Labor Day is fast approaching, and this is the time of year to get your grilling reps in. Friends and family have been persistently asking for the recipe. So here is one of our most prized burger recipes.
We truly love this recipe because a burger can easily be thrown 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 will now share my take on a classic backyard burger.
Before we jump into the recipe, Here are some tips for making amazing burgers!
GROUND BEEF SELECTION:
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 and then shipped to your store on a truck, meaning you cannot be sure of what you're getting.
A burger can be seasoned several times 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.
Ground beef with an 80/20 mix is the best for grilled burgers—a mix of 80 percent lean beef and 20 percent fat. The 80/20 ground beef you buy in the supermarket is usually ground chuck, which is great for burgers. (Something leaner like 90/10 is usually ground sirloin, which tends to dry out when cooked over the grill's high heat.)
When considering the pre-packaged ground beef at the supermarket, look for meat ground and wrapped in the store. Usually, it will be in a shallow styrofoam tray with plastic wrap pulled across it... Don't forget to look at the date and try to get the same day if possible!
KEEP THE MEAT COLD
The heat from your hands and room-temp ground beef can melt and smear the fat. This prevents the fat from binding with the lean meat, causing too much of it to render during the cooking process, resulting in a dry, dense burger.
The solution is to keep the meat cold and shape the patties as quickly as possible.
Leave the ground beef in the refrigerator until you're ready to season it and form the patties. Then mix the ground beef until it comes together and not a second more. Form it into patties and put them back in the fridge until you are ready to grill.
How much meat? Make each patty with 5 1/2 to 6 ounces of meat, so the burger has the best mouthfeel when you take a bite.
Don't waste a lot of time shaping your burger; get the patty shaped until it just holds together so that when you eat it, you can see the grains of the beef running through it. Otherwise, you've made a grilled meatloaf, and nobody wants that hot garbage.
To prevent hamburgers from swelling up during cooking, we recommend making a slight depression/divot in the raw patty center before placing it on the heat. However, we find the need for a dimple depends entirely on how the burger is cooked. Meat inflates upon cooking when its connective tissue, or collagen, shrinks at temperatures higher than 140 degrees. If burgers are cooked on a grill or under a broiler, a dimple is in order.
How Big? To correctly size your patties to fit your buns, make your burgers about 1-inch thick at the edges and one inch more in diameter than the bun.
Seasoning Your Meat
It's helpful to save prep time and add lots of flavor to your patties by adding dried spices rather than fresh herbs to the hamburger patties. For instance, you can incorporate our Point Man, our steak seasoning with Course Salt, Tellicherry Black Pepper, Sugar, Garlic, Hickory Smoke Powder, Onion, Citric Acid for a well-round flavor.
Gas or Charcoal?
Using charcoal can add different kinds of wood to contribute to the smokiness and enhance the burger's overall flavor.
However, millions of Americans prefer gas grills because they are easy to use, and you don't have as much of a mess. Don't worry—you can still cook an excellent burger on a gas grill!
HOW LONG TO GRILL BURGERS
In general, follow these total grilling times:
For rare burgers, cook for 4 minutes total (125°F)
For medium-rare burgers, cook for 5 minutes total (135°F)
For medium burgers, cook for 6 to 7 minutes total (145°F)
For well-done burgers, cook for 8 to 9 minutes total (160 °F)
Flip & Don't Press - Pressing drys the meat out quickly. The juices hold the flavor. The meat continues to cook after removal, and pressing will cause the patty to dry quickly.
WHEN TO ADD THE CHEESE?
Add cheese about 1 minute before the burger is finished cooking. Some of my favorite flavors are Swiss, cheddar, and Havarti.
LET THE COOKED PATTIES REST!
Let the cooked patties rest on a clean platter for about 5 minutes to redistribute the juices.
WHAT BUNS TO USE?
Get something sturdy. Burgers can be pretty hefty, so you'll need something to hold them. Go for a sturdy crust with structure and height.
But something that is not too soft. The bread should be sturdy enough to hold the burger but still have a smooth, fluffy inside. Trust us; all that fluff will soak up the meaty burger juices.
The flavor is good. Whether you're using an onion roll or sesame seed bun, a little added somethin' never hurts. Take those burgers up a notch with a hint of flavor in every bite.
Choose the right size. We think a bun should be big enough to hold an 8 oz. patty. When you go too small, you're stuck with a leftover burger that you might have to eat with a fork -- yikes! Go too big, and you've got leftover bread that gets tossed to the side. Depending on the size of the burgers you're making, choose something to ensure your burger-to-bun ratio is just perfect.
Buy them fresh and local, when possible. This should go without saying, but bread is the best when fresh. Pick up some of their buns if you've got a local bakery nearby. That's what we do!
PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES COOK TIME: 30 MINUTES TOTAL TIME: 50 MINUTES SERVINGS: 6
2 pounds Certified Angus Beef ® ground beef (80/20)
8 ounces thick-cut bacon, hand diced 1/8-inch
3 Tablespoons Honey Badger Seasoning
6 Slices Thick Cut Havarti Cheese
6 Hamburger burger buns (I prefer Hawaiian Sweet Pretzel Buns)
5 ounces of your favorite BBQ Sauce
By hand, combine ground beef, bacon, and Honey Badger Seasoning.
Form into six patties and grill over medium heat until i