• Mikey

Build a Better Burger

Updated: Feb 11

Grilling season is nowhere near us, and this is the time of year to get your grilling reps in. I've decided to share the art of America's summertime grilling favorite—the hamburger.

A burger is easy enough to throw together on a weeknight, flavorful enough to stand up to the person who adds every condiment known to man, yet balanced enough to satisfy the plain burger eater.

Armed with decades of experience, a mountain of research, and brutal honesty from Special Forces Teammates, I now share my version of a Classic Backyard Burger.


You want a healthy and clean environment that won't contaminate the meat. Consistency in taste, texture, and appearance is an accurate measure of mastery. Cleaning your grill is for safety as much as it is for flavor.

Even if you dutifully scrape your grill after every use, over time, carcinogens can build up on the grates and transfer to your food during the cooking process, which could pose health risks. One of the most effective ways to rid your grilled meals of carcinogens is to clean your grill, so be sure to scrub all rust and debris thoroughly after each use.

You wouldn't cook food on a pan that you hadn't washed, so why would you make a meal on a grill you hadn't cleaned? A dirty grill attracts germs and bacteria—all of which can get onto your food and potentially make you and others sick.

The most important safety tip is to watch for flare-ups, which could burn you or even cause a severe fire when you're grilling. Failing to clean your grill will cause excess grease to accumulate, which could, in turn, contribute to a flare-up later on.


Two products to avoid are: "chubs" (plastic-sealed tubes of ground beef) and pre-formed patties, fresh or frozen. Those products are usually ground at a large packaging facility then shipped to your store on a truck, meaning you cannot be sure of what you're getting.

A burger can be seasoned a hundred ways to Sunday, but it means nothing without a solid foundation. For a juicy, flavorful burger, skip the extra-lean ground beef patty blends and use ground beef with higher fat content.