Beef Up Your Burger This Summer

Woman eating burger

Nothing screams summertime like fresh burgers off the grill in the backyard. Treat your family to a special burger night with these 7 tips for amping up your basic burger.

Grind Your Own Burger Meat

With a stand mixer, a grinding attachment, and a good relationship with a butcher, you can make your own ground meat for a burger. Ask your butcher for the excess trimmings to add to your brisket or sirloin. Keep a 75-to-25 ration of meat and trimmings to keep your burgers juicy and flavorful.

No Grill? Use Cast-Iron

The next best thing to making burgers on a grill is in a cast-iron pan. Cast-iron distributes heat evenly and can be used whether you have a grill or not. When done, simply wipe it out so it stays nicely seasoned. Never wash cast iron.

Form Your Patties

Everyone loves a good round burger patty. Here’s a trick to forming the perfect circle — use takeout soup container lids. Roll ground meat into a six-ounce ball and use the tops of two containers to squish it to form a patty. Using a patty former helps seal the edges and lock in the juice while cooking.

Mix Things Up

A burger doesn’t have to only be meat. Add some flavor and texture with mushrooms. This also lets you use less meat and save a little money. Sauté some shiitake, oyster, and cremini mushrooms and let cool before grinding with your meat. Don’t tell the kids, and they will receive a helping of veggies without even knowing.

Bun Basics

Nothing is worse than a soggy burger bun. There is such thing as too little bun and too much bun. Opt for a potato bun for a good meat-to-bun ratio and its sturdiness. A potato bun is often used in restaurants to withstand even the tallest of burger stacks.

To Flip or Not to Flip

No matter how you cook your burgers, on a grill or in a cast-iron skillet, only flip them once. This is a big deal. The more you flip a burger, the more juice you lose. After all, no one wants a dry burger.

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Secret Sauce

Ketchup, mustard, and mayo are typical condiments for a burger. Add something new to burger night with a special sauce. Get creative with mayo by adding chopped chilis, pickled peppers, charred garlic, or even fresh herbs. Make a new sauce each burger night to surprise everyone.