May 28th was National Hamburger Day, the culmination of National Hamburger Month (May is also National Salsa, National Strawberry, National Chocolate Custard, and National Date Your Mate Month). Add to that Mother’s Day and Memorial Day and you’ve got quite a month, as months go.
But June, July and August are pretty impressive months too. In June you’ve got National Camping Month, National Great Outdoor Month, and, of course Father’s Day. July offers up National Grilling Month, National Picnic Month and host to the Fourth of July. August is Family Fun Month. What do all of these have in common? Ground beef.
Perhaps most importantly, well, right after we celebrate our fathers and our forefathers, September 17th is BULL Grills annual Burger Battle hosted by Family Leisure. What, a hamburger contest you say? Big deal. If you want a piece of a 300,000 prize package, it is a big deal. And even if you don’t want cash and prizes, this is still your optimum time to learn to make the perfect hamburger; that juicy, crispy disc of ground meat that will become your trademark; that will be the envy of friends and family but will have them lining up, plates in hand, despite themselves.
How to make the perfect hamburger:
- The perfect burger starts with 80/20 ground chuck. You need that 20% fat in order to have a juicy burger; and what is the point of a dry hamburger? All the ketchup and mayo in the world won’t make it juicy again.
- Speaking of mayonnaise; if you want an extra juicy hamburger, add 2 T. per pound of beef to up the moisture content. Mayo will provide fat and moisture that won’t cook away.
- Divide beef into 6 ounce-ish loose patties; aim for a patty that is a little bit bigger than the bun.
- Press your thumb into the middle of the patty to keep it from turning into a meatball. This will also help the hamburger to cook more evenly.
- Season each side of the patty; if you are a purist, salt and pepper will do.
- Refrigerate the patties; overnight if possible, if not, at least for a few hours. This will help you form a tasty crust on the burgers.
- Grill your hamburgers over high heat; if you are using coal, wait until they are bright orange and are beginning to get ashy. IMPORTANT – don’t let lighter fluid anywhere near your hamburgers unless you want them tasting like it; try lighting with a chimney starter. For the juiciest hamburgers, use a grill pan. This keeps the fat with the burgers instead of inside the grill.
- For the same reason; don’t smash your patties with a spatula. As satisfying as it may sound when the fat sizzles up, it is also the sound of your hamburgers drying out.
- Turn burgers one time. Start with 3 minutes on the first side; vary the second side by how done you want it. Medium rare burgers (130-135˚ internal heat) grill for 4 minutes on the flip side. Medium (135-150˚ internal heat) 5 minutes. Medium well (160-165˚ internal heat) 6 minutes. Well done (165˚-up internal heat) 7 minutes.
- Let your hamburgers rest for 5 minutes before you serve them; this down-time allows the moisture to redistribute throughout the patty. Make sure you toast your buns before serving!
Some unique topping combinations for extra-special hamburger sandwiches:
Feta cheese, hummus and fresh dill
Blue cheese and buffalo sauce
Mozzarella, marinara and grilled mushrooms
Monterey jack, salsa and hot peppers (jalapeno, habanero, etc)
Swiss cheese, grilled onion, bacon and barbeque sauce
Cheddar, bacon, sour cream and chives
Muenster, honey mustard, sliced granny smith apple
Provolone, roasted red pepper, pesto
Goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes
All excited about that perfect burger but nowhere to grill? Take a look at some of Family Leisure’s most popular grilling
options. This Saber EZ Kitchen R Series comes complete with 675 sq. inches of cooking area, storage and outdoor fridge!
Looking for something more traditional? Check out the Bison by Bull Grills
a charcoal grill that will have you cooking with the pros.
If you like to keep up with the latest thing, the Saber
SS 500 Infrared Grill will bring your grilling skills to the next level.