Making The Perfect Hamburger

One of the easiest and most commonly grilled foods in the United States is probably the grilled hamburger. But exactly what goes into the perfect construction of this dish? You may think it's as simple as slapping a lump of ground meat down on the flames, but there are certain other techniques you can use to build a better sandwich. All burgers are most definitely not created equal. So, here's a list of simple yet effective things you can do to make yours stand out every time.

Although the selection of meat is down to personal taste, the most succulent hamburgers are made from ground beef with a certain fat content to it. We have been conditioned as a society to avoid fat at all costs, but for the best burger this is not the way to go. The official percentages that you want is around 80% meat to 20% fat. No-one goes to the supermarket with a super-duper fat measuring device in their pocket, so let me make it easy for you. This is roughly what can be found in chuck. Buy it. Chuck is the preferred cut for making the best burgers.

When preparing your homemade hamburger, it is important to shape the meat into a patty which is relatively flat. Don't go for anything thicker than about 3/4 of an inch either. I know, I know, you really want to ignore this one. Bigger is better! I'm guilty of this. Big, fat burgers are delicious. That's my philosophy when making burgers for myself. Your burger should be done your way, after all. But when going for the perfect burger which you may want to serve to guests, you should know that it is less likely for those thicker burgers to cook up nice and evenly.

Another very important thing to remember is something that we've all done at one point in our lives. Do not ever press the burger down with the spatula or anything else while it is grilling. I know that it's tempting to do this. Resist! I know you've seen it on every television show with a diner cook in it. Resist! When pushing on the burger like this, the juices are squeezed out, which means that the flavor is squeezed out as well. As a minor note, it may also cause flare-ups. I say "minor" because the eyebrow hair will grow back, but a dry burger will never get any better than that.

Now on to the ingredients you'll need for that perfect hamburger.

1) Ground chuck
2) A little salt
3) A little pepper
4) Some hamburger buns

Yup, that's it. Simple, isn't it? This ain't rocket science, just a few tricks that will make your burgers all that they should be. Now here's the step-by-step.

You have a few different choices as far as the cooking contraption goes, but for the sake of this article, let's go with a nice, open flame. You'll need to grease your grill with some vegetable oil, then get a medium fire going underneath it.

While that grill is heating up, you want to be mixing your meat. Add some salt. Add some pepper. You can use your own judgment as to the tastes of your hungry diners. Then get your hands in there. Kneed things around. Spoons are for sissies. When it's all mixed together, shape your concoction into burgers. Remember, about 3/4 of inch thick on that patty. You want an evenly cooked final product for your hungry guests.

Slap those burgers down over the heat. If you like your meat of the medium persuasion, you're looking at somewhere between 5 and 7 minutes on each side. If you want, feel free to make a tiny cut into each patty to check that they are cooked.

Just before they are ready to go, start toasting those buns. Put them on the grill for about a minute, split side down. You're going for a light brown effect here.

Take everything off the grill. Stack it all together. Add anything that you want in the way of ketchup, possibly some lettuce, or a host of other things. Hoorah! You now have yourself one fine hamburger.

Now, all that being said, here's an additional note or two on food preparation safety. You have to remember that I've only given you some guidelines for the best result. For example, I can only estimate on the time it will take for a medium burger. You know your grill and how hot it gets. You know if it's 40-degrees outside when you're cooking. And you also know if you've followed the directions about making a patty that is only 3/4 of an inch thick. You have, right? Don't make me come over there. Remember that the inside of the burger should always be tested to ensure that they are thoroughly cooked before serving.

Also, you'll find that there are many different books and chefs who would advise that the meat should be at room temperature before cooking. However, it is better for safety's sake, to keep it in the fridge in order to avoid airborne bacteria. It is also essential that you put cooked burgers onto a fresh plate, not the same one that the raw meat was on, as it may still contain bacteria. Always follow the first rule of cooking - Do not poison the guests.

And that's it. When following all of the above instructions on how to make the perfect hamburger all that is left to do is to sit down and get your mouth around the most succulent and best tasting hamburger that you will have ever eaten. On that note, I am heading right for the kitchen to prepare my very own. Enjoy!

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About The Author, Sebastian Marders
Sebastian Marders loves writing about a variety of things and sharing the website that inspires each piece with his readers. If you would like to browse a selection of indoor and outdoor grills, please visit