You’ve got less than a week to prepare your Fourth of July menu. No doubt, hamburgers will be on your to-grill list. And why not? Burgers are an All-American, Fourth of July staple.
The hamburger has a variety of origin stories. Some say it started with Genghis Khan, who brought it to Russia, who passed it to the Germans, who carried “Hamburg Steak” to the New World. Others place its origins as far back as the Romans of the Fourth Century.
Whatever its roots, generation after generation has been trying to perfect it. And there is no shortage of advice articles out there. One suggests grilling your food underground. Others offer meat-to-fat ratios.
While there are some universal truths to cooking a burger, it all comes down to taste.
We reached out to a couple of our grilling experts for their hot take. Indianapolis Chef J.J. Boston, next month’s Chef of Chef Works (be sure to check back Monday for his story!) is an expert on the Kamado grill. Here are his top three pieces of advice:
— Don’t be afraid to blend different meats to achieve ideal fat content, flavor and juiciness. My favorite is: 70 percent ground chuck, 20 percent ground spicy Italian pork sausage and 10 percent ground turkey.
— Burger patties should be cold when placing on the grill. If the burgers are too warm then they will shrink more during grilling.
— If you’re experiencing a lot of flare up try moving your burgers to the outside edges of the grill or away from the direct flame. This will keep the fat from igniting so easily.
Also weighing in is Seth Bradley, one half of Nude Dude Food out of Chicago.
— Make sure to season well, only salt and black pepper needed, and only season on the outside of the patty right before it goes on the grill. Don’t mix the seasoning into the ground beef before forming patties.
— When the burger is on the grill, don’t ever smash it down with your spatula. You’ll literally see and hear the juices run out into the grill.
— Pick a bun that can hold up to the meat. We prefer a pretzel roll or brioche. Many a burger has been ruined by a poor bun choice.
We can all agree there are lots and lots of right ways to do a hamburger, but only a few wrong ways. Avoid those pitfalls and you’ll have a happy, flavorful Fourth.