The Seven Most Common Burger Mistakes People Make at BBQ’s
Next to a steak on the grill, the next most favorite food is a hamburger. And I do not mean one of the frozen variety. It has to be fresh, hand made and seasoned to perfection. However, there are mistakes that people make all the time when grilling burgers. So just in time for the weekend, we have come up with a list of the seven most common.
1. Not buying enough meat. Some people underestimate how much they need for a good-sized burger. For the record, it’s six ounces. Then you multiply that by how many burgers you plan to make. So if you’re making four burgers, that means one-and-a-half pounds of meat. If you want 12 burgers, it’s four-and-a-half pounds.
2. Buying Hamburger That’s Too Lean. Most people tend to like burgers that are 80% lean and 20% fat. Any lower than that, and they won’t have enough flavor. And another tip – buy from a local butcher shop – I like to even go a step further and watch them early on a Saturday morning as they prepare the meat for sale that day. I know for a fact it is fresh!
3. Over-handling the meat. The more you handle it and mash it together, the less tender it is. So you don’t need to stand there for five minutes forming and reforming a burger patty. Just do it once – don’t pack it too tightly, then season it and throw it on the grill.
4. Buying big buns, but making tiny burgers. Meaning they don’t match up, so you’re left with a ball of meat in the middle of way too much bun. To make sure you don’t, shape the burger patties so they’re about one inch wider in diameter than the hamburger buns are. That allows room for them to shrink while they cook. And as for thickness, don’t go above three-quarters of an inch.
One trick to make sure you don’t end up with a hamburger ball is to make a gentle indentation in the middle of the raw patty with your finger. That leaves room for it to puff up in the middle, and it should come out nice and flat.
5. Pressing the patties with a spatula while they cook. All it does is drain the juices and dry it out, which means less taste. Yes, it also means it gets rid of some of the fat. But if you’re that worried about your diet, a burger is a bad choice to begin with.
6. Adding the cheese too soon. There’s no reason to add it until the very end – about two minutes before you want to pull the burgers off. Any earlier than that, and you’ll end up with liquid cheese all over the grill. And then the cleaning of the grill is ugh with all of that hardened cheese on the grill afterwards. Another thing that people are doing now is adding the cheese to the middle of the burger so it cooks from the inside.
7. Shutting the lid to speed things up. Burgers should only take about 10 minutes anyway. Four minutes per side, then you flip it one more time, add cheese, and wait two more minutes. Shutting the lid does speed things up a little, but the burgers don’t cook evenly, and usually end up with a weird smoky taste.
So have you grilled yet? Do you prefer fresh burgers? Or is it ok to just go with the frozen variety?