always be hot.
1. Less is more
The final step to that perfect burger is assembly. While some people think that piling on the add ons will help make it tastier, the fact is that the lesser you have, the easier it is to eat. Not to mention, you want to taste the patty and not the other ingredients. So, start with a leaf of lettuce on the bottom bun. This will stop the juices from wetting the bread. Then place the patty on the lettuce followed by a slice of tomato or pickle or both. Then just a smear of mayonnaise or sweet chilli sauce and you are done. Bite into the deliciousness of hard work.
Written By: Candice Quigley