Here’s the thing: I’m really into meat.
Red meat, to be specific. Perhaps I should have considered naming this site “20something meat-cakes.” God knows I eat more red meat than I do cupcakes.
A burger is a meat-cake, isn’t it? Maybe I’ve gone about this all wrong…
All jokes aside, there isn’t much I love more than a good burger. Ordering burgers out is a hit-or-miss situation, and that’s why I’ve recently become a happier person. Because, yes – I’ve discovered how to make a perfect burger, THE perfect burger, at home. No more ordering a burger and wondering if they’ll overcook it, or worse, not season it enough. No, no, no – now, it’s up to me.
The power is in my hands – quite literally. Because handling the meat in the right way is the first key to the perfect burger. You cannot overwork the meat. At all. In fact, I used to do things like add minced garlic to my burgers, but I don’t think I will do that ever again. Because when you start adding stuff to the meat, you’ve got to mix it up. And that leads to tough meat. Take my word for it: The perfect burger doesn’t require anything to be mixed into the meat.
What the meat does need, is salt. A lot of it. A ton of it. Just salt the hell out of it – and use the good stuff, kosher salt. This will give you a beautiful crust on the outside that sears into salty-flavorful-madness. Crack some pepper onto the meat, too. I was weary about not mixing the seasoning into the entire patty – but you truly do not need to. I promise.
You should use good meat, and you’ll need some fat in there. About 15-20% fat is ideal. Ground sirloin is good – that’s about 85% lean. Ground chuck is 80%, and that works good, too.
So, you’ve got your meat. With fat. GENTLY form it into patties. Season the patties like crazy. Now, you’re ready for some heat.
Okay, a lot of heat. You can use a grill if you’d like, but because I
don’t can’t have one, I have no advice in that area. And the beautiful thing about it is, your stove works just as well – if not better. You’ll need a nice, heavy cast-iron pan. Get it real hot, over medium-high heat, add a tiny bit of olive oil (it shouldn’t smoke, that means your pan is too hot) and drop those patties right in. You’ll know you’re doing it right when they sizzle like they’ve never sizzled before. Let them cook about 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Everyone’s stove top heats differently, so you’ll have to test this timing the first time. And it will also depend on how thick your patties are. I make huge patties, and my stove gets pretty hot, and for me, about 2 minutes each side gets me to where I want to be. After you flip the burgers, you can add the cheese – this way, it will melt perfectly over top.
DO NOT flip the burgers more than once. And DO NOT move them around on the pan. Let them get that beautiful seared salty crust I was telling you about. Trust.
Now, take the patties off the pan and let them rest for a few minutes. You should have your toppings in order for this part. I like toasted buns (something good from the bakery, either French hamburger rolls or Brioche), Boston lettuce leaves, thick slices of beefsteak tomato (well-seasoned, of course), bacon, sliced red onion, and mayonnaise. Sometimes, I like to make a quick garlic aioli with mayo, lemon juice, and minced garlic.
Then again, I could probably eat this burger by itself. It’s that good. I promise you that it will be the juiciest, most flavorful and perfectly-cooked burger you’ve ever eaten.
Make eat. Eat it. And tell me what you think!