Best Burger help

I grilled burgers for lunch today and they were much better than last time. The beef we get here is the village is what they call veal. It is what I would call not young beef with no fat content and the only suitable method to cook it is either ground or sliced super thin. So today I got a half a kg and asked the butcher if she could grind some fat with it. She didn’t have fat, so we settled for a nice chunk of tocino. Tocino (bacon) is salt cured just like jamon and comes in a solid chunk. People here eat it mostly raw when they are working in the fields. Well, they were one of the best tasting burgers I’ve ever had.

Since we have a number of grilling experts here, as I am not…do you have anything else to add that are “can’t do without” when grilling burgers or any other juicy morsel?

Foie gras. [snort.gif]

Foie in it or on top?

On top but I like mine straight as well as those who use mild blue cheese.

depends how fancy you want to get. Me, I like a really good but traditional burger so great meat, buns and condiments like lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, mustard, etc. Nice additions like truffling the mustard or making ketchup from scratch so it’s less about sweet tomato and more complex are cool. Carmelizing onions vs just plain red onion slices can rock. But at heart, it’s about the patty and the grilling.

I’ve seen people do two patties with black truffles stuffed between them etc and… meh. But check this site out for ideas:

I have had them gourmet up and simple and I like both ways. Any help on the actual grilling? Best slow, fast, any ingredients you mix in with the beef? I use salt, pepper, thyme and garlic.

salt and pepper in the mix, sometimes dried herbs. I’ve tried things like Worcestershire, but you need to not overdo it. Tried BBQ sauce mixed in once. Was OK, but I’m a basic kinda guy.

Flip once. Not many times. Do not press on the patty. The link above has some great articles in the Burger Lab category:

How to shape a patty

How often to flip

Top 10 tips

Talk about good timing…

I just finished grinding my own burger meat to hit the grill in an hour. 50/50 Wagyu Tri-Tip and USDA Prime Chuck Roast. Best tip is to keep your beef cold right up until time of cooking.

Ok, I’ll bite… why keep the meat cold?

So that the patties will stay together. A room temp patty will fall through the grate of the grill or simply fall apart on cast iron or skillet.

You could also baste in clarified butter

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Okay here is a great tip I learned a while back from Cooks Illustrated and their test kitchen…

Don’t pack the patty tight. Keep it as loose and “fluffy” as you possibly can. This is more doable with a pan or griddle, but the concept still holds for grilled.


Don’t play with your food goes for grilling too…people, especially men, love to futz with the food on the grill; constantly moving it around and (Gasp!!) purposely squeezing the juice out of the patty with a spatula. Leave the meat alone!!! Touch it the minimal number of times that you can.

WOW. For a hamburger? LOL WOW.

50/50 Wagyu Tri-Tip and USDA Prime Chuck Roast.

You could also baste in clarified butter.

We had Flannery burgers last night with in a 1:1:1:1 choice chuck, wagyu chuck, prime brisket, and foie gras. I put a tablespoon of dried basil and 3/4 teaspoon of onion salt in a pound. These were grilled over lump charcoal with oak chips at five minutes per side. At about 2 minutes on each side I rotate the burgers a little to get crosshatching with the grill marks. Our six year old thinks they are great! Served with a 2007 Robert Foley Petite Sirah for the adults, and organic whole milk for the young 'un.

Try ground lamb instead of beef.Much better taste here in the states.

Another old time tip is to shove a 1/2 ice cube in the middle of the patty before grilling.

So sue me.

Ive heard this, but I’m unclear on the rationale. I get that you don’t want to compress the meat etc, but I’m not sure my burgers have suffered from being compressed enough to hold together on a grill through one flip.

I sometimes add olive oil and/or mustard to grass fed meat. Mike

I had heard of this for meatloaf too. The explanation for that is that if it is packed too tightly, the juices will be forced out and the meat will be dry. If you loosely pack it, the juices have room to circulate around the meat and keep things moist. I’m assuming it is the same idea for the burger.